Saturday, 28 November 2020

ALLA RICERCA DELLE PIANELLE - A Tour of Casperia's Dated Restoration Markers - PART II


As I wrote in Part 1 of this post, we live here in Casperia, a rustic hill town in the Colli Sabini, about an hours drive NNE of Rome. We moved here in September of 2014 from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada after a number of increasingly longer visits which started in 2009. The longer you stay in Casperia the more you find that there is always something more to discover. Sometimes these are the little, seemingly insignificant, things that end up being truly fascinating... like these terracotta pianella date markers. 

As I was writing the first half of this post, thanks to the help of local historian Lorenzo Capanna, I received a number of tips from members of a Casperia history and heritage Facebook page, "Aspra: com'era... com'è". Through these tips I was able to locate even more pianelle that I had not noticed before. I thought that I had done a pretty good job scouring all the usual places above the cantina and house doors along the streets of Casperia but I soon found out that some of these pianelle are located in unusual places. Some were high up on the third storey level of some houses, and others were tucked away in some of the smaller vicoli, while others were located on roadside shrines and farmhouses out in the country.  And then there were some that were hidden from public view because they had been moved from their original locations and used as decorative features inside houses.

The other day I was out rephotographing a number of pianelle. I was using a ladder so I could get closer to some of the higher located tiles and get better images of them. I was outside a house on Via Sabo at the top of the town. I guess I was making some noise with the ladder. Suddenly a door opened and the lady living in the house came out and asked what I was doing. When I explained my research project to her, she told me that there was another pianella located inside her sister's house and that she would show it to me if I wanted. 

Here is an image of the pianella she showed me.



Part of the bottom of the tile is broken off so it is hard to read the bottom line but here is a transcription.

ANNO DOMINI
MCCCCLXXXIIII
APRILIS DIE XVI
BARTOLOMEI ??
?RICIANIIS??

What we can read clearly though, in rather unconventional Roman numerals, is the date: April 16, 1484.

This pianella predates the oldest tile I mentioned in Part I of this blog post by 40 years. Who knows, there may even be older ones hidden away in private houses. So let's see what is happening in the year this date tile was put in place. In 1484:

William Caxton, the first printer of books in English, prints his translation of Aesop's Fables on the 26th of March. On May 14, Charles VIII is crowned King of France at the age of 14 at Reims Cathedral. He may have been known as Charles l’Affable in France, but his unsuccessful descent into Italy in 1494 inaugurated the so-called Italian wars (called "horrendous" by Machiavelli): a long series of eight conflicts, through which the great European powers disputed control of the peninsula which ended only in 1559 with the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis. On July 6th, Portuguese sea captain Diogo Cão becomes the first European to find the mouth of the Congo River. On August 29th, Pope Innocent VIII becomes the 213th pope when he succeeds Pope Sixtus IV who died on August 12th.  The Treaty of Nottingham is signed on September 21st initiating a three-year truce between the kingdoms of England and Scotland. On
December 5th, Pope Innocent VIII issues the Papal bull Summis desiderantes affectibus, giving the inquisition a mission to hunt heretics and witches in Germany, led by Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger. 
Also in this year the first sugar mill becomes operational in the Gran Canaria.  The first cuirassier units, cavalry equipped with armour and firearms, are formed in Austria. The King of Portugal appoints a commission of mathematicians to perfect tables, to help seamen find their latitude. Maximilian I, Duke of Burgundy, orders foreign merchants to leave Bruges. Most merchants move to Antwerp, greatly contributing to its growth as an international trading centre.
Births of historic significances in this year include those of:
  • Huldrych Zwingli, leader of the Reformation in Switzerland
  • Florence-born architect, Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, Italian architect
  • Giulio Cesare della Scala, Italian humanist scholar, in Riva del Garda in Trentino.
  • Joachim Vadian, Swiss humanist, scholar, mayor, physician and Protestant reformer
  • Hosokawa Takakuni 細川高国, powerful military commander in the Muromachi period under Ashikaga Yoshiharu, the twelfth Ashikaga Shogun
Deaths of historic note for this year include those of:
  • Saint Casimir, Prince of Poland
  • Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales
  • Poppi, Tuscany-born sculptor Mino da Fiesole
  • Ippolita Maria Sforza, Italian noble. She was the first wife of Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, who later reigned as King Alfonso II of Naples
  • Florence-born poet and author of Morgante, Luigi Pulci


Piazza San Giovanni Battista, 3

Returning to where we left off at the end of the first part of this blog post, we pick up the sequence with this date marker located at Piazza San Giovanni Battista, 3 near the top of the town. It is dated 1599. 

Here are some of the more notable events that happened in the year that this building was rebuilt or renovated.

On May 16, the Kalmar Bloodbath, a public execution by beheading and hanging of 22 loyalists of the recently defeated Swedish King Sigismund, takes place in Kalmar, Sweden. In July, a fleet of ships on the second Dutch Expedition to Indonesia returns to Amsterdam, carrying 600,000 pounds of pepper and 250,000 pounds of cloves and nutmeg. The crew were paraded through the streets behind a troupe of trumpeters as all the bells in the city tolled, then given as much wine as they could drink, while the leader, Van Neck, was presented with a golden beaker.  On July 24, Catholic Sigismund III Vasa is deposed as King of Sweden and replaced by his uncle, the Protestant Duke Charles. On September 21, the first reported performance at the Globe Theatre in London (erected over Spring/Summer), a presentation of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, is recorded by Swiss traveller Thomas Platter the Younger. On October 18 at the Battle of Şelimbăr, Michael the Brave Prince of Wallachia, defeats the army of Andrew Báthory near Șelimbăr, leading to the first recorded unification of the Romanians. The first Capuchin friar is entombed in the Catacombe dei Cappuccini in Palermo, Sicily.

Births of historic significance in 1599 include those of:
  • Pope Alexander VII
  • Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland
  • Francesco Borromini, Swiss sculptor and architect
  • Andrea Sacchi, Italian painter of High Baroque Classicism
Historically significant deaths in 1599 included those of:
  • Edmund Spenser, English poet
  • Cristofano Malvezzi, Italian composer
  • Maeda Toshiie 前田利家, Japanese samurai and warlord
  • Luca Marenzio, Italian composer
  • Beatrice Cenci, Italian noblewoman (executed for patricide)
  • Andrew Báthory, deposed Prince of Transylvania (decapitated)
  • Gasparo Tagliacozzi, Italian surgeon
  • Enrico Caetani, Italian Catholic cardinal



This pianella is located at the intersection of Via Garibaldi and Via Massari at Via Massari, 125.  I first discovered this date marker a few years ago and the date and what is written there is a bit of a mystery. I think it says 1600 but Casperia historian Lorenzo Capanna says that it might actually be 1680 with the eight turned on its side. Who knows for sure? Let's start with the assumption that it says 1600. What was happening in the world in the year that this piece of castle wall was restored here in Casperia? 

On January 1, Scotland adopts January 1 as New Year's Day.

On February 17, Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, poet, and cosmological theorist Giordano Bruno is burned at the stake in Rome's Campo de’ Fiori for heresy.  

On April 19, the first Dutch ship ever to arrive in Japan, the Liefde, anchors off Sashifu, in Bungo, modern-day Usuki in Oita Prefecture.  On July 2, the Dutch Republic gains a tactical victory over the Spanish Empire when they win the Battle of Nieuwpoort during the Eighty Years' War/Dutch War of Independence. On October 6, Jacopo Peri's Euridice, the earliest known fully surviving work of modern opera, produced by Emilio de' Cavalieri for the wedding of Henry IV of France and Maria de' Medici premieres in Florence.  On October 26, Tokugawa Ieyasu 徳川家康 gains nominal control over all of Japan when he wins the Battle of Sekigahara 関ヶ原の戦い.  On December 31, The East India Company is granted a Royal Charter in the Kingdom of England for trade with Asia.  In this year Sumo wrestling becomes a professional sport in Japan.  William Shakespeare's plays Henry IV, Part 2Henry VThe Merchant of VeniceA Midsummer Night's Dream and Much Ado About Nothing are published in London.  William Gilbert publishes De Magnete, one of the first significant scientific books published in England, describing the Earth's magnetic field, and the beginning of modern geomagnetism.  In this year Francis Bacon, English politician and Ipswich MP, and Charles I of England are born. In 1600 Japanese noblewoman Hosokawa Gracia dies.  On November 6, Ishida Mitsunari 石田三成, Japanese feudal lord and leader of the western Japanese coalition against Tokugawa Ieyasu is executed. Here in Aspra, to celebrate the XII Jubilee year, the community purchases and installs a grand organ for the parish church of Saint John The Baptist and Orazio Massari publishes his Sabiniade. This epic poem, written in dactyl hexameters and composed of four cantos, was inspired by the Aeneid of Virgil. Dedicated to Cardinal Odoardo Farnese, the poem recounts the origins and deeds of the ancient Sabines. 

Just in case the pianella is from 1680, let's look at what was happening in that year. In May, the volcano Krakatoa erupts, probably on a relatively small scale.
July 8 – The first documented tornado in America kills a servant at Cambridge, Massachusetts. On August 21, 
Pueblo Indians capture Santa Fe (New Mexico) from the Spanish during the Pueblo revolt. Three days later, 
Comédie-Française is founded by decree of Louis XIV of France as La maison de Molière in Paris. On November 14, the Great Comet of 1680 is first sighted, and on November 17, Whigs organise processions to burn effigies of the Pope in London.

Date unknown:

French courts under Louis XIV decide on the complete annexation of Alsace. The first Portuguese governor is appointed to Macau. The Riksdag of the Estates in Sweden enacts the Great Reduction, under which fiefs granted to the Swedish nobility are returned to the Crown, and the country becomes an absolute monarchy under King Charles XI.

Births of historic significance in 1680 include those of:
  • Edward Teach (Blackbeard), English pirate
Significant deaths include those of:
  • Nicolas Fouquet, French statesman
  • Tokugawa Ietsuna 徳川家綱, Japanese Tokugawa shogun
  • Samuel Butler, English poet
  • Thomas Blood, thief of the English Crown Jewels
  • Baldassare Ferri, Italian castrato
  • Lelio Colista, Italian composer and lutenist
  • Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Italian sculptor
  • Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi, Italian architect and painter
  • Marco Uccellini, Italian composer and violinist



A.D. MDCXIII - Via Garibaldi, 31

Via Garibaldi, 33

There are two date markers, almost side by side on Via Garibaldi in Casperia's historic centre, each dating from 1613. One is written in Roman numerals, the other in Hindu-Arabic numerals. So what interesting and important events were happening during the time these two panels were used to mark the rebuilding of these sections of stone wall here in Casperia?

In January, some masons digging in a field long known as The Giant’s Field near the ruins of a Castle in Dauphiné, France discover a brick tomb nine metres long. Inscribed on a grey stone covering the tomb are the words ‘Theutobochus Rex’. Inside the tomb are the bones of a skeleton over eight metres tall, the supposed remains of the giant Teutobochus, a legendary Teuton king who fought the Romans. No one knows what happens to the actual bones but modern analysis of plaster casts of these remains indicate that the bones belong to a Deinotherium, a large prehistoric relative of modern day elephants. On March 3rd, Mikhail Romanov is elected Tsar, establishing Russia’s Romanov Dynasty.
On March 27th the first English child is born in what will eventually become Canada at Cuper's Cove, Newfoundland. On March 29th, through the proclamation of a Royal Commission, Samuel de Champlain becomes the first de facto, though not official, Governor of New France. Back in Virginia colony a drama is unfolding that will will not only become part of American folklore but will also influence political headlines during the presidency of Donald Trump. On April 13th, Samuel Argall captures Algonquian princess Pocahontas in Passapatanzy, Virginia, to ransom her for some English prisoners held by her father. She is brought to Henricus as an hostage. During her captivity there she meets English colonist John Rolfe. Pocahontas converts to Christianity and is baptised Rebecca. At Jamestown, John Rolfe sends the first shipment of West Indian tobacco grown in Virginia to England. Back in England, fire destroys London's famed Globe Theatre on June 29th. Also in this year James I condemns duels, in his proclamation Against Private Challenges and Combats. On August 29th, a Spanish squadron of galleys out of Sicily, under the command of Palermitano Ottavio d’Aragona defeat an Ottoman fleet at the Battle of Cape Corvo. It is the greatest Spanish victory over the Ottoman Empire since the Battle of Lepanto. On October 28th the so-called Keichō embassy 慶長使節 under Hasekura Tsunenaga 支倉常長 sets out in the Date Maru 伊達丸 with a Japanese diplomatic mission to the Holy See, first travelling to Acapulco in New Spain. A locust swarm destroys La Camarque, France. The town of Kuwait is founded.

Historically significant births from 1613 include those of:

  • Jesuit missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons and Canadian martyr Noël Chabanel
  • German priest, founder of a religious community, visionary, and writer of prophecies Bartholomew Holzhauser
  • Marion Delorme, French courtesan known for her relationships with the important men of her time

Deaths of historically significant people in this year include those of:
  • Thomas Bodley, English diplomat and founder of Oxford’s Bodleian Library
  • Ikeda Terumasa 池田輝政, powerful Japanese daimyo and lord of Himeji Castle.
  • Lodovico Cardi, a.k.a. Cigoli, Tuscan-born painter and architect of the late Mannerist and early Baroque period
  • Heroine of the Dutch War of Liberation, Magdalena Moons


Crossroads shrine at the intersection of Via Ripette and Via Santa Maria 

We have a number of favourite country walks in the area. One of them takes us out Casperia's back gate which is known by two names: Porta Reatina, as it is the gate that will get you on the road to the city of Rieti, and Porta Santa Maria, as this same road will take you to the hamlet of Santa Maria Legarano with its Romanesque church built on the imposing foundation of an ancient Roman villa. There are a number of crossroads along the way. We have passed by this shrine with its reproduction San Damiano cross hundreds of times but until recently I had not payed attention to what was written on the terracotta panels on either side of the shrine's doorway. This little shrine marks a real crossroads. The panel on the left points you to the road to Terni in Umbria, while the panel on the opposite side, not only sets you on the right road to the walled city of Rieti, it also tells you when that shrine was built or restored—the year 1632

  

Let's take a look at some of the things that were happening in 1632.

The Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in human history, as well as the deadliest European religious war in history resulting in eight million fatalities continues to rage in central Europe. Elsewhere, in the Low Countries, the eighty years long Dutch War of Independence (1568 - 1648) continues unabated. 

Elsewhere in the world:

On February 22nd, Galileo publishes his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. On March 29th, the Treaty of Saint-Germain is signed, returning Québec to French control, after the English had seized it in 1629. On June 20, Charles I of England issues a charter for the colony of Maryland, named ostensively in honour of his queen, Henrietta Maria, though another theory is that the colony was named in honour of the Virgin Mary as its founder, George Calvert, was a convert to Roman Catholicism. Maryland was notable for having been established with religious freedom for Roman Catholics who, at the time, were persecuted in England. On June 20, two ships, the Saint Jean (250 tons) and the L'Esperance-En-Dieu, set sail from La Rochelle, bound for Acadia. On June 25, Emperor Fasilides, declares the state religion of Ethiopia to again be Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, and confiscates the lands of the Jesuit missionaries, relegating them to their base in Fremona. On July 23, three hundred colonists for New France depart Dieppe. Also in this year, the Portuguese are driven out of Bengal. King Władysław IV Vasa of Poland forbids anti-Semitic books and printings. Construction of the Taj Mahal begins. Catharina Stopia succeeds her spouse as Sweden's ambassador to Russia and becomes perhaps the first female diplomat in Europe.

