Earlier programmes of meetings 2012-19

Meetings were held at Westbury Fields Retirement Village, every second Tuesday evening in the month from October to May 

2018-19 meetings

Tuesday 9th October
Robert Walters on Zeus (aka Jupiter), his family and friends.

How Renaissance art (mainly Italian) interpreted the classical literature and stories.

Almost no vice omitted !

Tuesday 13th November
David Norris on the Splendour of Roman Wall Painting

Among the most fascinating sights of Italy are wall paintings from the civilization of ancient Rome that survive at Pompeii and elsewhere.  The talk will discuss some of the most interesting, with scenes rich in fabulous details of imagined architecture, religious ritual, lush gardens and stories from Greek literature.

(Wednesday 14th November – in Cheltenham – Venice Opera Special:  £10.00 book direct www. Italian.cheltenhamitaliansociety.org.uk)

WEDNESDAY 28th November
Christmas celebration at an Italian Restaurant. Details and booking to follow by email

Tuesday 11th December
FILM nightAn Italian Themed film Enchanted April film with a glass of wine, Panettoni etcetera - details to be confirmed.

Tuesday 8th January
Paul Foss on Maria Malibran –the very first super-star?
A talk about a very interesting woman -  an early nineteenth century singer who can probably take the accurate accolade of being the very first super-star.   Nothing very Italian about her, except that she used the language, but she led an interesting, if rather short, life (With musical and visual illustration)

Gordon Young – Dickens, Ruskin and, in contrast, a Futurist: visions of Venice in three short impactful films

Dickens journal illustrated with contemporary images; Ruskin’s love affair with the city and his dysfunctional marriage; Filippo Marinetti’s modernist visions of a commercial and industrial not a romantic, tourist Venice

unfortunately Dr Simon Stoddart of Cambridge University
Archaeologist and one of the original founders of the BA-IC in 1994 can no longer visit us this year
a date for your diary Thursday 7th March - 7.30 pm

Bristol University free Winter Lecture: Mantegna and Bellini – family and rivalry in the Renaissance with the Director of the National Gallery Gabriele Finaldi at 12 Priory Rd Complex, off Woodland Rd

 No need to book but arrive by 7.15pm
and Tuesday 12th March 
David Bruce on English (and Scots) settlers in Italy before 1914
Babington's Tea Rooms is still serving Earl Grey and tea cakes at the foot of the Spanish steps in Rome. How  the founding settlers made their lives in Tuscany and Italy will be explored with unpublished letters and photos.  

Tuesday 8th April
Rob Andrews on Messina and Sicily - family history

MONDAY 15th April Hilda Ball and David Bruce arranged a Day trip to Wells with Italian lunch
(details  confirmed by email and via the website)

Tuesday 14th May

Jonathan Camp on Giotto: The Lamentation of Christ  

One of Giotto's most celebrated works,  a fresco in the Arena Chapel, Padua. The art historian will examine Giotto's composition, style and technique,  before going on to discuss how we might interpret the fresco in the context of medieval Italy, and how Giotto's fascination with human emotion established a western art tradition.

Saturday 1st June
 Annual Italian-style Lunch and AGM  held this year at Melita's house Westbury-on-Trym in her lovely garden.

Opera Relay in Millennium Square
The Marriage of Figaro2016 to 2018 completed
Tuesday 10th October 7pm for 7.30 David Bruce - Italian walled towns and Walled Towns in
Italy see walledtownsresearch.org for a copy of the presentation and more on walled towns
To counter the new-fangled canons of the fifteenth century Italians became masters of urban fortification but many towns kept older battlements in repair often for customs purposes until nineteenth century re-unification and they survive charmingly  to this day.
First meeting on 10th October was David Bruce - Italian walled towns and Walled Towns in Italy see walledtownsresearch.org for a copy of the presentation and more on walled towns

Tuesday 14th November
Anne Scicluna 

Twinning with an Italian City: the case of Ravenna and Chichester
Ravenna was originally the capital of the Western Roman Empire, and is famed for its marvelous mosaics. Chichester twinned with Ravenna twenty years ago, since which time exchanges have taken place every year and firm friendships made, as well as links developing between local organisations and schools in each city.

