Vicolo dei lavandai

Milan - Vicolo dei Lavandai

The Vicolo dei Lavandai is a meeting point for many Milanese in the Navigli district, a picturesque corner dotted with many trendy places and a destination for many tourists.

The place is also characterised by interesting curiosities, more or less well-known. For example, in Vicolo dei Lavandai, you can admire a curious wash-house dating back to the last century. A testimony to a time when washing machines did not exist and, consequently, people were forced to use manual methods.

Another aspect that arouses curiosity is that, contrary to what is usually thought, it was not women who did the washing up here, but men. In fact, it was they who created their own true trade association. Founded in 1700, the Confraternita dei Lavandai had St Anthony of Padua as its patron saint and it was to him that they dedicated the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie al Naviglio, located just a hundred metres from Vicolo dei Lavandai.

Along this Milanese alley also runs a stream, 'el fosset', which was fed directly by water from the Naviglio Grande. Here, in what was known as a "brellin", a wooden board, they soaped their clothes.

Recently restored, the Vicolo dei Lavandai (Laundrymen's Alley), a ravine in the Naviglio Grande, has maintained its charm intact. A testimony to the past of the Milanese city, it was in use until the 1950s, and today it is still there, enchanting the Milanese and non-Milanese alike.

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Curon - The sunken city

Among Italy's most attractive and famous sunken places, an honourable mention goes to Curon, one of the last Italian settlements in South Tyrol before the Austrian border.

This village is mainly known for its location along the Via Claudia Augusta and for its ancient bell tower rising out of the waters of the Reschen reservoir. The bell tower is, in fact, the only surviving building of the old village centre. Curon was completely and deliberately submerged by the waters of the lake in the 1950s.

The reason? There were once three natural lakes here. In addition to the Resia lake, there were the Curon and San Valentino alla Muta lakes. In 1950, it was decided to unify them by building a dam. The dam caused the old village of Curon to be completely submerged and relocated elsewhere. The dam cost around 25 billion lire and was the focus of the anger of the inhabitants, who even appealed to the Pope to prevent its construction. However, their attempts were in vain and the water invaded houses and cultivated land. A total of 677 hectares of land were affected, and the inhabitants and owners of the farms were expropriated and forced to leave their houses and land. It was decided to accommodate them in makeshift huts.

There are many mysteries and legends surrounding the bell tower. It still stands majestically and alone in the middle of the Reschen reservoir, making it a popular destination for tourists and the curious.

It is said that on cold winter nights the bells of the building can still be heard ringing.

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Paestum Archaeological Park - Hera, Neptune and Ceres

Paestum was probably one of the largest Greek cities on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Magna Graecia. After its foundation by Greek colonists under the name of Poseidonia, it was conquered by the Lucanians and finally by the Romans, who gave the city its current name.

Excavations of Paestum are known for their three ancient Greek temples, which are still in an excellent state of preservation. These three magnificent Doric temples are dedicated to Poseidon, Hera and Ceres.

The Temple of Hera is the oldest of the three temples, built around 550 BC. It is sometimes called the Basilica, based on an error made by some archaeologists of the past who thought it was a Roman public building, in the sense that the Roman term indicates a place used as the seat of the court and the assemblies held by the citizens.

The Temple of Neptune is considered as the most perfect example of Doric Templar architecture in Italy and Greece. The attribution to Neptune is due to the scholars of the '700 who believed the building was built in honor of the god Poseidon-Neptune who gives name to the city. Recent studies attribute it instead to Apollo, in his role of doctor.

The Temple of Ceres (or Athena) was built about fifty years before the Temple of Neptune and 50 years after that of Hera. It has some peculiarities that distinguish it from the other two temples and make it one of the most interesting of Greek architecture. The high pediment and the Doric frieze composed of large blocks of limestone make this building unique.

In addition to the three temples, the central part of the Paestum site is the Roman Forum, with extensive foundations of various public and private buildings. Finally, in the northwest of the forum is a small Roman amphitheater, of which only the southern half is visible.

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