Posted in Around the World

OhBej! OhBej! Christmas Market in Milan.

In Milan, the most traditional and most popular of all the events in the Christmas time is the Oh Bej! Oh Bej! Christmas market which, for five centuries, has rung in the Milanese festive season with candies, surprises and of all kinds of gifts. Organized in honour of the city’s patron, Sant’Ambrogio, it is celebrated on December 7th, lasts until the next sunday and it attracts thousands of tourists every year. It is a must-see for both Milanese, tourists and curious. In the market is possible search for the perfect gift or just to enjoy the magical atmosphere of celebration and tradition in the most important weekend before Christmas.
Traditionally it was organized in the streets around the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, but in recent years the market has moved to the Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castle), like an embrace around one of the city’s most important place of interests. This gives give more space to traders and to the large number of visitors who flock to the stalls every day.
Stalls full of products of all kinds and for all budgets: from bric a brac sellers to florists, artisans, tradesmen with prints and books, masters of wrought iron, copper and brass, plus, crafted toys, sweet vendors, local honey producers, roasted chestnuts and “Firunatt” or “Firòn”, the traditional strings of smoked chestnuts that form long necklaces, a typically Milanese tradition that has now disappeared.
Every year lot of people stroll around the stalls and enjoy the traditional Christmas treats.
According to a local who i met on 2018 edition, this is a winter experience not to be missed and the perfect way to get know, love and breath the city just like the Milanese!
But where does the name “Oh Bej! Oh Bej!” come from?
In Milanese dialect “Oh Bej! Oh Bej!” means “Oh beautiful, Oh beautiful”, or “so nice! so nice!” and tradition has it that it was a cry of joy from the children of the city upon seeing the beautiful products on display.
Another version indicates the precise historical moment when this cry was born: the shouts of joy from the Milanese children when, in 1510, they saw the gifts brought to the city by Pope Pius IV’s envoy Giannetto Castiglioni. Giannetto wanted to ingratiate himself with the Milanese, and thus entered the city carrying boxes full of sweets and toys for children.
Thanks to this version, we can images the antiquity of the fair, which dates it back to the late thirteenth-century!
The Fair is one of the oldest traditions of the city. Its origins can be traced back to 1288, when celebrations in honour of the Patron Saint took place near the old Santa Maria Maggiore.

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Posted in Around the World

20/11/2018 High Water in Venice.

Venice sinks from when it was born because the sandy soils with time are compacted and are settled. The phenomenon is called subsidence. The subsidence became very fast in the twentieth century when the industrial center of Marghera began to extract rivers of productive waters from the underground aquifers. If the old photos dated back a century ago show a proud Venice, high on the water, today it is a city sitting on the water’s surface.
At the phenomenon of subsidence has been combined with excavation in the lagoon and above all will add up the raising of level of the seas, which will be made more dramatic and fast when the warming of the climate will melt the polar ice.
The lagoon of Venice is a shallow sea of ​​brackish water divided by the sea by a two islands long and narrow, Pellestrina and Lido, and joined to the sea by three natural channels, Lido, Malamocco and Chioggia, called in italian “bocche di porto” (literally mouths of the harbour) mainly oriented towards south east.
Every six hours the tide grows and every six hours it goes down. When the sun and moon add up their astronomical effect with the contribution of rains and the scirocco wind (its prevailing directions being south and south-east) that swells the Adriatic against the lagoon, in Venice the water rises up to flood St. Mark’s Square (70 centimeters, the lowest point of the city).
On November 4, 1966, there was the most devastating of the “perfect storms” in which all the disastrous effects were concentrated, and the water level reached 194 centimeters, with incalculable damages.
Precise scientific parameters define the phenomenon of high water, and exceptional tidal events can be categorized as:
– intense when the measured sea level is between 80 cm and 109 cm above the standard sea level (which was defined by averaging the measurements of sea level during the year 1897)
– very intense when the measured sea level is between 110 cm and 139 cm above the standard
– exceptional high waters when the measured sea level reaches or exceeds 140 cm above the standard.


Posted in Around the World

|TRAVEL| Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree, is a broadcasting and telecommunications tower in Tokyo, and at a height of 634 metres, it was the world’s second tallest structure, after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It was inaugurated on May 22, 2012, and it is also the world’s tallest freestanding tower, exceeding the height of Tokyo Tower, previously the city’s tallest structure, by 301 metres.
The major role of Tokyo Skytree is to transmit electric waves in a stable manner free from influences of super tall buildings that have been increasing every year. The area used to be called as “Musashi” in ancient times and the height of the tower, was decided, as a play of words, to be 634 meters, which can also ben pronunced as “Mu-Sa-Shi”.
Tokyo Skytree stands on an equilateral triangle cross-section and, as it progresses upwards, it morphs into a circular cross-section. The structure of circular cross-section is able to support the base structure on a limited area and to fend forces of winds from any directions off. In addition, this unique shape, with “concave curves”, offers different shapes depending on the angle it is viewed.
The tower has two publicly accessible observation areas, the Tembo Deck and the Tembo Gallery. The three-level Tembo Deck features an observation floor that sits at a height of 350 metres, and the Tembo Gallery has two floors. The higher of these floors is 451 metres above the ground!
Tokyo Sky Tree was designed by the Nikken Sekkei architectural firm, and its construction began in 2008. Under earthquake conditions the core column is intended to counteract any sway of the tower.
The center column made of reinforced concrete at the core sways differently from the steel-frame tower body at the periphery, thus suppresses vibrations of the whole structure during high winds and earthquakes. This damping mechanism is called as “shinbashira vibration control” after the “shinbashira” of Goju-no-to towers, Japanese traditional five-story pagodas.
Tokyo Sky Tree is also the centrepiece of a multilevel urban development called Tokyo Sky Tree Town, which include a large shopping centre, an aquarium, a planetarium, and a 31-story office building.

