At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

8 June 2019

8 June

Tomaso Albinoni - Venetian composer


Prolific writer of operas and instrumental music

The composer Tomaso Albinoni, perhaps best known for the haunting and powerful Adagio in G Minor, was born on this day in 1671 in Venice.  Albinoni was a contemporary of two other great Venetian composers, Arcangelo Corelli and Antonio Vivaldi, and was favourably compared with both.  It is his instrumental music for which he is popular today, although during his own lifetime he was famous for his operas, the first of which was performed in Venice in 1694.  He is thought to have composed some 81 operas in total, although they were not published at the time and the majority were lost.  His first major instrumental work also appeared in 1694. With the support of sponsorship from noble patrons, he published nine collections - in Italy, Amsterdam and London - beginning with Opus 1, the 12 Sonate a Tre, which he dedicated to his fellow Venetian, Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, the grand-nephew of Pope Alexander VIII.  It was this work that established his fame.  Read more…

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Giuseppe Fiorelli - archaeologist


The man whose painstaking work saved Pompeii

Giuseppe Fiorelli, the archaeologist largely responsible for preserving the ruins of Pompeii, was born on this day in 1823, in Naples.  It was due to Fiorelli’s painstaking excavation techniques that much of the lost Roman city on the Neapolitan coast was preserved as it had looked when, in 79 AD, it was totally submerged under volcanic ash following the eruption of Vesuvius.  He also hit upon the idea of filling the cavities in the hardened lava and solidified ash left behind by long-rotted bodies and vegetation with plaster to create a model of the person or plant that had been engulfed.  This became known as the Fiorelli process.  Fiorelli was only 21 when, in 1844, he was appointed an inspector in the Soprintendenza Generale degli Scavi – the body responsible for all excavations in the Naples region – and in 1847 inspector specifically for the Pompeii site.  In a bizarre twist to his story, Fiorelli was arrested and imprisoned after a rival archaeologist took advantage of a crackdown on political activists following riots in 1848 by maliciously reporting him to the authorities as a nationalist republican.  Read more…

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Guido Banti – physician


Doctor was the first to define leukaemia

The innovative physician and pathologist Guido Banti was born on this day in 1852 in Montebichieri in Tuscany.  His work on the spleen led him to discover that a chronic congestive enlargement of the spleen resulted in the premature destruction of red blood cells. Closely related to leukaemia, this was later named 'Banti’s disease' in his honour.  After graduating in 1877, he was appointed an assistant at the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova in Florence and also as an assistant in the laboratory of Pathological Anatomy.  The ability to observe patients in bed and then carry out post mortem examinations was to prove fundamental to his work.  He studied enlargement of the spleen and wrote a paper describing the condition that would become known as Banti’s disease. Banti’s name is still primarily connected with leukaemia and he opposed the views of other scientists about the disease. His description of leukaemia published in 1913 accords closely with the modern definition of leukaemia. Read more...

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