20 February 2019

20 February

Francesco Maria II della Rovere - the last Duke of Urbino

Last male in famous family line

Francesco Maria II della Rovere, the last holder of the title Duke of Urbino and the last surviving male from a famous noble family, was born on this day in 1549 in Pesaro in Le Marche.  Descended from the 15th century Pope Sixtus IV, Francesco Maria II’s only male heir, Federico Ubaldo della Rovere, died without fathering a son, which meant the Duchy reverted to Francesco Maria II, who in turn was convinced he should give it to Pope Urban VIII, of the Barberini family. Read more...


Ferruccio Lamborghini - car maker

Tractor manufacturer inspired by Enzo Ferrari's 'insult'

The performance car designer Ferruccio Lamborghini died on this day in 1993 at the age of 76. Lamborghini, who made his fortune from building tractors, set up as a car maker in 1963 in direct competition with Enzo Ferrari, who had been selling sports cars with increasing success since 1947. Their rivalry began after Lamborghini, who was a collector of fast cars, complained about problems with a two-seater 250GT he owned only for Ferrari to dismissively reply that he would not be lectured to about high performance cars by a tractor manufacturer.  Lamborghini decided he would hit back by making his own cars. Read more…


Laura Bassi – scientist

Ground-breaking academic paved the way for women

Brilliant physicist Laura Bassi died on this day in 1778 in Bologna. She had enjoyed a remarkable career, becoming the first woman to earn a Chair in Science at a university anywhere in the world. Just 13 when her family’s physician recognised her potential and took charge of her education, she was the Academy of Sciences at the University of Bologna as an honorary member at the age of 20, the first female to ever be allowed to join. When she received her degree from the university there was a public celebration in Bologna. Read more…


The Barber of Seville premieres in Rome

Rival fans wreck debut of Rossini’s most famous opera

The Barber of Seville, the work that would come to be seen as Gioachino Rossini’s masterpiece of comic opera, was performed for first time on this day in 1816 at the Teatro Argentina in Rome. It was originally entitled Almaviva or The Useless Precaution, out of deference to Giovanni Paisiello, the most popular composer in Italy in the 18th century, whose own version of the French comedy play Il barbiere di Siviglia had been very successful.  Nonetheless, Paisiello’s loyal fans saw Rossini’s opera as an attempt to steal their favourite’s thunder, whatever name he gave it, and sabotaged its opening night by jeering, shouting and catcalling throughout the whole performance. Read more…


No comments:

Post a Comment