8 February 2019

8 February

Italo Santelli - fencer

Olympic medallist famous for real ‘duel’

The Olympic fencer Italo Santelli, who famously fought a duel with his team captain over a matter of honour, died on this day in 1945 in Livorno, Tuscany.  Santelli won a silver medal at the 1900 Olympics in Paris with a new style of sabre fencing of his own invention. But after competing for Italy be became coach of Hungary, and it was this conflict of interests that sparked an incident at the 1924 Olympics, also in Paris, that led to Santelli and Adolfo Cotronei, Italy’s team captain, engaging in the infamous duel. Read more...


Nicola Salvi – architect

Creator of Rome’s iconic Trevi Fountain

The architect Nicola Salvi, famous as the designer of the Fontana di Trevi – known in English as the Trevi Fountain and one of the most famous and most visited monuments in Rome – died on this day in 1751. He was working on the Trevi when he passed away, having been engaged on the project since 1732. It had to be finished by Giuseppe Pannini before the giant statue of Oceanus – the Titan God of the Sea in Greek mythology – set in the central niche, was completed by Pietro Bracci. Read more…


Guercino - Bolognese master

Self-taught artist who became his city's leading painter

The artist known as Guercino was born on this day in 1591 in Cento, a town in what is now Emilia-Romagna region. After the death of Guido Reni he became established as the leading painter in Bologna. His best known works include The Arcadian Shepherds (Et in Arcadia Ego - I too am in Arcadia), which is now on display at the Galleria Nazionale di Arte Antica in Rome, and The Flaying of Marsyas by Apollo, which can be found in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence.  The Vatican altarpiece The Burial of Saint Petronilla is considered his masterpiece. Read more...


Revolt in Padua

When students and citizens joined forces against their oppressors 

An uprising against the Austrian occupying forces, when students and ordinary citizens fought side by side, took place on this day in Padua in 1848. A street is now named Via VIII Febbraio to commemorate the location of the struggle between the Austrian soldiers and the students and citizens of Padua, when both the University of Padua and the Caffè Pedrocchi briefly became battlegrounds. The rebellion was one of a series of revolts in Italy during 1848, which had started with the Sicilian uprising in January of that year. Read more…


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