Help for Heroes

Italy

The struggle for control of the straits dividing Sicily from southern Italy brought the two great empires of the Mediterranean, Carthage and Rome, head to head. It was a world in which ruthless mercenaries prospered.

Arrival of Napoleon in Venice, by Giuseppe Borsato, 19th century.

The arrival of Napoleon’s troops in Venice in 1797 instigated one of the biggest plunders in the history of art. 

Bad wine: bottles of Lunardelli wine, Bibione near Venice, September 2003.

Never fully exorcised, the memory of Italy’s fascist past is fading.

On 24 October 1917, the Central Powers launched a massive offensive at Italy’s north-eastern border. The resulting battle – popularly known as Caporetto – has been described as the greatest defeat in Italian military history.   

The Villa Feltrinelli. Copyright Anna Reinert

Salò was Mussolini’s German-backed experiment in ‘real Fascism’ and fine living. Italians find it hard to come to terms with its legacy.

The Palazzo della Civia Italiana, part of the EUR complex in Rome and now home to the fashion house Fendi

Though many writers, film-makers and other artists found it difficult to work in Fascist Italy, modernist architecture flourished under the less than watchful gaze of Mussolini.

The funeral of Vittorio Casamonica

Food and drink have a habit of landing Rome’s leaders in trouble.

Larry Gragg investigates the evidence behind ‘Bugsy Siegels claim that he planned to kill the high-ranking Nazi in 1939.

Cosimo di Medici goes into exile

During the fifteenth century the Medici banking house in Florence ‘almost passed belief’ in power and influence.