Saint Catherine of Siena, Patron Saint of Italy

In a country filled with cities and towns each protected by a different patron saint, Italy, as a country, is watched over by two patron saints: Saint Francis of Assisi, and Saint Catherine of Siena. Today marks the feast day of Saint Catherine, who died in Rome on this day in 1380, at just 33…

The Meaning of a Morning

When in a strange city I have always been in the habit of roaming its streets in the early morning and watching it wake up. I like to be out before the dust-bins have been emptied and the blinds pulled up, to watch the street cleaners and caretakers arrive, and to see the first wave…

A Wander Through Venice

It is with a bit of a sheepish and heavy heart that I offer sincere apologies to all of those whom I have possibly influenced not to visit Venice. (Younger Son, I’m especially looking at you.) Last summer, after four visits to Italy which deliberately did not include Venice (my first trip there left me…

These 14 Universities in Italy Have Welcomed Students Since the 1400s — or Earlier

As roughly 207 million college students worldwide begin their new fall term, many will attend universities which have been in operation since the 1400s — some since the 1200s. Being a passionate armchair historian, I find that information very enticing. The university as we regard it today —  an educational institution designed for instruction, examination, or…

The Oldest Universities in Italy: A Sneak Peek

Not only is Italy home to the oldest university in all of Europe and nearly the oldest in the world, il bel paese is also home to multiple universities which have been in continual operation for several centuries. Where might one find these educational treasures? And how many might there be still in operation? Here’s…