Births of historical significance that happened in 1632 include those of:

  • Adam Frans van der Meulen, Flemish Baroque painter specialising in battle scenes
  • February 18 – Giovanni Battista Vitali, Italian composer
  • March 13 – John Houblon, first Governor of the Bank of England (1694-1697)
  • March 30 – John Proctor, Massachusetts farmer, tavern keeper
  • April 12 – Henry Chauncy, British antiquarian
  • Catherine of St. Augustine, French nun, nurse of New France
  • John Locke, English philosopher
  • Sir Christopher Wren, English architect, astronomer, and mathematician
  • Johannes Vermeer, Dutch painter
  • Jean-Baptiste Lully, Italian-born French composer

Historically significant deaths from this year include those of:

  • Giovanni Battista Agucchi, Italian churchman, papal diplomat, and writer on art theory
  • Tokugawa Hidetada 徳川秀忠, Japanese shogun
  • Sigismund III Vasa, King of Sweden (1592–1599) and Poland (1587–1632)
  • Archduke Charles of Austria
  • Anna of Cleves, Duchess of Jülich-Cleves-Berg and Countess Palatine of Neuburg
  • Giovanni Battista Crespi, Italian painter
  • King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden (in battle)
  • Philippe van Lansberge, Flemish astronomer




This pianella dated from 1654 is located on the street where we live, Via Latini, near the intersection with Via Casperia. It is very high on the wall above what was, apparently, an old frantoio, or olive oil mill. Apparently there were four or five olive oil mills inside Casperia's historic centre at one time. The sign is written in Latin and reads, "Restored through the grace of God (in) the year 1654."

March 12–13 – The Treaty of Pereyaslav is concluded in the city of Pereyaslav, during a meeting between the Cossacks of the Zaporozhian Host and Tsar Alexey I of Russia, following the end of the Khmelnytsky Uprising in Ukraine against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which had started in 1648 and had resulted in the massacre of an estimated 100,000 Jews as well as a large number of Roman Catholic clergy.
April 12 – Oliver Cromwell creates a union between England and Scotland, with Scottish representation in the Parliament of England.
May 8 – Otto von Guericke demonstrates the power of atmospheric pressure and the effectiveness of his vacuum pump, using the Magdeburg hemispheres, before Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor, and the Imperial Diet in Regensburg.
June 3 – Louis XIV of France is crowned at Reims.
June 6 – Charles X Gustav succeeds his cousin Christina on the Swedish throne. After her abdication on the same day, Christina, now the former reigning queen of a Protestant nation, secretly converts to Catholicism.
July – The Russian Army seizes Smolensk, and the Thirteen Years' War starts between Russia and Poland over Ukraine.
July 10 – Peter Vowell and John Gerard are executed in London for plotting to assassinate Oliver Cromwell.
August – Oliver Cromwell launches the Western Design, an English expedition to the Caribbean to counter Spanish commercial interests, effectively beginning the Anglo-Spanish War (which will last until after the English Restoration in 1660). The fleet leaves Portsmouth in late December.
August 22 – Twenty-three Jewish refugees from Brazil settle in New Amsterdam, forming the nucleus of what will be the second largest urban Jewish community in history, that of New York City. In September, Congregation Shearith Israel is founded as the first synagogue in North America.
September 3 – The First Protectorate Parliament assembles in England.
November 23 – French mathematician, scientist, and religious philosopher Blaise Pascal experiences an intense mystical vision that marks him for life.


Births of historical significance in 1654 include those of:
  • February 3 – Pietro Antonio Fiocco, Italian composer
  • March 10 – Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari, Italian painter
  • September 16 – Philippe Avril, French Jesuit explorer
  • December 10 – Giovanni Gioseffo dal Sole, Italian painter
Deaths of historical importance in 1654 include those of:
  • Nicholas Culpeper, English botanist
  • Francesco Mochi, Italian early-Baroque sculptor
  • Luca Ferrari, Italian painter
  • Jean-Louis Guez de Balzac, French writer
  • Hippolytus Guarinonius, Italian physician and polymath
  • Alessandro Algardi, Italian sculptor and architect
  • Orazio Grassi, Italian Jesuit priest, architect and scientist
  • Pieter Meulener, Flemish Baroque painter
  • Jakov Mikalja, Italian linguist and lexicographer


Pianella on shrine of Via Valle Tassignano courtesy of Lorenzo Capanna


One of my favourite things to do here in Casperia is to go out for walks in the country. I have a number of favourite routes. One of them is to go down Via Garibaldi out the Porta Reatina, the back door of Casperia, and go down Via Marconi and take a right just after the little parking lot there and proceed down Via Valle Tasignano. This pianella, dated from 1670, is located on a road-side shrine near where Via Valle Tasignana joins Via Finocchietto. The photo comes from Casperia historian Lorenzo Capanna who has found me a number of pianelle outside Casperia's historic centre.

So what was happening in the outside world when this roadside shrine outside of Casperia was being restored?

April 29 – Pope Clement X succeeds Pope Clement IX, as the 239th pope.
May 2 – The Hudson's Bay Company is founded in England, to operate in Canada.
Hudson's Bay Company Coat of Arms
June 1 – At Dover, England, Charles II of England and Louis XIV of France sign the Secret Treaty of Dover, ending hostilities between their kingdoms. Louis will give Charles 200,000 pounds annually. In return Charles will relax the laws against Catholics, gradually re-Catholicise England, support French policy against the Dutch, and convert to Catholicism himself. This treaty will force England into the Third Anglo-Dutch War.
June 15 – The first stone of Fort Ricasoli is laid down in Malta by the Order of St. John.
July 18 – Treaty of Madrid (1670): Spain recognises Jamaica and the Cayman Islands as English possessions.
August – Spanish frigates attack Charleston, South Carolina.
September 1–5 – William Penn and William Mead are tried in London, after a Quaker sermon.
November 24 – Louis XIV of France authorises work to commence on the construction of Les Invalides, a veterans' hospital in Paris, France.
December 15 – Welsh privateer in English service, Henry Morgan, recaptures Santa Catalina Island, Colombia.
December 27 – Henry Morgan captures Fort San Lorenzo, on Panama's Caribbean coast.
The first French settlers arrive on the Petite Côte, of modern-day Senegal.

Historically significant births that occurred in 1670 include those of:
  • Giovanni Battista Bononcini, Italian Baroque composer, cellist, singer and teacher
  • Maria Margaretha Kirch, German astronomer
  • Eva Margaretha Von Buttlar, German mystic-libertine sectarian

Historically significant deaths that occurred in 1670 include those of:
  • Charles of Sezze, Italian Franciscan friar and saint
  • John Davenport, Connecticut pioneer
  • Leonora Baroni, Italian singer
  • Loreto Vittori, Italian singer and composer
  • Claude Vignon, French painter, printmaker and illustrator
  • Niccolò Zucchi, Italian astronomer and physicist
  • Ferdinando II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
  • William Neile, English mathematician and founder member of the Royal Society
  • Jeanne Chezard de Matel, French mystic

This Pianella, high up on a wall above Via Tito Tazio, dates from 1784

This pianella, located on a wall above the entrance to Via Tito Tazio, 4 is perhaps one of the highest placed that I have come across so far here in Casperia as it is on the outside wall on the third story of a palazzo whose main entrance is on Vicolo Oratorio. I have to thank Paolo de Gregorio for drawing my attention to this hard to see restoration date marker. Every time I think I have found all of them, up pops another pianella. The Latin inscription reads: Prospectus HIC a Fundamentis, which translates, the facade (built) from the foundations.

So what was happening in the outside world when this palazzo wall was rebuilt—from the foundations—in 1784? 1784 was a year of geopolitical shifts:

  • On January 6, The Ottoman Empire agrees to Russia's annexation of the Crimea in the Treaty of Constantinople. On the 14th of that month, the Congress of the United States ratifies the Treaty of Paris with Great Britain to end the American Revolutionary War. The influx of Loyalist refugees from the newly independent United States to Nova Scotia prompts Britain to partition the territory and create the Colony of New Brunswick. In the same year, Russia establishes a colony at Kodiak in Alaska. 
  • In France, Antoine Lavoisier pioneers quantitative chemistry while Madame du Coudray, pioneer of modern midwifery, retires. In April of this year, Pierre Beaumarchais’ sequel to The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro, premieres at the Comédie-Française in Paris. Later, on September 19, in France, the Robert brothers—Anne-Jean Robert and Nicolas-Louis Robert—and a M. Collin-Hullin, become the first people to fly more than 100km in the air, lifting off from Paris and landing 6 hours and 40 minutes later near Bethune after a journey of 186 kilometres. 
  • Meanwhile, in the recently officially independent United States of America, Benjamin Franklin invents bifocal spectacles.
Births of historic significance in 1784 include those of: English geologist, palaeontologist William Buckland, and British Radical writer, free thought advocate Robert Taylor.

Deaths of historic significance in 1784 include those of: Italian musician Giovanni Battista Martini, and Spanish Franciscan missionary Junípero Serra who established the Franciscan Missions in the Sierra Gorda and several missions in Alta and Baja California.



Paved walkway on Via Rivellini with the date 1800

Though obviously not a pianella, here we have another date marker. Here, the date 1800 is traced out in terracotta tiles in a rustic stone mosaic paved walkway near the beginning of Via Rivellini.

In 1800, the War of the Second Coalition (1798-1802) which arrayed the majority of Europe's Monarchies against Revolutionary France, still rages. Here is a selection of world events which took place 
  • January 1 – The Dutch East India Company dissolves.
  • February 7 – A public plebiscite in France confirms Napoleon as First Consul, by a substantial majority.
  • March 14 – Papal conclave, 1799–1800: cardinal Barnaba Chiaramonti succeeds Pius VI as Pius VII, the 251st pope. He is crowned on March 21, in Venice.
  • March 20 – Alessandro Volta describes his new invention, the voltaic pile, the first chemical battery, in a letter to the Royal Society of London.
  • April 2 – The Treaty of Constantinople establishes the Septinsular Republic, the first autonomous Greek state since the Fall of the Byzantine Empire.
  • April 6 – War of the Second Coalition: Siege of Genoa – General André Masséna is surrounded by 40,000 Austrian troops under Field Marshal Michael von Melas and blockaded by a strong British squadron
  • April 24 – The U.S. Library of Congress is founded in Washington, D.C.
  • June 2 – The first smallpox vaccination is made in North America, at Trinity, Newfoundland.
  • June 4 – War of the Second Coalition: Siege of Genoa – The French army is evacuated from Genoa. Marshal André Masséna is allowed to march out, with all the honours of war. 
  • Jam June 14 – War of the Second CoalitionBattle of Marengo – Napoleon defeats the Austrian troops near Marengo, Italy.
  • June 15 – Convention of Alessandria (Armistice of Marengo): Austria agrees to evacuate much of Italy.
  • July 2 – The Union with Ireland Act 1800 is passed by the Parliament of Great Britain; the Irish Parliament passes similar legislation in the following month, uniting the two kingdoms and abolishing the Parliament of Ireland.
  • August 1 – King George III gives royal assent to the second Act of Union to unite the Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland (both ruled by him) into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, effective on January 1, 1801.
  • September 4 – The French garrison in Valletta surrenders to British troops, who had been called at the invitation of the Maltese. The islands of Malta and Gozo become the Malta Protectorate.
  • October 1 – Third Treaty of San Ildefonso: Spain returns Louisiana (New Spain) to France, in return for the Tuscany area of Italy.
  • November 1 – U.S. President John Adams becomes the first US President to live in the Executive Mansion (later renamed the White House).
Births of historic significance from 1800 include those of:
  • Ányos Jedlik, Hungarian physicist, inventor of the dynamo
  • Hyrum Smith, American Mormon leader
  • Emperor Ninkō 仁孝天皇 of Japan
  • Henri-Gustave Delvigne, French soldier, weapon inventor
  • James Black, American bladesmith, creator of the original Bowie knife 
  • John Brown, American abolitionist
  • Giuseppe Gabriel Balsamo-Crivelli, Italian naturalist
  • Charles Goodyear, American self-taught chemist, manufacturing engineer
Approximate date
  • Abraham Rice, German-born rabbi, first ordained rabbi to serve in the United States
  • Pelaghia Roșu, Romanian heroine
  • Tarenorerer, indigenous Australian Tasman freedom fighter
Historically significant deaths from the year 1800 include those of:
  • Kyra Frosini, Greek heroine
  • Marc René, marquis de Montalembert, French military engineer, writer
  • Niccolò Piccinni, Italian composer
  • Jean-Baptiste Kléber, French general (assassinated)
  • Francis V de Beauharnais, French nobleman, soldier, politician, colonial governor and admiral
  • Lorenzo Mascheroni, Italian mathematician
  • Gabriel Prosser, American slave revolutionary
  • Jean-Baptiste Audebert, French artist, naturalist


1819, Via Sabo, 9

This hard to read pianella, dated April 1819, is located at Via Sabo, 9. I had to climb a ladder to get close enough to read the date properly. So what was happening in the world when this restoration marker was installed in this wall on Via Sabo?

On January 2, the Panic of 1819, the first major peacetime financial crisis in the United States, begins.
January 29 – Sir Stamford Raffles lands on the island of Singapore. On February 6, a formal treaty, between Hussein Shah of Johor and the British Sir Stamford Raffles, establishes a trading settlement in Singapore.
February 22 – Adams–Onís Treaty: Spain cedes Florida to the United States, in exchange for the American renunciation of any claims on Texas that it might have from the Louisiana Purchase, and $5 million.
April 6–June 21 – The French slave ship Le Rodeur sails from Bonny in West Africa to Guadeloupe in the West Indies; in the course of the transatlantic voyage all onboard become blind, and the slaves are thrown overboard as a consequence.
May 22 – The SS Savannah leaves port at Savannah, Georgia on a voyage to become the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean
August 7 – Battle of Boyacá: Simón Bolívar is victorious over the Royalist Army in Colombia. Colombia acquires its definitive independence from Spanish rule.
August 16 – Peterloo Massacre: The cavalry charges into a crowd of protesters in Manchester, UK, resulting in 15 deaths and over 600 injuries.
November 3 – The USS Congress, commanded by Captain John D. Henley, becomes the first American warship to visit China, landing at Lintin Island 內伶仃島 off of the coast of Guangzhou.
November 19 – The Museo del Prado, one of the world's great art galleries, opens in Madrid. Initially, it has only 311 significant paintings.
December 14 – Alabama is admitted as the 22nd U.S. state.
December 17 – The Republic of Gran Colombia is formally established, with Simón Bolívar as its first president. This country, which lasted only 12 years encompassed the present day territories of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, and parts of Peru and Brazil.
Also in 1819, the African Slave Trade Patrol is founded, to stop the slave trade on the coast of West Africa. 

Historically significant births that occurred in 1819 include those of:
  • Baldassare Verazzi, Italian painter 
  • John Ruskin, English writer, artist, and social critic 
  • Louise Otto-Peters, German women's rights movement activist 
  • Walt Whitman, American poet, essayist and journalist 
  • Justin Holland, American musician and civil rights activist 
  • Allan Pinkerton, American detective 
  • Prince Albert, Prince Consort to Queen Victoria 
  • Marthinus Wessel Pretorius, 1st President of the South African Republic 
  • Léon Foucault, French physicist 
  • Annibale de Gasparis, Italian astronomer 
  • George Eliot, British novelist 
  • Felice Orsini, Italian revolutionary and leader of the Carbonari 
Historically significant deaths that occurred in 1819 include those of:
  • Kamehameha I, King of Hawaii 
  • James Watt, Scottish inventor, mechanical engineer and chemist



This 1842 pianella is hidden away from view high up in a corner in a small vicolo connecting Via Rivellini and Via San Rocco and it came to my attention thanks to my friend Maria Piazza who uses this vicolo to access one of her cantinas. I would be interested to find out the reason why crescent shaped pianelle suddenly made their appearance in the 1800s. 

Here are some major world events that took place in 1842:

In January - American medical student William E. Clarke of Berkshire Medical College becomes the first person to administer an inhaled anesthetic, to facilitate a surgical procedure (dental extraction).
March – Commonwealth v. Hunt: the Massachusetts Supreme Court makes strikes and unions legal in the United States.

March 9 – Giuseppe Verdi's third opera Nabucco premieres at La Scala in Milan; its success establishes Verdi as one of Italy's foremost operatic composers.
March 30 – American physician and pharmacist Crawford Long administers an inhaled anesthetic (diethyl ether) to facilitate a surgical procedure (removal of a neck tumour).
May 11 – The Income Tax Act establishes the first peacetime income tax in the United Kingdom; 7 pence in the pound, for incomes over 150 pounds.
June 13 – Queen Victoria becomes the first reigning British monarch to travel by train, on the Great Western Railway between Slough and London Paddington station.
June 18 – A primary school system is established in Sweden.
June – James Nasmyth patents the steam hammer in the United Kingdom.
August 9 – The Webster–Ashburton Treaty is signed, establishing the Canada–US border east of the Rocky Mountains.
August 10 – The Mines Act 1842 becomes law, prohibiting underground work for all women and boys under 10 years old in the United Kingdom.
August 29 – The Treaty of Nanking, an unequal treaty between Britain and Qing dynasty China, ends the First Opium War and establishes Hong Kong as a British colony until 1997.
October 5 – Josef Groll brews the first pilsner beer in the city of Pilsen, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic).
December 7 – The New York Philharmonic, founded by Ureli Corelli Hill, performs its first concert.

