Pasquino statue

The Talking Statues of Rome

Since the 16th century, anonymous authors have been posting provocative political messages on or near these Roman statues.
Parco di Monstri

The Park of Monsters

Constructed in the mid-16th century by Pier Francesco "Vicino" Orsini, this bizarre pleasure garden features twelve strange, disturbing statues--and no one knows why.
Pompeii boulder skeleton

The Secrets of Pompeii

In 79 C.E., Mt. Vesuvius covered Pompeii with ash and pumice, preserving the remains of people trying to escape. Researchers have made a haunting new find.
Benedetta Carlini

Lesbianism (!) at the Convent

Mother Superior Benedetta Carlini, a visionary nun of Renaissance Italy, was accused of heresy and “female sodomy.”
Cricket cage

Keeping Crickets for Luck, Song, and Bloodsport

Design can facilitate the worst of human instincts, including forcing animals into servitude and violence. Cricket cages tell stories about how people have treated the insects throughout time.
Astrolabe

The San Zeno Astrolabe Tracked Time by the Stars

The astrolabe was a revolutionary tool for calculating celestial positions and local time. The device's design dates back to Islamic antiquity.
Michalangelo Last Judgement

How Did Michelangelo Get So Good?

Michelangelo, perhaps the greatest artist the world has produced, wasn't a child prodigy like Mozart. He learned on the job. So maybe there's still hope for the rest of us.
"Distribution of Alms and Death of Ananias" by Masaccio

How Buon Fresco Brought Perspective to Drawing

Buon fresco, perhaps the best-known kind of wall painting, is the result of a chemical reaction turning paint and wet plaster into a single, solid surface.
Otzi the Iceman's hat

The Unsolved Case of Ötzi the Iceman

Clues have emerged in a very cold case: the Copper Age killing of Ötzi the Iceman. What do we know about this well-preserved mummy?
thai spaghetti

“Eastern Spaghetti”: How Italian Food Became a Favorite in Thailand

Thai-Italian fusion is massively popular in Thailand. How did pizza and pasta make their way into Thai cuisine?