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CULTURE

Vatican to showcase Jewish menorahs in ambitious exhibition

The Vatican and Rome's Jewish community on Monday presented an ambitious exhibition on the menorah which will bring together 130 works featuring the iconic Jewish candelabrum, an ancient symbol of the faith.

Vatican to showcase Jewish menorahs in ambitious exhibition
File photo of a menorah being lit: Jack Guez/AFP

The show on the seven-candle Hebrew lamp will run simultaneously from May 15th to July 23rd at the Vatican museums and the synagogue complex in a city which once housed one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world.

The artifacts are being loaned by nearly 20 museums around the world, including London's National Gallery and the Louvre in Paris. Among them will be one of the earliest known depictions of a menorah, an engraved stone found at the site in Israel where a synagogue from the Second Temple period was discovered by archaeologists in 2009.

Christian medieval candlesticks inspired by the menorah, as well as the works of contemporary artists, will also be on display. But history's most precious menorah, made out of solid gold, will be missing.

The candlestick, depicted on the Arch of Titus in Rome, was one of the spoils brought back to the city by the Romans after they sacked the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD.

It was initially placed in the Temple of Peace but later disappeared, possibly looted by the Vandals in the sacking of Rome.

Rome's Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni said the unprecedented joint exhibition, more than three years in the making, showed the “evolution in the dialogue between Jews and Catholics”.

“Times have changed, many positions have softened,” he told AFP.

NOW READ: A Sicilian church became a synagogue on the anniversary of the region expelling Jews

Sicilian church becomes a synagogue on the anniversary of the region expelling Jews

Palermo, where Jews were expelled or forced to convert to Catholicism in the 15th century. Photo: Ben_Leash/Flickr

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LA BELLA VITA

La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you’ll find in Italy

From Italian podcasts to surprising delicacies and our favourite overlooked travel destinations, new weekly newsletter La Bella Vita offers you an essential starting point for eating, talking, drinking and living like an Italian.

La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you'll find in Italy

La Bella Vita is our regular look at the real culture of Italy – from language to cuisine, manners to art. This new newsletter will be published weekly and you can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to newsletter preferences in ‘My Account’ or follow the instructions in the newsletter box below.

A cornerstone of Italian culture, the tabaccheria is used for much more than just buying cigarettes. In fact, these little shops are pretty central to everyday life and anyone who moves to or just spends time in Italy will need to become as familiar with them as they are with the local coffee bar.

From paying bills to purchasing bus tickets, here are just some of the services you should know about and a few tips for your first visit.

Why the tabaccheria is essential to life in Italy – even if you don’t smoke

For Italian language learners: listening to podcasts is a great way to immerse yourself in a new language. Luckily there’s a vast range of audio shows for people wanting to learn Italian, whether you’re studying at an advanced level or learning from scratch. Here we’ve selected a few of our favourites, plus readers’ suggestions:

Some of the best podcasts for learners of Italian

Italy is known worldwide for pizza and gelato, but Italian cuisine is incredibly diverse and visitors are often surprised by some of the local delicacies on offer. I know rustic Tuscan cuisine didn’t exactly match my expectations when I first arrived in Italy. I quickly learned to love it – but my mother-in-law’s homemade chocolate cake made with pig’s blood (sanguinaccio is a delicacy in Puglia…) was a step too far!

So, from fried brains and tripe to suggestive desserts that you definitely wouldn’t expect the local priest to approve of, here’s a look at some more of the traditional foods loved by Italians – but not always by foreigners.

From fried brains to ‘sexy’ cakes: The Italian foods you might not expect in Italy

Visitors can find more than they bargained for at a traditional Italian food market. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

As regular visitors know, there’s much more to Italy than just the glamour of Rome, Venice or Florence, but some destinations suffer – we think unfairly – from negative reputations. From Caserta to Reggio Calabria and beyond, here are some of the overlooked Italian towns that are home to incredible sights that everyone should see at least once.

Nine overlooked Italian towns you should visit

If you’re planning a visit to Italy (or to another part of Europe from Italy) this year but want to cut down your carbon footprint, train travel is a great option and there are more routes than ever connecting Italy’s major cities to other parts of the continent.

Here are some of the main direct international train services you can use for travel between Italy and other European countries this year.

The train routes connecting Italy to the rest of Europe in 2023

Remember if you’d like to have this weekly newsletter sent straight to your inbox you can sign up for it via Newsletter preferences in “My Account”.

Is there an aspect of the Italian way of life you’d like to see us write more about on The Local? Please email me at [email protected]

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