Date unknown
The Polynesian islands of Tahiti and Tahuata are declared a protectorate of France.
The New Zealand seat of government moves from Russell to Auckland.
Dzogchen Monastery, in Sichuan, China, is almost completely destroyed by an earthquake.
English palaeontologist Richard Owen coins the name Dinosauria, hence the Anglicized dinosaur
The Sons of Temperance is founded in New York City.

Historically significant births that occurred in 1842 include those of:
  • Mary MacKillop, first Australian saint
  • Arrigo Boito, Italian poet, composer
  • Carl Jacobsen, Danish brewer, patron of the arts after whom the Carlsberg brewery was named
  • A. Viola Neblett, American activist, suffragist, women's rights pioneer
  • Mykola Lysenko, Ukrainian composer, pianist, conductor and ethnomusicologist.
  • Stéphane Mallarmé, French poet
  • Dominic Savio, Italian adolescent student of John Bosco. Savio was canonised a saint on 12 June 1954, by Pope Pius XII, making him the youngest non-martyr to be canonised in the Catholic Church
  • David Herold, accomplice of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth
  • Hermann Cohen, German-Jewish philosopher
  • Scottish chemist and physicist James Dewar, inventor of the vacuum flask.
  • Abdul Hamid II, Ottoman Sultan
  • Giovanni Giolitti, 5-time Prime Minister of Italy
  • Ōyama Iwao 大山 巌, Japanese field marshal, a founder of the Imperial Japanese Army
Historically significant deaths that occurred in 1842 include those of:
  • Constanze Mozart, German-born wife of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Henry Shrapnel, English army officer and inventor
  • Italian composer Luigi Cherubini
  • Stendhal, French novelist
  • Maria Dalle Donne, Bolognese physician
  • William Hobson, Irish-born officer in the British Royal Navy, first Governor-General of New Zealand and co-author of the Treaty of Waitangi
  • American Unitarian theologian and minister, William Ellery Channing
  • Bernardo O'Higgins, first Chilean head of state after independence




This second crescent-shaped pianella, dated 1846, is not visible to the general public. It is located inside a private home at Via Sabo, 32 and may have originally been located on an outer wall of the house. Though the upper section of Casperia's historic centre is technically the oldest part of town with some buildings and walls dating back to the 900s and 1000s, it is also the section of town that was most rebuilt. 

In 1846, The Great Famine continues to devastate Ireland.
January 5 – The United States House of Representatives votes to stop sharing the Oregon Country with the United Kingdom. Later, on June 15, the Oregon Treaty establishes the 49th parallel as the border between the United States and Canada, from the Rocky Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The Milan–Venice railway's 3.2 km (2.0 mi) bridge, over the Venetian Lagoon between Mestre and Venice in Italy, opens. At the time of its completion is reigns as the world’s longest bridge.
Many Mormons begin their migration west from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Great Salt Lake, led by Brigham Young.
On February 14, United States president James K. Polk annexes the Republic of Texas, which is regarded as an early example of American imperialism. On February 19th, the newly formed Texas state government is officially installed in Austin. On April 25 The Mexican-American was breaks out over the disputed border of Texas. On May 8th, at the Battle of Palo Alto, Zachary Taylor defeats a Mexican force north of the Rio Grande at Palo Alto, Texas in the first major battle of the war. On  June 14th, American settlers in Sonoma, California, start a rebellion, the Bear Flag Revolt against Mexico and proclaim the California Republic. On July 7th at the Battle of Monterey: Acting on instructions from Washington, D.C., Commodore John Drake Sloat orders his troops to occupy Monterey and Yerba Buena, thus beginning the United States annexation of California. On August 22nd, the Second Federal Republic of Mexico is established.

Elsewhere:
On February 26th, the Liberty Bell is cracked while being rung for George Washington's birthday.
On March 9,  the First Anglo-Sikh War, which began a month earlier, ends with the signing of the Treaty of Lahore. Kashmir is ceded to the British East India Company, and the Koh-i-Noor diamond is surrendered to Queen Victoria.
May – The Associated Press is founded in New York.
On June 16 – Pope Pius IX succeeds Pope Gregory XVI as the 255th pope. He will reign for 31½ years (the longest definitely confirmed).
June 28 – The Saxophone is patented by Adolphe Sax.
September 10 – Elias Howe is awarded the first United States patent for a sewing machine, using a lockstitch design.
September 19 – The Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to two children in La Salette, France.
September 23 – Discovery of Neptune: The planet is observed for the first time by German astronomers Johann Gottfried Galle and Heinrich Louis d'Arrest, as predicted by British astronomer John Couch Adams and French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier.
October 16 – At Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. William T.G. Morton, a dentist, gives the first successful public demonstration of ether anaesthesia.
November 4 – The Donner Party, a wagon train of 87 settlers traveling to California, is stranded in the Sierra Nevada mountains by the first of several snowstorms. By the time a relief party reaches the starving settlers three months later, only 48 survivors are left, many of whom have survived by cannibalism.
Canadian Abraham Pineo Gesner's (b. Cornwallis, Nova Scotia) research in minerals results in his development of a process to refine a liquid fuel from coal, bitumen and oil shale. His new discovery, which he names kerosene, burns more cleanly and was less expensive than competing products, such as whale oil.

Births of historic significance in 1846 include those of:
  • M. Lewis Clark American founder of Kentucky Derby
  • William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, American frontiersman, later showman
  • Charles Stewart Parnell, Irish political leader
  • Anna Kingsford, British spiritual writer, doctor, feminist and pioneering vegetarian
  • Watson Heston, American cartoonist
  • George Westinghouse, American entrepreneur, engineer
  • Julia Lermontova, Russian chemist
Deaths of note include those of:
  • María Trinidad Sánchez, heroine of the Dominican War of Independence
  • Friedrich Bessel, German mathematician and astronomer
  • Pope Gregory XVI
  • Rodolphe Töpffer, Swiss author, painter, and caricature artist
  • Jean-Baptiste Benoît Eyriès, French geographer, author and translator
  • John Ainsworth Horrocks, English-born explorer of South Australia
  • Thomas Clarkson, English abolitionist 
  • Maria Medina Coeli, Italian physician

House restored in 1856 in Paranzano on Via Roma, courtesy of Lorenzo Capanna

This date marker from 1856 is located on the wall of a house in the hamlet of Paranzano on Via Roma. 
On January 8th of this year, John Veatch discovers extensive Borax deposits in California.
On January 28th, Queen Victoria establishes the Victoria Cross, the highest award of the British honours system.
A series of violent civil confrontations known variously as Bleeding Kansas, Bloody Kansas or the Border War, originating from a debate over the legality of slavery in the proposed state of Kansas, continues to rage. The bloody conflict lasts from 1854 to 1861 and is characterized by years of electoral fraud, raids, assaults, and retributive murders carried out by anti-slavery "Free-Staters" and pro-slavery"Border Ruffians" in Kansas and in neighbouring Missouri. 
On January 26, in the first Battle of Seattle, Marines from the USS Decatur suppress an indigenous uprising which had arisen in response to Governor Stevens' declaration of a "war of extermination" on Native communities.
On February 2, Dallas Texas is incorporated as a city.
The Great Trigonometrical Survey of India officially gives 'Peak XV’—later to be named Mount Everest—the height of 8,840 m (29,002 ft). ‘Peak IX’ (Kangchenjunga), previously thought to be the world’s highest, is confirmed as 8,582 m (28,156 ft).
William Henry Perkin discovers Mauveine, the first synthetic organic dye, while attempting to synthesize quinine. This eventually leads to the birth of the chemical industry.
On April 26, the Paris Declaration Respecting Maritime Law abolishes privateering, and regulates the relationship between neutral and belligerent and shipping on the high seas.
On May 3, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, gives Norfolk Island to the population of the colony at Pitcairn Island, most being descendants of the Mutiny on the Bounty. They first settle on Norfolk Island on June 8. Women's suffrage, as practiced on Pitcairn, is extended to Norfolk Island.
On July 17, The Great Train Wreck (the worst railroad calamity in the world to date) occurs near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
On July 31, Christchurch, New Zealand is chartered as a city.
In August, pre-human remains are found in the Neander Valley in Prussia.
On October 8, the Second Opium War between several western powers and China begins, with the Arrow Incident on the Pearl River.
War is declared between Great Britain and Persia on November 1st starting the Anglo-Persian War.
Kate Warne, the first female private detective, begins to work for the Pinkerton Detective Agency.
Also in this year, the British Guiana 1c magenta postage stamp is issued in British Guiana in limited numbers; the one surviving specimen will become regarded as the world's rarest stamp.

Births of note for this year include those of:
  • Frederick William Vanderbilt, American railway magnate
  • Booker T. Washington, American educator
  • Granville T. Woods, African-American inventor
  • Philippe Pétain, French soldier, statesman
  • Sigmund Freud, Austrian
    Sigmund Freud
    neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis.
  • Frank Baum, American author, poet, playwright, actor and independent filmmaker (The Wizard of Oz)
  • H. Rider Haggard, English novelist
  • Nikola Tesla, Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist who is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.
  • George Barnard Shaw, Irish writer, Nobel Prize laureate
  • Diamond Jim Brady, American businessman and philanthropist
  • Wilhelm von Gloeden, German photographer
  • Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir, Icelandic women's right activist
  • Kate Douglas Wiggin, American author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
  • Robert Kajanus, Finnish conductor, composer and founder of the Helsinki Orchestral Society, Finland's first professional orchestra
  • Hans von Bartels, German painter
  • Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize

Deaths of historical note for this year include those of:
  • Thaddeus William Harris, American entomologist and botanist
  • Khedrup Gyatso, 11th Dalai Lama
  • Robert Schumann, German composer, pianist
  • William Buckland, English geologist, palaeontologist
  • Manuela Sáenz, revolutionary heroine of South America
  • Francesco Bentivegna, Italian revolutionary


Via Massari 24 - 26,  courtesy of Lorenzo Capanna date 1868




















When I did my first tour of Casperia's centro storico in search of these restoration markers, I missed this pianella dated 1868 located high on the wall above Via Massari, 24 - 26. I have to thank Casperia historian and archivist Lorenzo Capanna for drawing my attention to this marker. The following world events took place in the year that this pianella was placed in the wall above Via Massari:

January 3 – The 15-year-old Mutsuhito, Emperor Meiji 明治天皇 of Japan, declared the Meiji Restoration 明治維新, his own restoration to full power, under the influence of supporters from the Chōshū and Satsuma Domains, and against the supporters of the Tokugawa shogunate. This triggered the Boshin War 戊辰戦争.
January 9 – Penal transportation from Britain to Australia ends, with arrival of the convict ship Hougoumont in Western Australia, after an 89-day voyage from England. There are 62 Fenians deportees on board.
February – Foreign ministers meeting in Hyōgo are persuaded to recognise the restored Emperor Meiji of Japan, with promises that harbours will be open in accordance with international treaties.
On February 24 the United States House of Representatives votes 126-47 in favour of a resolution to impeach Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, the first of two Presidents to be impeached by the full House. Johnson is later acquitted by the United States Senate.
The first parade to have floats takes place at Mardi Gras in New Orleans also on February 24
March – French geologist Louis Lartet discovers the first identified skeletons of Cro-Magnon, the first early modern humans, at Abri de Crô-Magnon, a rock shelter at Les Eyzies, Dordogne, France.
May 26 – Fenian bomber Michael Barrett becomes the last person publicly hanged in the United Kingdom.
May 29 – The Parliament of the United Kingdom passes the Capital Punishment Amendment Act, thus ending public hanging.
June 1 – The Treaty of Bosque Redondo is signed, allowing the Navajo to return to their lands in Arizona and New Mexico. The treaty effectively established the Navajo as a sovereign nation. 
June 2 – The first Trades Union Congress is held in Manchester, England.
July 5 – Preacher William Booth establishes the Christian Mission, predecessor of The Salvation Army, in the East End of London.
September 3 – Emperor Meiji of Japan announces that the name of the city of Edo 江戸 is to be changed to Tokyo 東京, which means Eastern Capital .
December 9 – The world's first traffic signal lights are installed at the junction of Great George Street and Bridge Street in the London Borough of Westminster.
December 25 – U.S. President Andrew Johnson grants unconditional pardon to all Civil War rebels.

Significant births which took place in 1868 included those of:

  • Vittorio Monti, Italian composer, violinist, mandolinist and conductor 
  • Edward S. Curtis, American photographer, ethnologist, and film director 
  • William Edward Burghardt. Du Bois, African American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor, the first African American to receive a doctorate at Harvard and one of the founders of the NAACP. 
  • Emily Murphy, Canadian woman's rights activist, first female magistrate in Canada and the British Empire 
  • Maxim Gorky, Russian author, political activist and founder of the socialist realism literary method. 
  • Abdülmecid II, last Caliph of the Ottoman Empire 
Historically significant deaths for this year include those of:
  • David Brewster, Scottish physicist, inventor and author 
  • Jean Bernard Léon Foucault, French physicist 
  • Emperor Tewodros II of Ethiopia 
  • Kit Carson, American trapper, scout, and Indian agent 
  • August Ferdinand Möbius, German mathematician and astronomer 
  • Mongkut, Rama IV, King of Siam 
  • Laura Secord, Canadian heroine of the War of 1812 
  • Gioachino Rossini, Italian composer

Fountain below Casperia near Via Valle Tassignana


Restored, April, 1880

This diamond-shaped pianella is located on a country fountain situated just below Casperia's walled town just off Via Valle Tasignana. The R on the marker stands for "ristaurata" meaning restored. This pianella, dating from 1880, is the first that I have found that dates from after the unification of Italy in 1871. So what was happening in the big world outside Casperia in this year?
In February, the journal "Science" is first published in the United States, with financial backing from Thomas Edison. In this same month, the first electric streetlight is installed in Wabash, Indiana and the first successful shipment of frozen mutton from Australia arrives in London, aboard the SS Strathleven.
March 31 – Wabash, Indiana becomes the first electrically lit city in the world.
May 13 – In Menlo Park, New Jersey, Thomas Edison performs the first test of his electric railway.
June 29 – France annexes Tahiti.
August 14 – Cologne Cathedral is completed, after construction began in 1248, 632 years earlier.
August 26 – Competing circus owners P. T. Barnum and James A. Bailey sign a contract in Bridgeport, Connecticut to create the Barnum & Bailey Circus. In 1907, the circus will merge forces with another competitor, the Ringling Brothers Circus.
October 15 – Mexican soldiers kill Victorio, one of the greatest Apache military strategists.
November 4 – The first cash register is patented by James and John Ritty of Dayton, Ohio.
November 9 – A major earthquake strikes Zagreb and destroys many buildings, including Zagreb Cathedral.
November 22 – Vaudeville actress Lillian Russell makes her debut at Tony Pastor's Theatre, in New York City.
December 20 – First Boer War: The Battle of Bronkhorstspruit results in a Boer victory over the British.

Dates unknown:

The Capuchin catacombs of Palermo are officially closed (there will be some burials afterwards).
The Department of Scientific Temperance Instruction, of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, is established in the United States.

