Monday, August 31, 2009

Venice Film Festival Attracts Hollywood Stars

Matt Damon is one of several Hollywood A-listers due to grace the red carpet in 2009, as studios appear prepared to foot the substantial bill and come to Venice in order to generate buzz for their pictures as the awards season kicks off.

Hundreds of fans waiting outside the main cinema where Venice Film Festival gala premieres are held each day will be hoping to catch a glimpse of Nicolas Cage, George Clooney, Oliver Stone, Charlize Theron, Eva Mendes, Richard Gere and Sylvester Stallone among others.

The 2009 edition of the Venice Film Festival, the world's oldest film festival looks set to eclipse 2008, which, despite awarding Mickey Rourke's acclaimed comeback "The Wrestler" with the Golden Lion for best film, was seen as lackluster and lacking star power.

"On paper it looks good, and these people will be doing the red carpet giving the festival the glamour I think it needs," said Lee Marshall, film critic for Screen International and a Venice regular.

"That was lacking last year, considered by many to be a limp festival from that point of view. Many media representatives canceled pretty much after the program was announced." Of course, last year this time the entire world finance system was collapsing.

Whether it is still not collapsing in September 2009 is questionable, but surely after what may be considered one of the most difficult psychological years in history the Hollywood stars are glad to be back in Italy for the Venice Film Festival, in the city which gold standard collapsed years ago and may be a good place this year to reflect on Capitalism.

And indeed, in addition to war movies, after almost a decade of unending wars waged byt eh United States of North America, Capitalism is one of the theme's of this year's 2009 Venice Film Festival. Matt Damon Informant and Michael Moore Capitalism both will be screened at the 2009 Venice Film Festival.

As usual Venice promises a global line-up, with Egypt's "The Traveler," featuring Omar Sharif, in competition alongside pictures from China, Austria, Israel, Japan, France, Hong Kong, Germany and Italy.

Not for the first time fashion is in focus, with designer Tom Ford bringing his directorial debut "A Single Man" starring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Stallone to be Awarded at Venice Film Festival

Sylvester Stallone will receive this year's Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award at the 66th Venice International Film Festival.

The Venice Film Festival begins next week in Venice, Italy.

The award, to be handed out at the end of festival on September 12, is given each year to someone who has left their mark on contemporary cinema.

On learning that he had been chosen for the prize this year, the actor-director-writer best known for his Rocky character said that ''to receive an award at the Venice festival is a dream I always hoped would come true''.

''Now that this has happened I can say that it was well worth the wait,'' the 63-year-old star added.

A statement issued by festival organizers said that in his films ''Stallone traveled through the light and the darkness of the American Dream and each of his films were remarkably anchored in its own present time''.

Stallone's cinema, above all his Rocky and Rambo series, ''is capable of tenderness even when dripping with blood,'' the statement added. ''And the way he has developed 'his' characters, even in his 'minor' films or those not directed by him, stands out for clarity and communicativeness,'' organized said.

The award ceremony will include a world premiere screening of scenes from the latest film Stallone has written, directed and starred in: The Expendables.

''It's a story of heroism and the price people pay to save others. It is a great mix of action and humor,'' Stallone explained.

The Venice Film Festival opens September 2 and the jury will be headed by filmmaker Ang Lee and include French actress Sandrine Bonnaire, Italian director Liliana Cavani, American moviemaker Joe Dante, Indian director Anurag Kashyap and Italian rocker and one-off filmmaker Luciano Ligabue.

Click Venice television channel for more about travel, culture, and modern day life in Venice.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Venice Webcam Weddings from Rialto Bridge

Venice Webcam Weddings from Rialto Bridge coming soon so newlywed's friends and family worldwide may join couples tying the knot in Venice.

The municipal council has organized a system that allows civil ceremonies taking place in Venice city hall a few steps from the Rialto Bridge to be broadcast online at an extra charge. The service costs between 120 and 144 euros, depending on whether it is arranged in advance or on the day.

Venice is one of several Italian sites that has traditionally attracted couples from around the world. The general consensus among Italy wedding agencies and couples taking the plunge in Italy is that it is the nation's enduring romantic image which makes it such a popular destination.

Brimming over with fairytale villas and castles, a wedding in Italy or honeymoon in Italy offers couples lots of romantic destinations.

Italy wedding destination attracts about 6000 couples per year, placing Italy wedding destination third behind Hawaii and Australia on the global list of most popular wedding getaway destinations.

The Venice council initiative comes not long after Verona, home to literature's most famous lovers Romeo and Juliet, launched a scheme aimed at cashing in on the city's Shakespearean ties. Couples are now able to say their vows on the balcony of the house where Juliet is thought to have called to Romeo. The residence is believed to have once housed Juliet because it was the family home of the Cappello family, who, according to legend, were the Capulets of Shakespeare's play.

Verona Tourism Councillor Daniele Polato said the city wants to be a ''wedding capital to rival the world's other popular wedding spots.

''We'll be offering tourist packages, the whole shebang, just like Las Vegas does,'' he told local dailies.

''It's a way of using the city's artistic heritage to boost tourism''.

The privilege of getting hitched where Juliet was famously wooed by Romeo in Shakespeare's play will not come cheap, however.