WEDNESDAY 22nd November
 Christmas celebration at an Italian Restaurant. Details and booking to follow by email
Tuesday 12th December
FILM nightAn Italian Language film (with sub-titles): Cinema Paradiso

Tuesday 9th January
Amy King - Murder, Mussolini and  Memory.
Mussolini banned all commemoration in Italy of victims of Fascism. In 1924  Giacomo Matteotti was the first prominent victim. His murder prompted a wave of unrest throughout Italy that threatened to undermine the regime. But Mussolini could not control commemoration outside of Italy, where the memory of  Matteotti was honoured in cities such as Vienna, Melbourne, and New York.

(Tuesday 13th February
Venice film night with Gordon Young - invited by Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society at Clifton Cathedral

Tuesday 13th March

David Grech – Italy without a Camera. Most people record their holidays and travels using a camera; David prefers to sketch the places visited, creating a more unique and personal record.  This talk will use his sketches to illustrate three visits to Italy; two walking trips in Tuscany and Umbria, and a longer tour that also included the islands of Sicily and Sardinia

Tuesday 10th April Tim Davidson – Italian music and operathe British connection.
With the expansion of Britain’s power and wealth as a nation in the 18th and 19th centuries, London became one of the most important musical centres in Europe. A growing and prosperous middle class filled the concert halls and theatres. Italian composers and musicians were drawn to Britain especially London. Some came as visitorssome settled here. Also many Italian operas have been inspired by British themes and some works were premiered here
(With musical illustration) 

 Tuesday 8th May ( Meeting at Westbury Fields NO MEETING BUT...

Hilda Ball is arranging a Day trip to Wilton House and Italianate Parish Church, nr. Salisbury
(details to be circulated by email and via the website)

Wilton House - Near the town of Wilton is the home of Lord & lady Pembroke, relations to the Queen. The family have been here 450 years; there was a memorial service of the late Lord Pembroke a few months ago & they had the ceremony at the church in Wilton. Wilton House opened to the community 1st May 1951, with its history, architecture, art treasures & 21 acres of gardens & parkland has fascinated visitors from all over the world. Wilton House is on the site of a 9th century nunnery begun by King Alfred. This, in turn, was taken over by a 12th century abbey which, with its adjacent lands, was given up at the time of the Dissolution of the monasteries, to King Henry 8th , who handed them to William Herbert round 1542. Wilton House has stayed in the family since that time & is now the home of Henry Herbert 17th Earl of Pembroke. A fire in 1647 harshly damaged the inside of the south range; John Webb finished the renovation of the house. The south front & State Rooms stay proof to the architect’s talent & the status of the Palladian style of architecture in the middle of the 17th century. The Single & Double Cube Rooms are familiar as the finest rooms of this era in England.

Saturday 2nd June

 Annual Italian-style Lunch and AGM at the Old Rectory, Rockhampton, Berkeley, S. Glos. GL13 9DT. Join us for lunch in Mike Britten’s lovely garden.

Tuesday 11th October 2016
Richard Henderson on Santa Maria Antiqua: a fossil in the Forum
Sta. Maria Antiqua - the only Roman church that has preserved its original layout from the early middle ages - has been called "The Sistine chapel of the Middle ages" on account of its stunning collection of romano-byzantine frescoes. Under restoration and closed for many years it has re-opened to the public only in 2016.
Tuesday 8th November
Robert Walters on Leonardo da Vinci.
Not just a painter but an all-round genius
as engineer, scientist, military strategist masque-director and procrastinator. A man of great entertainment and mystery
Tuesday 22nd November
Christmas celebration at an Italian Restaurant Ciao Druids Hill Stoke Bishop.
Tuesday 13th December
Paul Foss on the violinist, singer and composer Maestro Guglielmo Balfi
(better known to us in the English speaking world as Michael William Balfe). He was a fascinating and talented man spending much of his working life in Italy and wrote a great deal of beautiful music much of which is sadly neglected. (with musical illustration).