Historically significant births which occurred in 1880 include those of:
Helen Keller
  • Vajiravudh, Rama VI, King of Siam
  • Father Francis Browne, Irish Jesuit priest, famous for his last photos of the RMS Titanic
  • Tom Mix, American actor
  • Douglas MacArthur, American general
  • W. C. Fields, American actor, comedian
  • Helen Keller, American spokeswoman for the deaf and blind
  • Tod Browning, American motion picture director, horror film pioneer
  • Alessandro Guidoni, Italian air force general
  • Guillaume Apollinaire, French poet
  • Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
  • Chujiro Hayashi 林忠次郎, Japanese Reiki master
  • Christabel Pankhurst, English suffragette
  • John Boyd Orr, Scottish physician and biologist, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Sarah Knauss, American supercentenarian verified as longest-lived American ever
  • Pier Ruggero Piccio, Italian World War I fighter ace, air force general
  • Liberato Pinto, 78th Prime Minister of Portugal
  • George Marshall, United States Secretary of State, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
Deaths of note include those of:
  • Joshua A. Norton, self-anointed Emperor Norton I of the United States of America Lydia Maria Child, American novelist, abolitionist
  • Victorio, Chiricahua Apache chief
  • Alphonse Pénaud, French aviation pioneer
  • Bettino Ricasoli, Italian statesman


Restoration Date marker on Fonte Varoni, courtesy of Lorenzo Capanna

This restoration date marker from 1891 is on an old country fountain known as Fonte Varoni on Via Fonte Varoni north of Casperia's centro storico. In the year that this fountain was restored:

January 1 – Paying of old age pensions begins in Germany.
January 29 – Liliuokalani is proclaimed Queen of Hawaii.
January 31 – The Portuguese republican revolution breaks out, in the northern city of Porto.
March 14 – In New Orleans, a lynch mob storms the Old Parish Prison, and lynches 11 Italians arrested but found innocent of the murder of Police Chief David Hennessy.
March 15 – Jesse W. Reno patents the first escalator at Coney Beach.
March 17 – The British steamship SS Utopia, carrying Italian migrants to New York, sinks in the inner harbour of Gibraltar after collision with the battleship HMS Anson, killing 564.
April 1  – The Wrigley Company is founded in Chicago.
May – Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claims to be Al-Mahdi, the Messiah of Islam.
May 1 – The first Fascio dei lavoratori (Workers League) is founded by Giuseppe De Felice Giuffrida in Catania, Sicily.
May 5 – The Music Hall in New York (later known as Carnegie Hall) has its grand opening and first public performance, with Peter Tchaikovsky as guest conductor.
May 11 – Ōtsu incident: Tsesarevich Nikolay Alexandrovich (the future Czar Nicholas II) of Russia survives an assassination attempt, while visiting Japan.
May 15 – Pope Leo XIII issues the encyclical Rerum novarum, on the rights and duties of capital and labor, resulting in the creation of many Christian Democrat parties throughout Europe.
June 25 – Arthur Conan Doyle's detective Sherlock Holmes appears in London’s The Strand Magazine for the first time, in the issue dated July.
September 14 – The first penalty kick is awarded in a football (soccer) match; John Heath scores it for the Wolverhampton Wanderers.
October – Eugène Dubois finds the first fragmentary bones of Pithecanthropus erectus (later redesignated Homo erectus), or "Java Man", at Trinil on the Solo River.
October 1 – Stanford University in California opens its doors.
November 11 – Jindandao Incident: The Chinese Juu Uda League in Inner Mongolia massacres tens of thousands of Mongols, before being suppressed by government troops in late December.
November 15 – The constitution of the First Brazilian Republic is promulgated.
November 28 – The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is organized in St. Louis, Missouri.
December 22 – Asteroid 323 Brucia becomes the first asteroid discovered using photography.

Date unknown
Canadian-born James Naismith invents basketball in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Maria Skłodowska—later Marie Curie—enters the Sorbonne University.
Michelin patents the removable pneumatic bicycle tire.

Historically significant births which occurred in 1891 include:
  • Antonio Gramsci, Italian Communist writer, politician
  • Sam Jaffe, American actor
  • Cole Porter, American composer, songwriter
  • Bernhard Zondek German-born Israeli gynecologist, developer of first reliable pregnancy test
  • Frederick Banting, Canadian physician, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 
Historically significant deaths for 1891 include those of:
  • Kalākaua, last reigning King of Hawaii
  • Calixa Lavallée, composer of “O Canada”, the Canadian national anthem
  • William Tecumseh Sherman, American general
  • P. T. Barnum, American showman
  • Sir John A. Macdonald, 1st Prime Minister of Canada, Father of Confederation
  • Pierre Lallement, French inventor of the bicycle
  • Pedro II, 2nd and last Emperor of Brazil
In fiction
  • Professor James Moriarty, fictional criminal mastermind in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes short story "The Final Problem"
Here below is another pianella from 1891. This one is located in an upper level bricked floor on Via Massari. Above the date is written the word, "Mattonata", which means "bricked".

Photo courtesy of Ritchie Dakin




Via Guglielmo Marconi, 27 La Fondaria 23 Maggio 1892

There are two pianelle for 1892 located on the wall of a building just outside Casperia's Porta Romana. The one located on the wall of Via Guglielmo Marconi, 29 dated 18 of May 1892. 

On January 1, Ellis Island begins accommodating immigrants to the United States. On January 15, James Naismith's rules for basketball are published for the first time in the Springfield YMCA International Training School's newspaper, in an article titled "A New Game". On February 27, Rudolf Diesel applies for a patent, on his compression ignition engine (the Diesel engine). On March 11, the first basketball game is played in public, between students and faculty at the Springfield YMCA. A crowd of 200 spectators watches the game. On March 18, Sir Frederick Stanley announces his
Stanley Cup
intention to donate the Stanley Cup. On March 31, t
he world's first fingerprinting bureau is formally opened by the Buenos Aires Chief of Police; it had been operating unofficially since the previous year. On April 15, the General Electric Company is established, through the merger of the Thomson-Houston Company and the Edison General Electric Company. On June 4, Abercrombie & Fitch is established by David T. Abercrombie. On June 7, Homer Plessy (who is black) is arrested for sitting on the whites-only car in Louisiana, leading to the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson court case. On August 4, the father and step-mother of Lizzie Borden are found 
Hatchet used in the murder of Lizzie Borden's parents 
murdered in their Fall River, Massachusetts home. On September 8, the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance is first recited. Also in this month, Women are first admitted to Yale University's graduate school. On, October 1, the University of Chicago holds its first classes. Later, on October 31, the first collection of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories from The Strand MagazineThe Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, is published in London. On December 17, the  first issue of Vogue is published, and on December 18, The Nutcracker ballet, with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, is premiered at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, Russia.

Date unknown
Andrew Carnegie combines all of his separate businesses into the Carnegie Steel Company, allowing him to gain a monopoly in the United States steel industry. A tortoise called Timothy is brought to the estate of Powderham Castle in England, where she lives until her death in 2004. Abu Dhabi becomes a British protectorate. Viruses are discovered by Russian–Ukrainian biologist Dimitri Ivanovski, and construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway begins.

Births of historic note for 1892 include those of:
J.R.R. Tolkien
  • J. R. R. Tolkien, South African professor, linguist, philologist, conlanger and author of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and The Silmarillion
  • Oliver Hardy, American comedian, actor
  • Eddie Cantor, American actor, singer
  • Italo Mus, Italian painter
  • Mary Pickford, Canadian actress, studio founder
  • Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt, British (Scottish) inventor of radar
  • Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron), German World War I fighter pilot
  • Josip Broz Tito, President of Yugoslavia
  • Basil Rathbone, British actor
  • Pearl S. Buck, American writer, Nobel Prize laureate
  • Haile Selassie I, Ethiopian emperor
  • Arthur Compton, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate
  • Alfred A. Knopf, American publisher
  • Dink Johnson, American jazz musician
  • Angelo Siciliano, a.k.a. Charles Atlas, Italian-American strongman, sideshow performer
  • Tazio Nuvolari, Italian racing driver
  • Francisco Franco, Spanish dictator
  • J. Paul Getty, American industrialist
  • Ruth Chatterton, American actress, novelist, and aviator
  • Stanley Price, American film, television actor
Date unknown
  • Gerald Haxton, secretary and lover of W. Somerset Maugham
  • Wu Shuqing, Chinese feminist, nationalist and revolutionary
Deaths of significant note for 1892 include those of:
Walt Whitman
  • Louis Vuitton, world-renowned French fashion designer
  • Walt Whitman, American poet
  • Bahá'u'lláh, بهاءالله Persian founder of the Bahá'í Faith
  • Polish-born feminist Ernestine Rose
  • Deodoro da Fonseca, 1st President of Brazil
  • Ernest Renan, French philosopher, philologist, historian and writer
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson, British poet


Via G. Marconi, 22 - Photo courtesy of Frencesco Petruciolli

This pianella, dated 1894, is the only one we have discovered so far on the outer side of Casperia's ring of walls. In fact, of all the pianelle included in these two blog posts, it was one of the last to be discovered as it is very hard to see. It is actually mostly obscured from view by electrical wiring but it was recently rediscovered by our community historian and archivist Lorenzo Capanna while he was sitting on the edge of the old communal laundry fountain opposite the Sileri butcher shop.
Courtesy of Francesco Petruciolli
It is located high on the wall, above a second story window which belongs to the Geometra's office directly above Armando Sileri's macelleria at Via G. Marconi, 22 and it took a very long time before any of us could get a photo good enough to allow us to determine the date. 

This photo comes courtesy of Francesco Petruciolli.

So what was happening in the world when this section of Casperia's 13th century circuit walls was being worked on?

On March 12, Coca-Cola is sold in bottles for the first time. The first significant protest march in the United States, Coxey's Army of the unemployed, departs from Massillon, Ohio, for Washington, D.C. on March 25th. On June 23, the International Olympic Committee is founded in Paris. London’s Tower Bridge opens for traffic on June 30th. On July 4,  Sanford B. Dole proclaims The Republic of Hawaii. On July 16, the United Kingdom and Japan sign the Anglo-Japanese Treaty, as the U.K. becomes the first of the Western nations to agree to give up its extraterritorial rights in Japan. The first Sino-Japanese War erupts between the Qing Empire of China and the Empire of Japan on August 1st over their rival claims of influence over their common ally, the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. On August 31, New Zealand enacts the world's first minimum wage law, to take effect on January 1, in the passage of the Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act of 1894In New York City, 12,000 tailors strike against sweatshop working conditions on September 4th. On October 15, French Army officer Alfred Dreyfus is arrested for spying. Later, on December 22, Dreyfus will be convicted of treason.
On October 30, Domenico Melegatti obtains a patent for a procedure, to be applied in producing pandoro industrially.
On November 1, Russian emperor Alexander III is succeeded by his son, Nicholas II.
On December 18, Women in South Australia become the first in Australia to gain the right to vote and to be elected to Parliament, taking effect from 1895. Also in this year, oil is discovered on the Osage Indian Reservation, making the Osage the "richest group of people in the world". 

Births of historic interest from 1894 include those of: 
Soviet politician and premier, Nikita Khrushchev; King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom (afterwards The Duke of Windsor); German Nazi official and Deputy Führer to Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess; African-American blues singer, Bessie Smith; American artist and illustrator, Norman Rockwell; Canadian World War I fighter ace, Billy Bishop;  English novelist and pholosopher, Aldous Huxley; English novelist and playwright, J. B. Priestley; American poet, E. E. Cummings; American cartoonist and writer, James Thurber; American detective fiction writer, Dashiell Hammett; American sexologist, Alfred Kinsey; American dancer and choreographer, Martha Graham; American comedian and actor, Jack Benny; American actor, Walter Brennan; British-American actress, Kathleen Lockhart; American chewing gum manufacturer and sports executive, Philip K. Wrigley; and American cartoonist and Popeye creator, E. C. Segar.

Deaths of historic note from 1894 include those of: Belgian instrument maker and inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax; Jane Goodwin Austin, American popular story writer, Jane Goodwin Austin; Mary Jane Patterson, the first African-American woman to receive a B.A degree (1862); American author, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.; Mexican rancher, politician, military leader, outlaw and folk hero, Juan Cortina; Emperor Alexander III of Russia; Russian pianist, composer, Anton Rubinstein; and Scottish author, Robert Louis Stevenson.



This 1905 dated pianella can be found on a house on Via Santa Maria in Legarano

There are lots of restoration date markers in and around Casperia's centro storico that date from the 20th century. This pianella, located above a very dilapidated and soon to collapse brick arch on the road connecting Casperia's Porta Reatina with the hamlet of Santa Maria in Legarano, is dated 1905, the year that two new provinces were added to Canada,  Alberta and Saskatchewan. 

Births of note for this year include those of Maria Von Trapp, Christian Dior, Nazi architect Albert Speer, actors Joseph Cotton, Greta Garbo, Myrna Loy and Henry Fonda, Swedish diplomat  and UN Secretary General Dag Hammaskjöld. This is also the year that author Jules Verne died.


1907 Via San Pietro, courtesy of Lorenzo Capanna. G. M. likely stands for Giovambattista Masci

This pianella, dated 1907, is on a house in the countryside located on Via San Pietro. In this year, Guglielmo Marconi initiates commercial trans-Atlantic radio communications, between his high power longwave wireless telegraphy stations in Clifden, Ireland and Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. In this year were born actors Cesar Romero, Robert Young, Katherine Hepburn, Lawrence Oliver, John Wayne, and Fay Wray, as well as artist Frida Kahlo, and science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein.


Via Roma, 40 just outside Casperia's historic centre

This pianella, dated 1909, is on a building outside of Casperia's historic centre at Via Roma 40. In the year this date marker was created: Colombia recognises the independence of Panama. The NAACP: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is founded in New York. In April of this year between 15,000–30,000 Armenian Christians were killed by Ottoman Turks in the Adana massacre. In the same month, Joan of Arc is beatified in Rome. In May, the first Giro d'Italia bicycle race is held. On July 25, Louis Blériot is the first man to fly across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air craft. In August, the world's first military airplane, a Wright Military Flyer, is purchased by the United States Army Signal Corp Division. Also in this year, the legendary Montreal Canadiens professional ice hockey club is founded in Canada and the polio virus is discovered. 

U.S politician Barry Goldwater, actors James Mason, Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., American musician Benny Goodman, singer Burl Ives, cartoonist Al Capp, director Elia Kazan, Austrian auto designer Ferdinand Anton Ernst Porsche and Italian road racing cyclist Vasco Bergamaschi were all born in 1909. In the same year Apache leader Geronimo and Sioux Warrior Red Cloud passed away.


On the Colle Flaviano Casa Vacanze at Via Santa Maria, 26, courtesy of Lorenzo Capanna

Here is a pianella dated 1919 located on the stone wall of the Colle Flaviano Casa Vacanze at Via Santa Maria, 26. In 1919, World War I finally ends, the Spanish flu epidemic rages, the League of Nations is founded, and in Boston, 21 people are killed and 150 people injured in the Great Molasses Flood when a wave of molasses, released from an exploding storage tank, sweeps through the city. 

In 1919 were born Giulio Andreotti, actors Jack Palance, Jennifer Jones, Donald Pleasance and Martin Balsam, singing legend Nat King Cole, Maria Eva "Evita" Duarte de Peròn, Liberace, author Doris Lessing, mountaineer and explorer Sir Edmund Hillary, Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlavi, Alabama Governor George Wallace, and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. 

Notable deaths for this year include those of US President Theodore Roosevelt, Canadian Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier, business magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and Pierre Auguste Renoir.


Piazza San Giovanni Battista, 9 - 16 Marzo 1921

This restoration marker, dated 6 March 1921, is located in the heart of Casperia's historic centre at Piazza Giovanni Battista, 9. In this year, the Italian communist party is founded in Livorno. In the same year the National Fascist Party is founded in Italy.  In 1921, the Irish War of Independence comes to a halt and the Province of Northern Ireland is established in the United Kingdom and the Anglo-Irish Treaty established the Irish Free State. The Communist Party of China is founded. In the same year that the world's first fast food chain is established with the opening of Whitecastle Hamburger Restaurant in Wichita, Kansas an estimated five million people die of starvation in Russia's Povolzhye famine. 

In 1921 were born entertainers Carol Channing, Steve Allen and Betty Hutton, actors Abe Vigoda, Dirk Bogarde, Donna Reed, Lana Turner, Jane Russell, Deborah Kerr, James Whitmore, Charles Bronson, Brian Keith and Richard Egan, boxing legend Sugar Ray Robinson,  swimmer Esther Williams, nuclear physicist, dissident and activist Andrei Sakharov, astronaut John Glenn, author Alex Haley, Indonesian President Suharto, Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Nancy Reagan, screenwriter and original Star Trek series creator Gene Roddenberry. Italian opera legend Enrico Caruso passed away that year.


