August 10th is the feast day of San Lorenzo. Passing by the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence last night I noticed that it has been decorated out front with a modern painting of the saint who was martyred by grilling on this day in the year 258.


Traditionally, on August 10th there is a night of falling stars – really a meteor shower – that is interpreted as San Lorenzo’s tears. This year (2009) the astronomic phenomenon is lasting between August 8th and 12th; this last day it is predicted to be at its height at 10pm towards the north-east. Apparently the moon being in the fourth quarter is making the show somewhat less spectacular.

To best view the falling meteorites (caused, as astrophysicist Margherita Hack explains, when the Earth intersects the orbit of an old comet whose fragments penetrate the atmosphere), you should go somewhere outside of the city and away from “light pollution”. So if you’re staying at an agriturismo, you’re in luck!

Twelve natural oases under the direction of LIPU (Lega Italiana Protezione Uccelli) will be open from 8:30pm with guided visits to experience the bird sounds, insects, and night sky in these protected regions. Here is the list of areas; go to and look up individual locations for directions and further details. Piedmonte: Riserva Naturale Oasi LIPU Crava Morozzo; Tuscany: Riserva Naturale Monte Roccarandagia – Oasi LIPU Campocatino (LU), la Riserva Naturale Oasi LIPU Lago di Montepulciano (SI), la Riserva del Chiarone – Oasi LIPU Massaciuccoli (LU), Riserva Naturale Oasi LIPU Lago di S.Luce (PI). Also: Casacalenda (CB), Bianello (RE), Arcola (SP), Gravina di Laterza (TA), Carloforte (Isola di San Pietro), Riserva naturale Saline di Priolo (SR), Sicily.

Not into bugs and birds, but like WINE? Then the Calici di Stelle event is for you. (English description here; full program is only in Italian.) There is a list at the end of the Italian page with the names of the various comuni (towns) involved in the initiative. These are mostly in smaller towns – Florence, for example, is not participating, but there’s lots going on in the Chianti region. This event is Italy wide, from Abruzzo to Veneto.


For further reading on arttrav: in case you noticed that the facade of San Lorenzo is unfinished, permitting them to hang out something temporary, you might like this article – the debate to finish the facade of san Lorenzo.

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