Tuesday 10th January
Jonathan Camp on Caravaggio: The Incredulity of St Thomas (1601-2)
Often cited as the enfant terrible of art history, Caravaggio transformed painting at the start of the seventeenth century. We will be looking in depth at his masterpiece, understanding how Caravaggio’s use of light, colour and composition bring early Baroque drama to a key episode after Christ’s resurrection; and interpreting the work as seen then and its relevance today.

Tuesday 14th February

Nick Wray, Director of the Bristol University Botanic Gardens on he Gardens of Sicily

The largest island in the Mediterranean Sicily has a diverse landscape and rich history. From the nutrient rich soils of Mount Etna to the warm south of the island, Sicily produces over half of Italy ’s fruit and vegetables. Rich in historic houses and gardens mankind has been cultivating the soil here for thousand of years resulting in beautiful gardens rich in plants from around the world. This lecture focuses on key gardens across the island giving an introduction to this beautiful part of the world.

A short biography of Nicholas Wray MHort. RHS, F.I.CHort.

Nicholas Wray is a professional horticulturist and educator who has worked at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden for thirty two years. He has travelled widely studying plants in the wild, in particular the flora of South Africa . In 1992 he became a co-presenter on BBC Gardeners’ World working for three years alongside Geoff Hamilton. In 1998 he was appointed South African plant consultant to the Eden Project and in 2002 he became a Fellow of the Institute of Horticulture . He is currently responsible for developing, and curating the University of Bristol Botanic Garden, the first new university botanic garden in Britain for over forty years. A former member of the RHS Tender and Ornamental Plant Committee and now member of the RHS Herb Advisory Group, he has judged at many RHS shows including Chelsea . In 2016 he was awarded the RHS Associate of Honour for services to horticulture and education. He lives with his wife Lisa and two children in Bristol .

Tuesday 14th March

FILM night: - Benvenuto Presidente enjoyed for its content , less so for the hiccoughs in the presentation by the DVD recorder. The DVD itself has been re-checked and works perfectly!

Tuesday 11 April Michael Brittan on Cicero and the Cataline Conspiracy.

"In 63 BCE, a debt-ridden Roman aristocrat, Catiline, failed election for the Consulship so could not eliminate his debts by corruption in office. He decided instead to burn the City and its public records to prevent enforcement of repayment, 'The Catiline Conspiracy'. Cicero discovered this and spoke out, warning the Senate…and then the blood bath started!

The UTube clip shows Mark Anthony making a Latin oration

FRIDAY 21st April Hilda Ball's Day out at Bowood House, nr. Chippenham

was much enjoyed by the 19 participants. The Italianate grand house that survives the 1950s destruction of one even more magnificent mansion, displayed beautiful formal gardens

and Tivoli inspired cascades and a mini-temple extensive gardens in the setting of a Capability Brown landscape and lake.Inside the superb library

featured Dante and others, while the orangery and corridors housed special water colours, fine pictures and grand tour sculptures

Saturday 3th June

Annual Italian-style Lunch and AGM at the Old Rectory, Rockhampton, Berkeley, S. Glos. GL13 9DT. Join us for lunch in Mike Britten’s lovely garden.

The  programme for 2015-16 is listed below and  the 2015-16 brochure can be downloaded here.
    October: Ed Sutcliffe "Saints and Lepers in 14th Century Assisi and Italy" (Unfortunately I had to miss this - as soon as I have comments I will review)
    November: Robert Andrews Sardinian Experiences - a delightful and fascinating talk on the history and culture of the island of Sardinia. November: Christmas celebration at an Italian Restaurant.- much enjoyed by all. 
    January: Alan Freke told us about 'Zigzagging amongst Dolomites' with Lizzie Tuckett and introduced us to that fascinating Victorian illustrator and traveller who died young in childbirth.
    FebruaryFilm night Fellini's Amarcord (1974) Italian Language film (with sub-titles).
    March: Michael Britten on Dante’s Inferno
    April: Celia Catchpole on the Casa Cuseni, a house in Sicily 

    May Paul Foss - Music-illustrated talk: the 'Bel Canto Bully' see more in post
    Saturday 21st May AGM and Lunch

Earlier listed programme details and some papers will be uploaded soon

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