Via Casperia, 4  Advertising for an osteria or cantina from 1927 VINO L2 / Litro (2 lire a litre)

This is not a proper pianella. It is actually a store sign dating from 1927 advertising that the cantina around the corner behind the sign near Via Casperia, 4 sold a litre of wine for 2 Lire! Wow, have wine prices ever changed! 
In 1927, the year in which our planet's population reached two billion, Fritz Lang's futuristic masterpiece "Metropolis" is released in Germany, the carving of the images on Mount Rushmore begins, the Chinese Communist People's Liberation Army is established, the first trans-Atlantic telephone call is made between New York and London via radio. 

In 1927, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, and Coretta Scott King, actors Peter Falk, Roger Moore, Janet Leigh and Gina Lollobrigida are born. Also, reputed ax murderer Lizzie Borden died in this year.


Via Mazzini, 18

This too is obviously not a proper pianella but it is obviously a restoration date marker from 1928 located at Via Mazzini, 18. This was the year my parents were born... my dad in London, Ontario and my mother in Morell, Kings County, Prince Edward Island, Canada. In this same year Mussolini escapes death in a bombing assassination attack in Milan which kills 17 bystanders. In the United Kingdom, the voting age for women is reduced from 30 to 21, the same age as men. Scotsman, Sir Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin. 

In 1928, births of note include those of hockey great Gordie Howe, Maya Angelou, Shirley Temple, Che Guevara, director Stanley Kubrick, Batman actor Adam West, Elie Wiesel, and Noam Chomsky. Arctic explorer Roald Amundsen died in this year.


1935 - Abandoned house on the north side of the street of Via Roma in Paranzano

I find it very sad but the Sabine countryside is dotted with abandoned farm houses, many of them very beautiful, picturesque houses which, if I had the money, I would love to restore back to their former glory. One of them is this one on the north side of the Via Romana in Paranzano, just a stone's throw away from the leaning tower of stone which is an ancient Roman funerary monument. I don't know how old the house is, but it was restored in 1935 and the owners thought it important to add, not one, but two restoration date markers, one with the Latin inscription: Adiuncta Accessio Aedibus A(nno) D (omini) MCMXXXV, which as far as I can tell, translates: The addition of an accessory house, in the year of our Lord, 1935. From the outside, the house looks sturdy, solid... but some decades after it was restored—I am not sure when—the house was abandoned. At the time it was restored, there was a lot going on in Italy and the outside world. In 1935, Italy joined its two North African colonies of Tripoli and Cyrenaica as Libya. Amelia Earhart becomes the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California. The first canned beer is sold in Richmond, Virginia. Cartoon character Porky Pig makes his debut.  

In 1935 a number of notable people were born including Elvis Presley, Sonny Bono, actor Dudley Moore, the "world's humblest head of state" Uruguayan president José Alberto "Pepe" Mujica y Cordano, H.H. Tenzin Gyatzo the 14th Dalai Lama, Canadian actor Donald Sutherland, "Papa" John Phillips, Julie Andrews, opera legend Luciano Pavarotti, H.M. King Hussein of Jordan, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, actors Woody Allen and Lee Remick. 

Significant deaths for 1935 include those of German physician and sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld and actor Will Rogers.


Proprietà Forani on Via Meleta below Casperia, courtesy of Lorenzo Capanna

This is the only pianella that I have found here in Casperia which comes from the war years. 1944 is a major turning point in WWII. The year before, Allied forces had invaded Sicily and slowly begin pushing German and Italian forces north. On January 17th the Battle of Monte Cassino begins. Bogged down at the Gothic Line, Allied forces land troops on January 22 at beachheads near Anzio in an attempt to draw away German forces from the defence of Monte Cassino. On January 27 the two year siege of Leningrad is lifted. Here in Sabina, on April 7, two German divisions supported by a battalion of Fascist Black Shirts attempt to dislodge of a group of about 300 partisans commanding the heights of Monte Tancia. Though the Germans and Fascists eventually take the summit after a full day of very hard fighting the heavily outnumbered partisans were able to inflict terrible losses on their enemy. Infuriated at their losses, the victorious Nazis and their Fascist allies burn the huts scattered on the mountain and massacre all the civilians they find on the massif: eight women aged 19 to 66; four old men from 70 to 78 years and seven children from 2 to 11 years. The Nazi’s forbid the bodies to be buried in consecrated ground. Six days later, on April 13th, eight allied prisoners who had escaped with their lives from an unmarked prison transport train bombed by the allies when their train was crossing the Allerona bridge near Orvieto in January are discovered taking refuge in a hermitage on Monte San Benedetto above the town of Montebuono are discovered by German military police tasked with rounding up deserters from the Italian army, partisans and escaped prisoners of war. The eight Americans were roused from their sleep, taken outside, lined up against a wall and shot dead. By June 5, Rome is captured by the Allies. A day later, British, Canadian, Polish and US forces cross the Channel to invade Normandy on D-Day.
By June 10, the Allies had almost reached Poggio Mirteto. A German motor-car passes through the deserted streets announcing the withdrawal of the German army and inviting the population to take their abandoned foodstuffs. People are hungry and go out into the open but it is a trap. The retreating Nazis attack the starving citizens with mortar fire. 
The following day, further north in Cottanello, a miracle happens. A strategic bridge located directly below a much revered holy site, the Hermitage of San Cataldo on the road connecting Cottanello with the Rieti Valley has been mined by the retreating Germans. The townspeople, fearful that the explosion would destroy not only the bridge but also the holy site above it, are on their knees. There is an explosion around half past three in the afternoon… The bridge and the Hermitage disappear in a cloud of smoke. When the smoke clears, the hermitage still stands. The explosion destroys, however, a renaissance era fresco inside the hermitage revealing spectacular Byzantine style frescos: Christ surrounded by his apostles, and the Tau cross of St. Francis on his right knee.
On June 17, Iceland declares full independence from Denmark.
On August 4, a Dutch informer betrays to the Gestapo Jewish diarist Anne Frank, her family, and others who had taken refuge in a concealed room in Amsterdam. All will die in the Holocaust, except for Otto Frank, Anne's father. From August 5 to August 12, in an attempt to crush the Warsaw Uprising, Nazi troops supported by Russian collaborators, systematically kill 40,000 to 50,000 Polish civilians in the suburb of Wola. On August 12, Allied forces capture Firenze. 
On the 25th, German General Dietrich von Choltitz surrenders Paris to the Allies in defiance of Hitler’s orders to destroy it. On October 2, Nazi troops end the Warsaw uprising and then work to raze what remains of the already much damaged city. Across the ocean, on October 12, Canadian Arctic explorer Henry Larsen returns to Vancouver, becoming the first person successfully to navigate the Northwest Passage in both directions in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police schooner St. Roch. On October 21, Aachen becomes the first German city to be occupied by allied forces. On November 9, British troops occupy Forli, home town of Il Duce. On December 31, Hungary, formerly an Axis ally, declares war on Germany.

A number of notable people are born in 1944 including African-American boxer Joe Frazier, American actress and singer Diana Ross, Welsh actor John Rhys-Davies, American lawyer and former FBI Director, Robert Mueller and American actor, film producer and director, Danny DeVito.

Deaths of historic note in 1944 include those of French writer and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Princess Mafalda of Savoy. German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel.




This date marker is on a fountain located in the hamlet of San Vito. There is a lot happening in in the world in 1948: The Constitution of the Italian Republic goes into effect. The first Kinsey Report, Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male, is published in the United States. Indian pacifist and leader Mahatma Gandhi is shot by Nathuram Godse in New Delhi. On Saint Patrick’s Day, the Hells Angels motorcycle gang is founded in California. On April 7, The World Health Organization is established by the United Nations. Later in the month The Organization of American States (OAS) is founded. On May 14, the State of Israel declares independence with David Ben-Gurion the first prime minister. In May, Egypt, Transjordan, Syria and Iraq invade Israel. The same month South Africa ushers in the era of apartheid which will last until 1994. In June, Albert I, the first monkey astronaut, is launched into space from White Sands, New Mexico. The same month tensions rise between the Soviet Union and the Western Powers with Russia’s blockade of Berlin. The West counters with the Berlin Airlift. On July 26, President Truman signs Executive Order 9981, ending racial segregation in the United States Armed Forces. In December, President José Figueres Ferrer abolishes the army in Costa Rica, making it the first country in history to do so. The same month, The United Nations General Assembly adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Births of historic significance in 1948 include those of: Singers Alice Cooper,  Grace Jones, Cat Stevens, Ozzy Osbourne and Donna Summer; Pakistani Qawwali sensation Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; actors Bernadette Peters, Billy Crystal, Jeremy Irons and Gérard Depardieu; Canadian hockey legend Bobby Orr; 45th Vice President of the United States and environmental activist Al Gore, Italian comedian, actor, blogger, and founder of the 5 Star Movement, Beppe Grillo; American speculative fiction author George R. R. Martin; and Charles, Prince of Wales. 

Deaths of historic significance in 1948 include those of: Indian independence movement leader Mahatma Gandhi; American baseball legend Babe Ruth; First Lady of the United States Edith Roosevelt; and 40th Prime Minister of Japan, General Hideki Tojo.


One of two date markers on a Marian shrine on Via Santa Maria.

This is one of two restoration date markers on a Marian shrine on the east side of the road that leads from Casperia to Santa Maria Legarano. In 1955, the year this date marker was added to the shrine, there is a lot happening out in the bigger world. Small but significant steps in the march toward the goal of racial equality are being made in the US; whereas in South Africa, apartheid is being entrenched. On January 7, Marian Anderson becomes the first African-American singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Meanwhile in South Africa, 60,000 non-white residents of the Sophiatown suburb of Johannesburg are forcibly evicted.
Claudette Colvin
On March 2, in Montgomery, Alabama, Claudette Colvin, a 15-year-old African-American girl, refuses to give up her bus seat to a white woman after the driver demands it. She is carried off the bus backwards, while being kicked, handcuffed and harassed on the way to the police station. She becomes a plaintiff in 
Browder v. Gayle (1956) which rules bus segregation to be unconstitutional. On November 5, Racial segregation is outlawed on trains and buses in interstate commerce in the United States. The following month, again in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refuses to obey bus driver James F. Blake's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger, and is arrested, leading to the Montgomery bus boycott. 
The same year, the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine, puts to sea for the first time and the United States announces a plan to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), armed with nuclear weapons but it a Soviet Navy Zulu-class submarine that first launches a ballistic missile. The same year, eight Communist Bloc countries, including the Soviet Union, sign a mutual defence treaty in Warsaw, Poland launching the Warsaw Pact.
In entertainment news, a young Jim Henson introduces his earliest version of Kermit the Frog in the premiere of his puppet show Sam and Friends, the Disneyland theme park opens in Anaheim, California. 
On September 30, actor James Dean is killed in a car accident near Cholame, California. His last film, Rebel Without a Cause, is released in the United States a month after his death. Also in October, The Mickey Mouse Club debuts on American television. 
The same year, the Vietnam War breaks out between the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Republic of Vietnam. Meanwhile, back in America, the world’s first McDonald’s is opened in Des Plaines, Illinois.
Births of historic significance in 1955 include those of actors Kevin Costner, Bruce Willis, Chow Yun-fat, Sandra Bernhardt, and Whoopi Goldberg; music artists Eddie Van Halen, Nina Hagen, Pino Daniele, Zucchero Fornaciari, pianist Ludovico Einaudi, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and rocker Billy Idol; novelists John Grisham and Colm Tóibín; American travel author and TV personality Rick Steves; American science presenter and public television host Bill Nye, and two giants of the world of internet business, Apple founder Steve Jobs and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Deaths of historical significance in 1955 include those of American writer and lecturer Dale Carnegie, renowned scientists Sir Alexander Fleming and Albert Einstein, and fruit-topped Portuguese-born Brazilian singing sensation Carmen Miranda.


Date marker in wet cement at Via Sabo, 20

Here again, this is not an actual pianella, but a date written in concrete at the bottom of some stairs leading to Via Sabo, 20. 1958 is an important year for Europe and the world as it is the year in which the European Economic Community (EEC) comes into being. Its six founding members are Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany. 1958 is a year of a number of firsts. In 1958, Ruth Carol Taylor becomes the first African American woman to be hired as a flight attendant and flies six months with Mohawk Airlines until they let her go due to another discriminatory barrier: the airline's ban on married flight attendants. The same year, Pioneer 1 becomes the first spacecraft launched by the newly formed NASA; British Overseas Airways Corporation uses the new De Havilland Comet jets, to become the first airline to fly jet passenger services across the Atlantic; and a Pan American World Airways Boeing 707 makes its first transatlantic flight. Tallies reveal that, in 1958, the total of passengers carried by air exceeds the total carried by sea in transatlantic service. It is also the year that the plastic hula hoop is first marketed in the United States and instant noodles go on sale for the first time. 1958 is the year in which Godtfred Kirk Christiansen files a patent for the iconic plastic Lego brick.

From its foundation, his company will make 400 billion Lego elements. In 1958: the peace symbol, commissioned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, is designed and completed by Gerald Holtom; Nikita Khrushchev becomes Premier of the Soviet Union; France establishes the Fifth Republic; Pope Pius dies and is succeeded by Pope John XXIII (who trained in a seminary in neighbouring Roccantica). Also, in this year, the Great Chinese Famine begins; Fidel Castro claims victory in the fight to overthrow US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista; the Bossa Nova is born in Rio de Janeiro; and the Jim Henson Company is founded in the United States. Births of historic or cultural significance in 1958 include those of musical stars: Anita Baker, Andy Gibb, Gary Numan, Prince, Kate Bush, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Tanya Tucker, Alan Jackson and tenor opera sensation Andrea Bocelli; TV and film stars: Ellen DeGeneres, Sharon Stone, Gary Oldman, Alec Baldwin, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kevin Bacon, Viggo Mortensen and Jamie Lee Curtis; American artist and activist Keith Haring; Canadian athlete and cancer activist Terry Fox and American film director Tim Burton. Deaths of historic or cultural significance in 1958 include those of: Pope Pius XII; American studio executive Harry Warner; Scottish-born Canadian poet Robert W. Service, American actor Tyrone Power; and Italian anarchist, trade union organizer, writer, and anti-fascist fighter Alberto Meschi. 


A date marker in the cement sidewalk in front of Via Guglielmo Marconi, 75


This is obviously not a proper terracotta pianella, but it is a date marker etched into wet cement in front of a small commercial building on Via Guglielmo Marconi marked December 11, 1967. There was a lot going on in the world in 1967. In theUnited States, the increasingly unpopular Vietnam War is causing social upheaval and giving birth to a growing anti-war movement. In the Middle East, growing tension between Israel and its Arab neighbours is about to erupt in the Six Day War. In Africa, the Igbo people of southeast Nigeria declare independence from Nigeria and establish the Republic of Biafra which is immediately attacked by Nigeria. During

two-and-a-half years of war, almost two million Biafran civilians, three quarters of whom were small children, died from starvation caused by the total blockade of the region by the Nigerian government.

On January 1, Canada begins a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. Expo 67 held in Montréal, Québec, Canada's main celebration during its centennial year is considered to be the most successful World's Fair of the 20th century. On January 14, the Human Be-In takes place in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco; setting the stage for the Summer of Love. On January 15, Louis Leakey announces the discovery of pre-human fossils in Kenya; he names the species Kenyapithecus africanus.

On January 27, U.S. astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee are killed when fire breaks out in their Apollo 1 spacecraft during a launch pad test. The same month, the United States, Soviet Union and United Kingdom sign the Outer Space Treaty, prohibiting weapons of mass destruction from space. On February 13, American researchers discover the Madrid Codices by Leonardo da Vinci in the National Library of Spain. On March 11, the first phase of the Cambodian Civil War begins between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge. 

On March 26, 10,000 gather in New York City for the Central Park be-in. On April 4, Martin Luther King Jr. denounces the Vietnam War during his sermon at the Riverside Church in New York City. On April 15, large demonstrations are held against the Vietnam War in New York City and San Francisco. The march, organized by the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, from Central Park to the United Nations, drew hundreds of thousands of people, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Harry Belafonte, James Bevel, and Dr. Benjamin Spock, who marched and spoke at the event.  On April 28, in Houston, Texas, boxer Muhammad Ali refuses military service. He is stripped of his boxing title and barred from professional boxing for the next three years. On May 11, the United Kingdom and Ireland apply officially for European Economic Community membership. On May 23, Egypt closes the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, blockading Israel's southern port of Eilat, and Israel's entire Red Sea coastline.     

