The hidden untold histories of the Italian genius.
Italy is the country of artistic genius. The main towns and cities have all been blessed by some controversial artists, who left vivid proofs of his/her passionate souls.
A ‘fil rouge’ binds some major art names to Italian renowned places such as Milan, Verona, Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Taormina (Sicily).
Following this ‘fil rouge’, Untold Histories (www.untoldhistorytour.com) come to evidence: many major artists expressed their homosexuality (or bisexuality) in masterpieces, such as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in Rome or Leonardo’s portrait of his scholar Salai in Milan.
And not only: even the Roman Vatican Museum witnesses how well-veiled sexual ambiguity comes up in statues and paintings. Not mentioning great politicians, such as Emperor Hadrian, who dedicated an entire villa to his favourite friend and lover, Antinoo in Tivoli, near Rome.
Florence witnesses the controversial Renaissance life-style, with Leonardo’s and Donatello’s masterpieces. Not forgetting the ‘illegal’ quarter of ‘La Baldracca’ which nested the luxurious and lavish moments of the ‘Medici’s’ town.
Verona, town of Romeo and Juliet- but also the birthplace of the Roman poet Catullus, whose bisexuality animated all his poems. He loved Clodia and Joventius at the same time and his house in Sirmione, ‘Catullus’ Grottoes’, is still visible, just on the Garda Lake.
Venice, the first Italian town which accepted homosexuality in the 18th century, was the birthplace of the greatest lover in history, Casanova, but also the inspirational setting of ‘Death in Venice’, by Thomas Mann. Here, the writer tells about his love story with a young man, who disregarded him and led to a complete and final frustration of his soul.
Again, in Southern Italy, Naples and Taormine. The National Museum in Naples gathers brilliant homoerotic statues of Greek and Roman manufacturing: Harmodios and Aristogeiton statues, in homoerotic pose, were the founders of the Athenian democracy. The town itself is a rich example of gay life and colorful Renaissance. Not forgetting the island of Capri, jetset of European and American celebrities after the IInd World War.
Finally, Taormine, in Sicily: photographer and painter Van Gloeden transformed the 20th century village in a temple of homoerotic sensuality, as his villa on the sea still witnesses.
Italy is a ‘melting pot’ of art and culture, which has gone through centuries of obscurantism… But artists have given light to human minds, even when putting themselves to risk. Their courage is our richness today and their suffering our inspiration for a better future.