Posted in Abandoned Places

|URBEX| The “Ghostly House” along the Martesana watercourse.

There are some stuffed animal, a big bear, some dolls, a Santa Claus probably beheaded. And a stationary clock, who knows how long, without hands. Those who pass by, along the pedestrian cycle road, cannot do whitout notice it: along the Martesana watercourse, in via Idro, here is a house that seems like something out of a horror movie. Many stop to immortalize it, on the web many people ask who are the owners (because it seems that no one has ever seen nobody). Of course, it is a ghostly place, with a collection of objects and dolls, some ruined by time, others seem more new. If there is someone who replaces them, and who is, this is also a mystery!

Posted in Abandoned Places

|URBEX| Colorno Psychiatric Hospital

Drinnen gab es mehr als tausend Patienten und tatsächlich begrüßte nicht nur psychotische Patienten, sondern auch verlassene Menschen, marginalisiert und “gefährlich” für die Gesellschaft wie Prostituierte, Alkoholiker, Vagabunden und manchmal auch kleine Kinder. Es ist seit 1979 geschlossen, und die Seelen von so vielen Leiden bleiben noch.

Posted in Abandoned Places

|URBEX| Abandoned Carrefour in Bari.

Deserted big parking areas, fully disemboweled escalators, broken glazed into a million pieces and signs on the ground: welcome to the disturbing scenery of the former Carrefour shopping center, now only a large abandoned structure located in the huge industrial area of Bari. A macabre atmosphere that deserves to be told with a series of photographs, which has nothing to do with memory of this shopping center full of people who loved shopping and who came here more or less often, activities that took place every day, it seems until 2009.
The hypermarket was inaugurated in 2003, and the details of its abandonment are not completely clear. There are several rumors about it, and when I asked some inhabitants of the area, a man told me that simply the prices were too high, while an elderly lady shopping at the nearby supermarket (thanks a lot for willingness!) she said that some people have speculated that the shopping center is closed due to the numerous theft of goods, often not only by customers but also by the employees themselves! A security man told me that everything was fine at first, but when supermarket prices increased, and with competition from other hypermarkets, failure was inevitable.
So, the entire structure is so abandoned since 2009, and never redeveloped, at the mercy of vandals and idiots, just like other abandoned buildings along the spectral State Road 96 that goes from Bari to Modugno.
Around the structure the vegetation grows spontaneously, and the former shopping center is distributed on three levels: on the ground floor and on the first floor there are the parking areas, and on the second floor the shops and the hypermarket. The parking areas are now only a vast expanse of asphalt and someone has even stolen the manholes and electric cables (what remains now hangs from the ceiling). Next to the staircase (without a railing) leading to the next floors, there is what remains of the escalator, a rusty skeleton full of broken glass. The area used for shopping is completely devastated: it is a unique environment that runs along the entire rectangular perimeter of the structure. All shops are closed by often damaged shutters, and spontaneous vegetation is growing on the floor. From the emergency stairs (the accesses have all been walled up, but someone has opened some portals), it is also possible to climb onto the roof, where the plexiglass covers have completely collapsed. From here it’s possible see in a better way the degradation of the entire structure. On the roof, in addition to some pieces of the old sign of the shopping center, some nice idiot wrote “questa zona è pericolosa” (this is a dangerous area), with the stylized drawing of an alien. And indeed, this structure full of pigeons and rubbish, seems to be on another planet…

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Posted in Abandoned Places

|URBEX|Buonanotte Vecchio

Inside its streets it is not easy to walk, going through the grown plants and the collapsed buildings on the old pedestrian streets, but some of the old houses, the furniture, the fireplaces, the still remained beds maintain their charm in the midst of so much nature and silence.
Abandoned following a landslide in the early 70s, the village dates back to the twelfth century and in the beginning its name was “Malanotte”.
There are several legends about the origin of the name.
A curious story tells that, at the beginning, the inhabitants lost a local war. Because of this, the men had to give their wives overnight to the victorious enemy as the price of defeat. For this reason, for the defeated inhabitants, the town was called “Malanotte” while for the winners, the town was called “Buonanotte”.
According to another legend, a king passing by those parts with his retinue, in a night of storm. He stopped in the castle and give it the name of Malenotte castle. Then, in another visit, on a midsummer night, he would have exclaimed “this is a good night” and hence the name “Buonanotte” (Goodnight).
The town retained this name until 1969 when it was decided to change it with the current Montebello Sul Sangro. One of the reasons that led the inhabitants of the time to change the name of the town was because they was tired of being derided by the history of the name. Montebello sul Sangro, even today is the current new village still inhabited.
But historically speaking, the origins of Montebello Sul Sangro date back to the 12th century. It’s true that over time the village has changed several names: in the beginning it was known as “Malanotte” and later became “Buonanotte”. In the fifteenth century the village was a fief of Antonio Caldora and then of the lordship of the Annecchino’s with Raimondo. This family had come in the wake of the Caldora themselves. Over the years it changed different owners, and in 1447 Buonanotte was inhabited by 7 families, 21 in 1532, 25 in 1535, 34 in 1561, 17 in 1595 and 17 in 1732. In 1671, in the description of the Kingdom of Naples by Caracciolo-Beltrano, the town was mentioned with Malanotte name with 17 families.
Set on the ridge of the old mountain, today the old town is completely abandoned due to a landslide that slowly destroys it. The new village, not far away, rises on the eastern side of Monte Vecchio, on the left of the Sangro river of the same name. Montebello Sul Sangro is located in the Abruzzo Apennines and enjoys a beautiful view of the Maiella mountain massif.

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