Two weeks later, on June 5, the Six Day War begins. Israel launches Operation Focus, an attack on Egyptian Air Force airfields; the allied armies of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan invade Israel. On June 7, Israeli forces capture East Jerusalem without the use of artillery in order to avoid damage to the Holy City. The war ends on June 10 when Israel and Syria agree to a United Nations-mediated cease-fire. On June 12, in the case of Loving vs. Virginia, the United States Supreme Court declares all U.S. state laws prohibiting interracial marriage to be unconstitutional. On July 4, the British Parliament decriminalizes homosexuality. On July 6, in response to the declaration of Biafran independence on May 30th, Nigerian forces invade the secessionist Biafra.
On July 24, during an official state visit to Canada, French President Charles de Gaulle declares to a crowd of over 100,000 in Montreal: Vive le Québec libre! On August 8, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is founded in Bangkok, Thailand. On September 3, at 05:00 local time, all road traffic in Sweden switches from left-hand traffic pattern to right-hand traffic. On October 8, guerrilla leader Che Guevara and his men are captured in Bolivia; they are executed the following day. On October 17, the musical Hair opens off-Broadway. It moves to Broadway the following April. On December 11, supersonic airliner Concorde is unveiled in Toulouse, France. On December 12, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, one of the seminal race relations films of the 1960s, is released to theatres.

1967 was a year of a number of historically important firsts. On January 12, Dr. James Bedford becomes the first person to be cryonically preserved with the intent of future resuscitation. On April 9, the first Boeing 737 takes its maiden flight. On May 27, Australia takes its first step in recognizing Indigenous rights when the Australian referendum of 1967 passes with an overwhelming 90% support, removing, from the Australian Constitution, two discriminatory sentences referring to Indigenous Australians. On June 13, Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall is nominated as the first African American justice of the United States Supreme Court. He is confirmed on August 30. On June 17, the People's Republic of China tests its first hydrogen bomb. On June 27, the first automatic cash machine (voucher-based) is installed, in the office of Barclays Bank in Enfield, England. On November 7, Carl B. Stokes is elected mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, becoming the first African American elected mayor of a major United States city. On December 3, Christiaan Barnard carries out the world's first heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. Also in 1967, St Christopher's Hospice, the world's first purpose-built secular hospice specialising in palliative care of the terminally ill, is established in South London.


Births of historic note from 1967 include those of: American television journalist, Anderson Cooper;

British-born Indian-American Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winning author and essayist, Jhumpa Lahiri; American gothic/horror author, Poppy Z. Brite; American R&B singer, Toni Braxton; American singer-songwriter and Nirvana frontman, Kurto Cobain; American country singer, Faith Hill; American country singer, Tim McGraw; Australian country music singer, Keith Urban; American rapper, Vanilla Ice; African-American actress Kimberly Elise; African-American actor and singer, Jamie Foxx; American actor, comedian, and screenwriter Will Ferrell; American actors and film directors, Vin Diesel, and Lieb Schreiber; American Actors: George Eads, Matt LeBlanc, Ron Livingston and Mark Ruffalo; American actresses: Julia Roberts, Kate Walsh; Australian actors: Nicole Kidman, and Guy Pearce; English actor and martial artist, Jason Statham; English actress, Emily Watson; Nigerian-British actor and model, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje; Scottish-American actor and singer John Barrowman; Jimmy Kimmel, American comedian and talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel; and Jamaican-born Canadian 100 metre spring world record holder: Donovan Bailey.

Deaths of historic note from 1967 include those of: Puyi,

Xuāntǒng Dì, the twelfth and final Emperor of the Qing dynasty, China's last imperial dynasty; Argentine communist revolutionary, Che Guevara; American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist, James Mercer Langston Hughes; American-born Parisian avant-garde salon hostess, cookbook author and lifelong partner to Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas; Jack Ruby, American nightclub owner and convicted assassin of Lee Harvey Oswald; American Astronauts: Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee, killed in the Apollo 1 launch pad fire; English playwright, author and diarist, Joe Orton;
Beatles Band Manager, Brian Epstein American singers: Woodie Guthrie, Otis Redding; Italian singer-songwriter, Luigi Tenco;
Totò
 American jazz trumpeter, Red Allen; American singer and actor, Nelson Eddy, American actors: James Dunn, Jayne Mansfield, Spencer Tracy, Robert Wahlberg; British actors: Vivien Leigh, Claude Rains, Basil Rathbone; and Italian actor, Totò.



Via Massari, 35

This date marker, located at Via Massari, 35, is interesting as it includes the name of the person who made itGianni(cola) Marianiand his age, 23 years old.

Giannicola Mariani is famous in Casperia for his 10 year (1992-2002) labour of love, the  Presepe Monumentale, a truly monumental Nativity Scene, in the oratory of Casperia's San Giovanni Battista parish church. The wonderful thing about Giannicola's 1:10 scale Bethlehem, is that it replicates twelve very recognizable scenes from Casperia's historic centre. It is truly a wonderful sight. But back to 1969.

This year, that Gianni worked to repair this section of the wall on Via Massari is, among other things, associated with the Apollo 11 first manned landing on the Moon, the creation of the internet, and the commencement of the LGBT Rights Movement. Early in 1969, Yasser Arafat is elected leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Cairo. In the same year, Golda Meir becomes the first female prime minister of Israel. In 1969, the first Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet takes to the air, while across the Atlantic, France conducts its first test flight of the Concorde jet. On May 15, a sixteen year-old African American, Robert Rayford, dies in St. Louis, Missouri of a baffling medical condition. In 1984 it will be identified as the earliest confirmed case of HIV/AIDS in North America. In this year, John Lennon composes and records the song Give Peace a Chance during his and Yoko Ono’s second Bed-In in Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel.
On June 22, Judy Garland dies of a drug overdose in her London home. A week later, on June 28, the Stonewall Riots in New York City mark the start of the modern gay Rights movement in the U.S. On July 1, Charles is invested Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle. On July 16, Apollo 11 lifts off from Cape Kennedy in Florida towards the first manned landing on the Moon on July 20. An estimated 500 million people worldwide watch as Neil Armstrong takes his first historic steps on the lunar surface. Back on earth, Pope Paul VI arrives in Entebbe, Uganda for the first visit by a reigning Pope to Africa.  Sectarian violence erupts in Northern Ireland. British troops are deployed there to restore order. From August 15 to 18 the Woodstock Festival is held near White Lake, New York, featuring some of the top rock musicians of the era. On September 1, Muammar Gaddafi comes to power in Libya in a bloodless coup which ousts the Libyan monarchy. The same day, North Vietnamese president Ho Chi Minh passes away at the age of 79. On September 5, Lieutenant William Calley is charged with six counts of premeditated murder for the 1968 My Lai Massacre deaths of 109 Vietnamese civilians in My Lai, Vietnam. Later in the year the US launches its first draft letter since WWII. 1969 marks the years The Brady Bunch is first aired on ABC, Monty Python’s Flying Circus is first aired on BBC One, Sazae-san サザエさん is first aired on Japan’s Fuji Television and Sesame Street is first aired on the NET network. Births of historic note from 1969 include those of actors Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Renée Zellweger, Cate Blanchett, Anne Heche, Jason Priestley, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Gerald Butler; musical artists Marilyn Manson, Mariah Carey and Gwen Stefani;  professional mixed martial artist and actor Dave Bautista, conservative American writer and publisher Andrew Breitbart and British fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Deaths of historical significance from 1969 included those of actors Boris Karloff, Jeffrey Hunter, Robert Taylor, and Sharon Tate; authors John Wyndham and Jack Kerouac, actress and singer Judy Garland; world heavyweight champion boxer Rocky (Marcheggiano) Marciano; Italian lawyer and politician Mario Berlinguer; US President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Vietnamese Communist revolutionary leader and first Prime Minister of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh.


Vicolo degli Archi Oscuri

Via Nardi-Bruschi (opposite 40)

Here are two restoration date markers from 1973. One is located in Vicolo degli Archi Oscuri which connects Via Massari with Piazza Municipio near Via Casperia, and the other is on Via Nardi-Bruschi on the wall opposite No. 40. There is a lot happening in 1973. 
On January 1, The United Kingdom, The Republic of Ireland and Denmark enter the European Economic Community, which later becomes the European Union. Also this month, Richard Nixon is sworn in for a second term as President of the United States. 1973 is a bad year for president Nixon as several major revelations and egregious presidential action against the Watergate Investigation later in 1973 prompted the US House of Representatives to commence an impeachment process against Nixon who eventually is forced to resign in 1974. 1973 was the year of the landmark Roe v. Wade case in which the U.S. Supreme Court overturns state bans on access to abortion. In terms of other ‘landmarks”, 1973 was the year that saw construction of Toronto’s CN Tower, the official dedication of New York’s World Trade Center, Chicago’s Sears Tower becoming the world’s tallest building at 442 metres, Sydney’s iconic Opera House is opened by Elizabeth II after fourteen years of construction, and with the completion of the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey the first time in history that Europe and Asia and connected over the Bosporus. In terms of other firsts, on February 12, Ohio becomes the first U.S. state to post distance in metric on signs. On May 11, Sweden enacts the first national data protection law. Three days later, the United States launches Skylab, its first space station. Also in the same year, Lite Beer is introduced in the U.S. by the Miller Brewing Company.
In 1973, with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords, the US is effectively removed from the conflict in Viet Nam. The war between the north and south continues until 1975 culminating in the reunification of the two Vietnams in 1976. Later in 1973, war breaks out in the Middle East when Egypt and Syria launch a coordinated attack against Israel on Yom Kippur. The war ends after 19 days with an Israeli victory. The 1973 energy crisis is triggered when OPEC imposes an oil embargo against several countries supporting Israel. 
Flag of the American Indian Movement
Back in the Western Hemisphere,  about 200 Oglala Lakota and followers of the American Indian Movement occupy Wounded Knee, South Dakota for 71 days protesting corruption in of local officials and the US government's persistent failures to honour its treaties with Native American nations. Publicity makes the site and action an inspiration to American Indians all over the country. On September 11, Chile's democratically elected government is overthrown in a military coup after serious instability. President Salvador Allende allegedly commits suicide during the coup in the presidential palace, and General Augusto Pinochet heads a US-backed military junta that governs Chile for the next 16 years. 
Also in 1973, The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Births of historic significance in 1973 include those of actors Jim Parsons, Adrien Brody, Tori Spelling, Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Wilson, Seth Meyers and Peter Facinelli; American novelist Stephanie Meyers; musical artist Pharrell Williams; Japanese baseball great Ichiro Suzuki 鈴木一朗; American supermodel and TV host Tyra Banks; American political commentator Rachel Maddow, and Italian right wing politician Matteo Salvini. In 1973 a number of historically important people died including: American president Lyndon B. Johnson, Chilean president Salvador Allende and Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion; renowned authors J.R.R. Tolkien and Pearl S. Buck; poets Pablo Neruda and W. H. Auden; artist Pablo Picasso and cartoonist Walt Kelly; actors Edward G. Robinson, Lex Barker, Betty Grable, Lon Chaney Jr., Jack Hawkins and Italian screen legend Anna Magnani; martial artist and actor Bruce Lee; American film director John Ford; American singer-songwriter Jim Croce; English composer and playwright Sir Noël Coward; and Spanish cellist and conductor Pablo Casals.  



Vicolo dei Claudi, 6  Rest(aurata) A.D. 1975

This decorative restoration marker for the year 1975 is found above a door on Casperia's Vicolo dei Claudi. I would love to know the significance of the crown. 1975 was declared International Women's Year by the United Nations and European Architectural Heritage Year by the Council of Europe. 1975 was the year that Margaret Thatcher was elected leader of the UK Conservative Party becoming Britain’s first female leader of any political party. It is also the year that the the Vietnam war ends with the fall of Saigon on April 30th. Weeks earlier, the Khmer Rouge capture Phnom Penh ending the Cambodian civil war. The Khmer Rouge attempt to turn Cambodia into an Agrarian Socialist Republic forcibly empty the cities and relocating the urban population into rural labour camps. Over the next four years, Cambodia will lose a quarter of its population to mass executions, mistreatment through forced labour, disease and malnutrition. An attack on a bus by Lebanese right wing Christian militias which kill 27 Palestinians triggers a Lebanese Civil War which lasts until 1990. In the South Pacific, Portuguese Timor declares its independence from Portugal as East Timor. Later in the year, Indonesia invades East Timor. The occupation continues until 1999, when U.N. peacekeepers take over control until 2002. In Saudi Arabia, King Faisal is assassinated by his nephew. In Detroit, former Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa is reported missing. In August, the Banqiao Dam, in China's Henan Province, fails after Typhoon Nina flooding 12,000 square kilometres, creating the third largest flood in history. The death toll is estimated to be as many as 240,000. Later in the year Spanish dictator Francisco Franco dies in Madrid, marking the end of the dictatorship established following the Spanish Civil War and the beginning of Spain's transition to democracy.
A couple of very popular TV shows made their debut this year: In the USA, the game show Wheel of Fortune and Saturday Night Live premiere on NBC. In the UK, the comedy sitcom Fawlty Towers airs on BBC Two. Some blockbuster movies are also released in 1975, including Jaws and the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The initially controversial Queen single "Bohemian Rhapsody" is  released this year and later becomes one of their most popular songs. In science news, Bill Gates and Paul Allen found Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico and NASA launches the Viking 1 planetary probe toward Mars. In religious news, Elizabeth Seton is canonized, becoming the first American Roman Catholic saint.
Births if historic interest from 1975 include those of: Matteo Renzi, 56th Prime Minister of Italy; actors Bradley Cooper, Drew Barrymore, Pedro Pascal, Adam Rodriguez, Angelina Jolie, Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron, Casey Affleck, Kate Winslet, Milla Jovovich, Russel Brand, and Italian actress, singer and director Asia Argento; American singer and actress, Fergie; director Richard Kelly; musical artists Enrique Iglesias, Sean Ono Lennon, Canadian crooner Michael Bublé, rapper 50 Cent and Spice Girl, Mel B.; celebrity chef Jamie Oliver; and sports figures David Beckham and Tiger Woods. Deaths of historic interest in 1975 included those of: King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, Kuomintang general, politician and 1st President of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek;
Pasolini
Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis; actors Susan Hayward and Ozzie Nelson; Richard Hollingshead, American inventor of the drive-in theatre; The Twilight Zone tv screenwriter Rod Serling and assassinated Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini.


1976 date marker in concrete in alley connecting Piazza San Giovanni and Via Latini

This is not a proper pianella date marker, it is rather the year 1976 scratched into drying concrete on some steps leading to Via Casperia from Via Latini. 1976 was a year of a number of firsts. On January 21 the first commercial Concorde flight takes off. On June 26, the CN Tower, the tallest free-standing land structure opens to the public in Toronto. On September 13 The Muppet Show is broadcast for the first time on ITV. In the American presidential election, Jimmy Carter defeats incumbent Gerald Ford, becoming the first candidate from the Deep South to win since the Civil War. Also in this year, the first known outbreak of the Ebola virus occurs in Yambuku, Zaire. On January 27 the United States vetoes a United Nations resolution that calls for an independent Palestinian state. This was also the year of the deadliest cable car crash in history when the steel supporting cable of an aerial tramway broke as a fully loaded cable car was descending from Mt. Cermis near the Italian ski resort of Cavalese in the Dolomites. All 44 occupants are killed. The Cavalese tramway will be struck with another disaster in 1998. (See post on 1998 below) In Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, large crowds lay wreaths at Beijing's Monument of the Martyrs to commemorate the death of Premier Zhou Enlai. Poems against the Gang of Four are also displayed, provoking a police crackdown.
The death of Chairman Mao Zedong on September 9 brings the end of an era. A few weeks after Mao’s death the Cultural Revolution in China concludes with the capture of the Gang of Four. The People's Republic of China announces that Hua Guofeng is the successor to Mao Zedong, as Chairman of the Communist Party of China. In Argentina, military forces depose president Isabel Perón establishing the countries last military dictatorship. The dictatorship implements what is called the National Reorganization Process, a set of policies used by the regime to destroy left-wing guerrilla forces and oppress resistance to its rule. Beginning with the so called Night of the Pencils, a series of kidnappings and forced disappearances, followed by the torture, rape, and murder of a number of young students in September 1976, at least 30,000 people disappear in the Dirty War  waged by the military against anyone they deemed a threat to their rule. Also in this year, Palestinian militants and two German allies hijack an Air France plane in Greece with 246 passengers and 12 crew. They take it to Entebbe, Uganda. The stated objective was to free 40 Palestinian and affiliated militants imprisoned in Israel and 13 prisoners in four other countries in exchange for the hostages. Seven days later, Israeli airborne commandos free 103 hostages being held by Palestinian hijackers of an Air France plane at Uganda's Entebbe Airport; One of the Israeli commando officers, Yonatan Netanyahu and 45 Ugandan soldiers, and all of the hijackers are killed in the raid. Still in Africa, 1976 was the year that Star Wars begins filming in Tunisia and the year of the Soweto uprising in the Republic of South Africa. In sports news, 1976 was the year of the Montreal Summer Olympics in Montréal, Canada. 
the Face on Mars
In space exploration news, Viking 1 lander successfully lands on Mars on July 20. On July 31, NASA releases the famous Face on Mars photo, taken by Viking 1. On September 3 The Viking 2 spacecraft lands at Utopia Planitia on Mars, taking the first close-up colour photos of the planet's surface. Perhaps more shocking than that famous photo of Face on Mars was the result of the oenological Judgement of Paris, a blind wine tasting in Paris, France which pits French against California wines. California wines win the contest in both the red and white categories, surprising the wine world and opening the wine industry to newcomers in several countries.