The 'Wed Me In Verona' marriage license alone will cost Verona residents 600 euros, people living within the city catchment area 700, European Union citizens 800 and non-EU couples 1,000 euros.

This compares to the 50 euros required for a civil marriage certificate in Italy.

But Mayor Flavio Tosi stressed that there was no anti-foreigner bias at play.

''It costs extra because the administrative costs are higher,'' he explained.

For more about travel to Italy visit

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ancient Coins from Roman Empire Identified

The largest haul of ancient coins ever found has revealed new secrets thanks to the painstaking work of a team of Italian experts.

Specialists at the Italian National Research Council (CNR) have just concluded a two-year project involving the analysis and restoration of the cache of Roman coins, which was discovered by accident in Libya nearly 30 years ago. ''As well as the number of coins, this haul is exceptional as it sheds new light on so many areas,'' said Salvatore Garraffo of the CNR's Cultural Applied Technology Institute.

''It provides information about the history of the economy, about the circulation of currency in the area during the first half of the 4th century AD, about metallurgy and about monetary production at the time''.

The cache, which was unearthed during agricultural work outside the city of Misurata, Libya comprises 108,000 coins dating to between 294 and 333 AD.

The coins were found inside large amphorae and pitchers that had been buried near the remains of two buildings. Archaeologists believe these were probably part of a staging point and horse-changing complex used by the state-run courier and transportation service of the Roman Empire, the cursus publicus. Alternatively, the buildings may have been used by officials traveling on Empire business.

The coins were nummi, a collective name for different denominations of copper-alloy coins introduced by the emperor Diocletian at the end of the 3rd century AD. The studies by the CNR have revealed that the coins were generally made of a copper-tin-lead alloy. Some also contained a small quantity of silver, a fine layer of which was used to coat the surface of the coin. The tests have sought to identify the precise percentage of silver in the coins, as well as revealing the manufacturing methods used. This information can be used by archaeologists to reconstruct inflation levels and help them calculate periods of financial uncertainty or times in which there were currency crises. Diocletian's era is described as a time when the currency lost most of its value, as Diocletian introduced programs to preserve the Roman Empire, which was already in full collapse by the time he took rule. His programs eliminated personal freedoms and rendered the Roman citizens serfs.

The CNR has involved Italy's National Institute of Nuclear Physics in the testing process, using radioactive analysis to prevent the coins from being damaged by any invasive procedures. In addition to the testing and restoration, the coins have also been digitally cataloged to allow archaeologists in all parts of the world to continue learning from the cache.

In these days when economists are having a religious battle over hard money and fiat money, this research is even more interesting, as Italy's history from the Roman Republic, to Florence in the Renaissance and Venice's Maritime Republic, coinage and currency value and inflation is an integral part of a region's rise and eventual fall. Currency devaluation, inflation, and government treating its citizens like serfs certainly led to the fall of the Roman Empire. The Empire began after the Roman Republic in 44 B.C. By 250 AD the coinage was printed with a ratio of silver that was noticeably less than the prior 300 years manifesting a debasement and decline in the Empire due to it hitting a financial wall.

For more information about Italy travel follow @ItalyTravel on Twitter and visit Italy videos.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ducat Replaces Euro in Puglia

Celenza Valforte, Puglia celebrated today The Ducat, Europe's common currency for close to one thousand years up until World War I.

The euro is being temporarily shelved for one day, with stalls, bars and restaurants accepting only the ducat as Celenza Valforte residents celebrate their past. Visitors to the town will be able to exchange their euros to ducats at one of the town's five medieval gates, three of which have been specially reconstructed for the event.

The initiative is part of a daylong event exploring the history of the town that aims to transport residents and visitors into a different world. Although people have lived in the area since prehistoric times, the town's current layout dates back to the Middle Ages. The celebrations encompass the many changes it has gone through since then: its years under Spanish domination in the 1500s, as part of the Austrian Empire in the 1700s and later under French rule towards the end of the 18th century, and eventually under the Bourbons in the 1800s. The monuments and architecture of the various eras are spotlighted in tours of the town and the coins are part of a broader initiative to recreate life as it was.

All the shops are closed for the day and the electric lighting around the town switched off, with the historic centre illuminated by burning torches when evening arrives. Over 100 of the town's residents have been officially tasked with helping recreate a historic atmosphere kitted out as knights, ladies, soldiers, brigands and traders, while medieval guards welcome new arrivals at the gates. From early evening, street artists, jugglers, fire-eaters, troubadours and jongleurs will wander the streets, while Medieval and Renaissance songs and music will be performed in different parts of the town.

The streets of Celenza Valfortore have been decked out in banners and heraldic signs of its various rulers from past centuries. The ducat, which was issued in both gold and silver, was Europe's common trade currency for centuries until World War I.

It is thought to have been minted for the first time in 1140 under Roger II of Sicily and soon spread across Europe, particularly after receiving official sanction in the mid-1500s.

The Celenza Valforte celebrations, Vivi Il Borgo! (Long Live The Town!), are an annual event but this is the first year the ducat has been used as currency.

For more about Puglia visit Puglia travel television channel.

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