A number of big names in the entertainment world were born in 1976 including actors Freddie Prinze Jr., Corey Stoll, Elliot Cowan, Reese Witherspoon, Colin Farrell, Ryan Hurst, Fred Savage and Adrian Grenier, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sam Worthington, Alexander Skarsgård, Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Kwanten, Dominic Monaghan, Joe Manganiello, and country musical artist Blake Shelton. Deaths of historic note from 1976 include those of Zhou Enlai, 1st Premier of the People's Republic of China and Mao Zedong, Chinese revolutionary and political theorist, Chairman of the Communist Party of China; American business magnate Howard Hughes and American industrialist and founder of Getty Oil, John Paul Getty; actors Lee J. Cobb, Sal Mineo and Rosalind Russell; English detective fiction writer Agathie Christie; American screenwriter and film director Charles Lederer and Italian theatre and film director Luchino Visconti; and musical artists Florence Ballard and Freddie King.

Via Mazzini, 24 

This pianella on Via Mazzini is also decorated with an image of a crown. 1984, the year made famous by George Orwell’s novel, was the year of a number of historical firsts. On February 7, Astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart make the first untethered space walk. Joe Kittinger becomes the first person to fly a gas balloon alone across the Atlantic Ocean departing Caribou Maine on September 14 and arriving in Montenotte, Italy on September 18. On October 5,  Marc Garneau becomes the first Canadian in space, aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. On October 11, Challenger astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan becomes the first American woman to perform a space walk. It was the first year that a TED Conference is held, and also the year in which the first ever Hackers Conference is held. 1984 is also the first year that crack cocaine, a smokeable form of the drug, is introduced into Los Angeles. It soon spreads across the United States in what becomes known as the crack epidemic. 
In sports news, the 1984 Winter Olympics are held in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia from February 8 to 19. From July 28 to August 12, the 1984 Summer Olympics are held in Los Angeles, California. The summer games are boycotted by the Soviet Union and other members of the Soviet bloc in response to the US boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. 
On June 5, the Indian government begins Operation Blue Star, the planned attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar to dislodge Sikh separatist militants led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Five months after the operation, Indira Gandhi is assassinated in New Delhi in an act of revenge by her two Sikh bodyguards. Anti-Sikh riots break out, leaving 8,000 to 17,000 Sikhs dead across India. Rajiv Gandhi succeeds his mother as Prime Minister of India. 1984 marks the year that Liechtenstein becomes the last country in Europe to grant women the right to vote. On September 26, the United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China sign the initial agreement to return Hong Kong to China in 1997. Later, on December 19, the People's Republic of China and United Kingdom sign the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the future of Hong Kong. In this year a devastating famine continues to rage in Ethiopia. From 1983 to 1985 1.2 million people die leaving 200,000 children orphaned. The European Economic Community makes £1.8 million available to help combat the famine in Ethiopia. On November 25, Band Aid (assembled by Bob Geldof) records the charity single Do They Know It's Christmas? in London to raise money to combat the famine in Ethiopia. It is released on December 3. 1984 is the year that American researchers announce the discovery of the AIDS virus. 1984 was the year of the Bhopal disaster, a methyl isocyanate leak from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, that kills more than 8,000 people outright and injures over half a million. The final death toll is 23,000, making it the worst industrial disaster in history.
This was the year that the Tetris game was released, as were the movies Ghostbusters and Gremlins. 1984 was the year that the Canadian entertainment company, Cirque du Soleil is founded. It is also the year that 
Bishop Desmond Tutu wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Births of historical significance in 1984 include those of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex; American internet entrepreneur and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg; North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un;  American survey sampling technique pioneers and inventor of the Gallup poll, George Gallup; authors Truman Capote and Irwin Shaw; actors Luke Grimes, Garrett Hedlund, Harry Stockwell and Jackson Rathbone; actresses and singers Ashlee Simpson and Scarlett Johansson; musical artists Avril Levine and Katy Perry; South African-born comedian, actor and political commentator Trevor Noah; American journalist, blogger and columnist Ezra Klein, and American columnist, author, and TV personality Meghan McCain. Deaths of historic note from 1984 include those of Anna Anderson, Pretender to the Russian throne; Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi; American competition swimmer and actor Johnny Weissmuller; actors Richard Burton, James Mason, Walter Pigeon, Peter Lawford, Jackie Coogan, Richard Basehart, William Powell, Sam Jaffe, Neil Hamilton,  Jack La Rue, Eduardo De Filippo and Carlo Campanini; singers Ethel Merman and Marvin Gaye; musician and composer Count Basie, folk musician and songwriter Steve Goodman; comedian Andy Kaufman, American photographer Ansel Adams; French philosopher Michel Foucault; American public nurse and early AIDS activist Bobbi Campbell; and Baptist pastor, missionary and early American civic rights movement figure Martin Luther King Sr. 


Via Casperia, 24 Restaurata dal proprietario Dott. Prof. Enzo Sapora 1989

This particular pianella, dated 1989, is located high on the wall of a house on Via Casperia. It translates, "Restored by the proprietor, Doctor Professor Enzo Sapora, 1989". This year is a turning point in political history because of the wave of revolutions which sweep the Eastern Bloc in Europe, starting in Poland and Hungary, with experiments in power sharing, coming to a head with the opening of the Berlin Wall in November, and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, and the dramatic overthrow of the communist dictatorship in Romania in December. 1989 was also important in terms of technical advances. The first commercial Internet service providers surface in this year, as well as the first written proposal for the World Wide Web. In other news for this year: On January 7, Japanese Emperor Hirohito dies. His son, Akihito, is immediately enthroned as Japan’s 125th Emperor, followed by the change in the era name from Shōwa 昭和 to Heisei 平成 the next day. Across the Pacific, George H. W. Bush is sworn in as the 41st President of the United States on January 20. On February 11, Barbara Harris becomes the first woman consecrated as a bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and also the first woman to become a bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion. On March 1, after 74 years, Iceland ends its prohibition on beer; celebrated since as bjórdagur or beer day.
On April 15,  the death of pro-reform Communist general secretary Hu Yaobang sparks the beginning of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests which last until their bloody suppression in  early June. On May 17, the 10 metre high Goddess of Democracy 自由女神 statue is unveiled in Tiananmen Square. After months of indecision, the Chinese government eventually decides to crack down hard on the demonstrators and clear the square on June 4. The following day, an unknown protestor stands in front of a column of military tanks on Chang'an Avenue in Beijing, temporarily halting them, an incident which achieves iconic status internationally through images taken by Western photographers. On July 20, Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is placed under house arrest. She is finally released in 2010. On October 1, Civil unions between partners in a same-sex relationship become legal in Denmark under a law enacted on June 7, the world's first such legislation. On October 5, HH The Dalai Lama wins the Nobel Peace Prize. On October 17, the 6.9 Mw Loma Prieta earthquake shakes the San Francisco Bay Area and the Central Coast with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent). Sixty-three people are killed. On December 6, fourteen young women are shot dead at the École Polytechnique de Montréal by anti-feminist gunman Marc Lépine. Another ten women and four men were injured in the attack, the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history at that time. Also in 1989, the first Al-Qaeda-related cell in the United States begins operation in New York City.
1989 births of historic interest include those of American politician and activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; South African AIDS awareness campaigner Nkosi Johnson (d. 2001); American pop and country singer-songwriter and record producer Taylor Swift; American actresses Hayden Panettiere and Scout Taylor-Compton; British actors Daniel Radcliffe, and Matthew Lewis; and champion Canadian ice dancer, Tessa Virtue. 

Deaths of historic interest for 1989 include those of Japanese Emperor Hirohito (Showa); Iranian revolutionary, Shia Muslim religious leader and 1st Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini; Filipino dictator and 10th President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos; Romanian dictator and Communist Party head, Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife, Elena Ceaușescu (both executed); Spanish artist Salvador Dalí; American activist, artist, and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe; Soviet physicist, activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Andrei Sakharov; American actress, comedian, and entertainer Lucille Ball, American actor and director George O’Hanlon; English stage and screen actor and director, Sir Laurence Olivier, Italian actor and dubber Corrado Gaipa, Italian actresses Paola Barbara and Silvana Mangano, American actors Bette Davis, Roland Winters (Charlie Chan), Cornel Wilde, John Payne, Jock Mahoney, Lee Van Cleef, British actors Sir Anthony Quayle and Brian Coburn; American voice actor and radio personality Mel Blanc; American composer Irving Berlin; Italian film director Sergio Leone; British actor, musician, political activist and composer of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”, Ewan MacColl; American soldier, singer-songwriter and composer of "The Green Berets", Barry Sadler; Japanese Enka sensation Misora Hibari 美空ひばり; American writer Irving Stone; Italian writer Leonardo Sciascia; American professional boxer Sugar Ray Robinson; and American cartoonist, C. C. Beck.


 Madoninna at the intersection of Via Fonte Varoni and Via Molelle

This date marker is on a small roadside shrine located out in the country at the intersection of Via Fonte Varoni and Via Molelle. 1990 was a year or important political shifts and changes to the world map. In this year, East and West Germany were united, as well as North and South Yemen. In this year the Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania declare their independence from the Soviet Union and Namibia gains its independence from the Republic of South Africa. In Yugoslavia, separatist governments are elected in Slovenia and Croatia leading to the bloody dissolution of that country the following year. In 1990, Iran invades Kuwait, leading to the Gulf War of 1991, Nelson Mandela is 

released from prison in South Africa which also starts to dismantle apartheid era racial segregation in public facilities, Margaret Thatcher resigns as U.K. prime minister, J.K. Rowling begins writing Harry Potter, the first internet web page is written, Ireland gets its first female president and Mikhail Gorbachev wins the Nobel Peace Prize. Births of historic note in 1990 include those of Australian actor Liam Hemsworth; British actors: Emma Watson and Dev Patel; American actresses Kristen Stewart and Jennifer Lawrence; Swedish actor Bill Skarsgård; and champion figure skaters: Yuna Kim (South Korea), Mao Asada (Japan), and Patrick Chan (Canada). Deaths of historic note from 1990 include those of: Indian mystic Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh; American publisher Malcolm Forbes; American civil rights activist Ralph Abernathy; American AIDS activist Ryan White; American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein; American pop artist Keith Haring; puppeteer, Muppets creator and filmmaker Jim Henson; African-American singer and actress Pearl Bailey; American actor, dancer, and singer Sammy Davis Jr.;  American actors: Alan Hale Jr, Arthur Kennedy, Barbara Stanwyck, Ava Gardner, Gary Merrill, Paulette Goddard, Jack Gilford, Howard Duff, Eve Arden, David White, and Robert Cummings; English actor and comedian Terry-Thomas; British actors: gordon Jackson, Rex Harrison, and Margaret Lockwood; Italian actors: Aldo Fabrizi and Ugo Tognazzi; and Swedish-American actress Greta Garbo.


Via Tito Tazio, 47 Rest. A. D. 1991

1991 was the year that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics dissolved leaving fifteen sovereign republics and the Commonwealth of Independent States in its place. It is also the year that South African Apartheid is ended. In 1991, the Cold War, which had its beginning in 1947, finally ends. Elsewhere in the world, various wars continue to rage. The Gulf War erupts when Iraq, which invaded and annexed Kuwait the previous year, is attacked by a 34 nation U.N. authorized coalition. This is also the year the terrible decade-long Yugoslav Wars break out between Serbia and other Yugoslav Republics which results in the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1992. In the Caucasus, the South Osettian Oblast, created in 1922, declares its independence from Georgia. Georgian troops attack the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali, starting the two year South Ossetian War. In the Americas, another civil war rages in El Salvador. In Africa, civil war still rages in Ethiopia, eventually resulting in the independence of Eritrea. Nearby in Somalia, another civil war breaks out with the overthrow of its president. On the west coast of Africa yet another civil war breaks out in Sierra Leone. 

Back in Europe, the Provisional Irish Republican Army launches several attacks in England, including a mortar attack on 10 Downing Street, and bombings at Paddington Station and Victoria Station. In Sriperumbudur, India, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and fourteen others are killed at a public meeting by a suicide bomber. 1991 was also a year of devastating volcanic eruptions. Mount Unzen in Kyushu erupts killing 43 people in a pyroclastic flow. To the south, in the Philippines, Mt. Pinatubo erupts killing 800 people. Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption is the second largest in the 20th century. Worse than the eruption of Mt. Unzen, 1991 is the year that the Japanese asset price bubble bursts sending the Japanese economy into a period of stagnation. On November 24, Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury dies in London from AIDS related pneumonia.

Otzi
 South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology
Meanwhile, high in the Ötztal Alps on the border between Italy and Austria, the mummified remains of Ötzi, a murdered hunter, are found more than 5000 years after his death. Births of historic note from 1991 include that of: English singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer, and actor, Ed Sheeran. Deaths of historic note for 1991 include those of: India’s 6th Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi; Japanese engineer and industrialist, Soichiro Honda; Gestapo “Butcher of Lyon”, and later American-recruited anti-Marxist operative, Klaus Barbie; American singer, comedian, and actor Danny Thomas; American dancer and choreographer, Martha Graham; American jazz saxophonist, Stan Getz; American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer, Miles Davis; French singer Serge Gainsbourg; Italian-born American film director, Frank Capra; Star Trek and Star Trek the Next Generation series creator and American TV producer, Gene Roddenberry; American film and television producer and creator or the Lost In Space, The Time Tunnel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Land of the Giants series’ creator, Irwin Allen; American children’s author, Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss; Queen lead singer and pianist, Freddie Mercury; and Finnish homoerotic artist, Touko Valio Laaksonen, a.k.a. Tom of Finland; American actors: Brad Davis, Redd Foxx, James Franciscus, John Hoyt, Michael Landon, and Fred MacMurray; American actresses: Jean Arthur, Joan Caulfield, Lee Remick and Gene Tierney; and Italian actor Walter Chiari. Also in 1991, Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi wins the Nobel Peace Prize.



There is a second restauration marker on Madonnina on Via Santa Maria dated the 20th of September, 1993. 1993 is a year of a number of changes to the world map. On January 1, Czechoslovakia ceases to exist as a country and is replaced by the Czech Republic and Slovakia in the so-called Velvet Divorce. On May 24, Eritrea gains its independence from Ethiopia. Meanwhile, in Europe the European Economic Community eliminates trade barriers and creates a European single market. Later, on November 1, the Maastricht Treaty takes effect, formally establishing the European Union. In the former Yugoslavia, the Bosnian War continues to rage with ethnic Serb and Croat militias doing their best to carve up the multi ethnic Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the midst of this bloody conflict, the enclave of Srebrenica is declared a UN-protected "safe area”. On November 9, Bosnian Croat forces destroy the Stari Most, or Old Bridge of Mostar, by tank fire. Across the Atlantic, in New York City, a van bomb parked below the North Tower of the World Trade Center explodes, killing six and injuring over one thousand.
In Washington, DC, PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin shake hands after signing the Oslo I Peace Accord. Also in this year, Canada, Mexico and the United States sign into law the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the United Nations General Assembly votes unanimously to appoint a U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. 1993 is also th
e year that the blockbuster Jurassic Park is released.

Births of historic or cultural significance for 1993 include those of American singer, songwriter, and actress, Ariana Grande. Deaths of historic or cultural note from 1993 include those of: Italian film director Federico Fellini; Italian automobile manufacturer, Ferruccio Lamborghini; Mexican American civil rights activist Cesar Chavez; Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev; American jazz musician, Dizzy Gillespie; Frank Zappa, American guitarist and composer, Frank Zappa; Léon Theremin, inventor of the theremin; English writer (Lord of the Flies) and Nobel Prize laureate, William Golding; American preacher and author of The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale; actresses Audrey Hepburn, Lillian Gish, Helen Hayes and Myrna Loy; actors Stewart Granger, Raymond Burr, Leon Ames, Vincent Price, River Phoenix, and Bill Bixby. In 1993 Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and South Africans Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize.



Via Garibaldi, 22

1996, the year in which this restoration marker was installed at Via Garibaldi, 22, was a year dominated by the ongoing Iraqi disarmament crisis and a shocking number of deadly commercial airline crashes. 

In this year, a 6.6 Mw earthquake near Lijiang in South-west China kills up to 322 people, injures 17,000, and leaves 300,000 homeless. In Haiti, René Préval succeeds Jean-Bertrand Aristide as President in the first peaceful handover of power since the nation achieved independence in 1804. In Scotland, at the Roslin Institute in Midlothian, Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be successfully cloned from an adult cell, is born.

Kennewick Man Photo -Smithsonian Magazine
At Kennewick, in Washington State, the remains of a man who lived 8,000 to 9,000 years ago are discovered and are named Kennewick Man. Kennewick Man becomes the subject of a controversial nine-year court case between the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), scientists, and Native American tribes who claim ownership of the remains. Also in this year, Osama bin Laden writes "The Declaration of Jihad on the Americans Occupying the Country of the Two Sacred Places," a call for the removal of American military forces from Saudi Arabia. 1996 was the year that Games of Thrones star (Sansa) Sophie Turner was born. 1996 deaths of historic and cultural significance include those of: British paleo-anthropologist, Mary Douglas Leakey; American astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, poet and science communicator, Carl Sagan; American LSD social activist and author Timothy Leary; American jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald and Eddie Harris, American ukulele musician and falsetto singer Tiny Tim; American dancer, choreographer and actor, Gene Kelly; American comedian George Burns; English author and bookseller, Christopher Robin Milne; American humorist and author, Erma Bombeck; Japanese Roman Catholic author, Shūsaku Endō; actresses: Claudette Colbert, Margaux Hemingway, Greer Garson, Dana Hill, Dorothy Lamour, Jean Muir, and Juliet Prowse; and actors: Marcello Mastroianni, Greg Morris and McLean Stevenson.


South side of the tower at Piazza Umberto I, 3 - D.S.F.V. 20.5.1997

In 1997, the Iraq disarmament crisis continues to dominate the news. In 1997, Algeria is at the peak of a brutal civil conflict punctuated by a number of terrible massacres after the Algerian military's cancellation of 1992 elections set to be won by the Islamic Salvation Front. In January of this year, Bill Clinton is sworn in for a second term as President of the United States and appoints Madeleine Albright as the first female Secretary of State.

On March 22, the Comet Hale–Bopp, which became a spectacular sight in the night sky since early 1997, makes its closest approach to Earth. A few days later, in San Diego, thirty-nine members of the Heaven's Gate cult commit mass suicide at their compound with the intention of teleporting to a spaceship which they believed was flying behind the comet. In April, the Pokémon anime debuts in Japan. Later in the year, over 700 Japanese children suffer epileptic attacks due to a Pokemon episode that contained repetitive visual effects. In May’s UK general election, Tony Blair’s Labour Party wins a landslide majority returning Labour to power for the first time in eighteen years. Later in the same month, the 13-kilometre Confederation Bridge, the world's longest bridge spanning ice-covered waters, opens between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, Canada. In June, the UK House of Commons votes for a total ban on handguns. The same month, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is published in London. On July 1, the United Kingdom hands sovereignty of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China. The same month, the remains of Che Guevara, who had been executed in Bolivia in 1967, are returned to Cuba for burial. Also in July, spree killer Andrew Cunanan shoots fashion designer Gianni Versace dead outside Versace’s Miami residence. On August 31, Diana, Princess of Wales, is taken to a hospital after a car accident shortly after midnight in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris. She is pronounced dead at 4:00am.
Princess Diana’s funeral, which takes place in Westminster Abbey on September 6, is watched by over two billion people worldwide. In 1997 both Scotland and Wales vote for a devolved Parliament with the Scottish Parliament forming in Scotland and the National Assembly for Wales forming in Wales. On September 26, two earthquakes: one registering 5.6 and 6.1 on the Richter scale respectively, strike the Italian regions of Umbria and Marche in quick succession, causing part of the Basilica of St. Francis at Assisi to collapse. On October 24, the Toyota Prius, the first hybrid vehicle to go into full production, is unveiled in Japan and goes on sale there on December 9. It comes to U.S. showrooms on July 11, 2000. On December 19, James Cameron’s Titanic premieres in the U.S. Ten days later, on December 29, Hong Kong begins to kill all the chickens within its territory (1.25 million) to stop the spread of a potentially deadly influenza strain., H5N1 avian influenza., which eventually kills six people. The virus was eliminated by killing the entire poultry population of Hong Kong. 1997 was the year in which Pakistani activist and Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai and Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams were born. Deaths of historic note from 1997 include those of: Albanian-born nun, missionary and saint, Mother Theresa; Diana, Princess of Wales; Italian fashion designer, Gianni Versace, and his American serial killer murderer Andrew Cunanan; French French naval officer, explorer, conservationist, and filmmaker, Jacques-Yves Cousteau; Chinese revolutionary and Architect of Modern China, Deng Xiaoping; Emperor of Vietnam, Bảo Đại; American singer-songwriter, John. Denver; singer-lyricist, musician, and Hawaiian sovereignty activist, Israel Kamakawiwoʻole; American Beat poet, Allen Ginsberg; American Beat writer and visual artist, William S. Burroughs; Soviet writer and dissident, Lev Kopelev; Pulitzer Prize-winning American author, James A. Michener; Japanese film director, Juzo Itami; Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune; American actors:  David Doyle (Charlies Angels), Brian Keith, Robert Mitchum, Jimmy Stewart, and Burgess Meredith; and American actor and comedian, Red Skelton.


Restored roadside church in San Vito dated 1998, courtesy of Lorenzo Capanna

This restoration marker, dated 1998, is on the wall of the small Church in the hamlet of San Vito. 1998  is designated the International Year of the Ocean but almost all of the news from this year takes place on dry land. In Iraq, the ongoing Disarmament Crisis finally prompts President Clinton to allow airstrikes against Saddad Hussein’s regime. In Algeria, a civil war continues to rage, punctuated by a large number of horrific massacres. In the former Yugoslavia, the aspirations of ethnic Albanians in the Kosovo region are about to precipitate another bloody Balkan war.

In the Italian alps, on February 3, twenty people are killed in the Cavalese cable car disaster, also known as the Massacre of Cermis, when a United States Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler aircraft, flying too low and against regulations, cuts a cable supporting a gondola of an aerial tramway. In Nagano, Japan, the 1998 Winter Olympics open on February 7 and will close on February 22nd. On February 28, a massacre in Likošan, Kosovo in the former Yugoslavia precipitates the Kosovo War fought between the forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Liberation Army. In the UK, a study led by Andrew Wakefield is published suggesting a link between MMR vaccine and autism.
Now known to be full of data manipulation, the study was instantly controversial and fuelled the nascent anti-vaccination movement resulting, during the following years and decades, in a sharp drop in vaccination rates and the resurgence of measles in several countries. The study, fully retracted in 2010, was later characterised as "perhaps the most damaging medical hoax of the 20th Century”. Back in Japan, the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge linking the island of Shikoku with Honshū and costing about US$3.8 billion, opens to traffic, becoming the largest suspension bridge in the world. On April 10, the Good Friday Agreement is signed between the Irish and British governments resulting in the end of most of the violence of The Troubles in Northern Ireland which had been going on since the late 1960s. On July 17, in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the bodies of Tsar Nicholas II and his family are buried in St. Catherine Chapel, 80 years after he and his family were killed by the Bolsheviks in 1918. On August 4,
the Second Congo War begins; 5.4 million people die before it ends in 2003, making it the bloodiest war, to date, since World War II. In China the Yangtze river floods. The death toll exceeds 12,000, with many thousands more injured. On August 7, the United States embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya are bombed, killing 224 people and injuring over 4,500. The bombings are linked to Osama bin Laden. On September 2, Swissair Flight 111 crashes near Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, after taking off from New York City en route to Geneva. All 229 people on board are killed. On October 10, General Augusto Pinochet, Chilean dictator from 1973 to 1990, is indicted for crimes he committed in Chile. Six days later, British police place him under house arrest during his stay for medical treatment in the UK. On December 19, US President Bill Clinton, accused of lying under oath and obstruction of justice during the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, becomes the second president to be impeached in US history. Also in 1998, two horrific murders ultimately prompt the US Congress to pass a Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
On June 7, James Byrd Jr., a black man, is beaten and dragged to death for almost fi
ve kilometres along an asphalt road behind a pickup truck by three white supremacist men in Jasper, Texas. The murderers dumped what remained of Byrd's body in front of a black church and cemetery in Jasper. Two of the three murderers become the first white men to be sentenced to death for killing a black person in the history of modern Texas.
On October 6, Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student, is beaten and left for dead outside of Laramie, Wyoming. The subsequent media coverage, followed by his death on October 12, opens a larger conversation on homophobia in the United States. The US Congress finally passes theMatthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009. 
Deaths of historic note from 1998 include those of: American pediatrician, author and Olympic Gold Medal winning rower, Dr. Benjamin Spock; American lawyer, feminist activist, and politician, Bella Abzug; Cambodian Khmer Rouge leader and 30th Prime Minister of Democratic Kampuchea, Pol Pot; American moon walking astronaut, Alan Shepard; American anthropologist and author, Carlos Castaneda; and Canadian Haida jewellery
artist, sculptor and carver, Bill Reid; Italian singer/songwriter and composer, Lucio Battisti; American singer and actor, Frank Sinatra; American singer, actor, and politician, Sonny Bono; Austrian rock singer/songwriter and musician (Johann "Hans" Hölzel) Falco; Italian-born French singer-songwriter and author, Nino Ferrer; American singer, songwriter, actor, musician, and rodeo performer, Gene Autry; American singer and actor, Roy Rogers; American country singer, Tammy Wynette; Japanese screenwriter, producer, and director, Akira Kurosawa; Actors: Lloyd Bridges, Jack Lord, E. G. Marshall, Roddy McDowall, and Robert Young; American ventriloquist, puppeteer, children's entertainer, comedian, and television show host, Shari Lewis; and American comedian and actor, Flip Wilson.
 



Porta Reatina's Six Hour Clock restored in 2000.

This interesting Six Hour Clock can be seen on the façade of Casperia's Porta Reatina, the gate facing Rieti. Six hour clocks, which would cycle four times during a day, were common in Italy up until Napoleon invaded and introduced a 12 hour system that cycled twice. You can see MM written at the bottom of the pianella, just below the clock, indicating the year 2000 in Roman numerals.

In 2000, the Second Chechen War, fought between Chechen Islamist separatists and Russia, was in full swing. In this year Russian and pro-Russian Chechen paramilitary forces capture the Chechen capital Grozny and establish direct control over Chechnya, though violent separatist resistance will continue for quite a few years. On January 18, the Tagish Lake meteorite impacts the Earth in northern British Columbia, Canada. On February 13, the final original Peanuts comic strip is published, following the death of its creator, Charles M. Schulz the day prior.  On August 14, Tsar Nicholas II

and his family are canonized by the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. In environmental news, on October 11, 250 million US gallons (950,000 m3) of coal sludge spill in Martin County, Kentucky (considered a greater environmental disaster than the Exxon Valdez oil spill). On October 12, in Aden, Yemen, the USS COLE is badly damaged by two Al-Qaeda suicide bombers, who place a small boat laden with explosives alongside the United States Navy destroyer, killing 17 crew members and wounding at least 39. On November 2, the first resident crew enters the International Space Station. The next day, no winner can be declared in the 2000 US Presidential election, prompting a controversial recount in Florida. On December 12, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the recount of the 2000 presidential election in Florida should be halted and the original results be certified, thus making George W. Bush the winner. On December 15 the third and final reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is shut down and the station is shut down completely. Also in this year, the 2000 Summer Olympics, held in Sydney, Australia, becomes the last Olympic Games of the 20th century. Meanwhile, in India, that country’s population reaches 1 billion. 
Deaths of historic significance during the year 2000 include those of: Bettino Craxi, the 45th Prime Minister of Italy; Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the 15th Prime Minister of Canada; Hafez al-Assad, Ba’ath Party leader and 18th President of Syria; Canadian-American science fiction author, A. E. Van Vogt; American science-fiction and fantasy writer, L. Sprague de Camp; American comic strip artist and Peanuts creator, Charles M. Schultz; American jazz musician, Tito Puente; Israeli singer, actress and Grammy Award-nominee recording artist, Ofra Haza; Austrian actress, Hedy Lamar; Italian actor, director and screenwriter, Victoria Gassman; British actor and theatre director, Sir John Gielgud; English actor and writer, Sir Alec Guinness; American actors Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Walter Matthau; Danish-born American comedian and actor, Victor Borge; American comedian and author, Steve Allen; American bodybuilder and sword and saddle epic actor, Steve Reeves; and NHL Hockey Hall of Fame hockey player for the Montreal Canadiens, Maurice “Rocket” Richard.



This date marker from 2003 is on a wall outside a house on Via Meleta.

This date marker for 2003 is located on charmingly decorated stone retaining wall below a house on a bend of Via Meleta in the valley below Casperia's centro storico. 2003 is designated the International Year of the Fresh Water. In this year, Malta, Slovenia, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Latvia approve joining the European Union in national referendums. In this year Belgium legally recognizes same-sex marriage, becoming the second country in the world to do so. On February 1, disaster 

Crew of STS-107 in orbit
strikes at the end of the STS-107 mission when Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates during reentry over Texas, killing all seven astronauts on board. On February 4, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is renamed to "Serbia and Montenegro" after its constituent states, marking an end to the 73-year-long use of the name “Yugoslavia”. On February 15, an Italian gang steals loose diamonds, gold and jewellery valued at more than $100 million from a vault in Antwerp, Belgian, one of the largest robberies in history. On March 12, the World Health Organization issues a global alert on severe acute respiratory syndrome, SARS, when it spreads to Hong Kong and Vietnam after originating in China. It is finally declared to be contained by the World Health Organization on July 5th. On March 20, U.S. and allied forces invade Iraq. By April 9, U.S. forces seize control of Baghdad, ending Saddam Hussein’s Ba'athist regime. On May 23, Dewey, the first deer cloned by scientists at Texas A&M University, is born. Five days later, Prometea, the world's first cloned horse, is born. On July 18, the Convention on the Future of Europe finishes its work and proposes the first European Constitution. On October 24, the Concorde makes its last commercial flight, bringing the era of airliner supersonic travel to an end. On November 12 in Iraq, a suicide bombing at the Italian military police headquarters in Nasiriyah, kills seventeen Italian military police officers and nine Iraqi civilians. On December 26, an estimated 30,000 people are killed in southeastern Iran by the 6.6 Mw  Bam earthquake.


2003 was the year in which Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was born. Deaths of historic note for 2003 include those of: Italian physician and microbiologist, Carlo Urbani; Canadian Nobel physicist, Bertram Brockhouse; American environmentalist and filmmaker, Timothy Treadwell; The Butcher of Uganda, President Idi Amin; The crew of STS-107, American astronauts: Michael P. Anderson, David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, Rick Husband, and William McCool; American-born Pulitzer Prize winning Canadian novelist and short story writer, Carol Shields; American historical fiction writer, Leon Uris; American record producer American dancer, actor, choreographer and singer, Gregory Hines; American
Nina Simone
 singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist, Nina Simone; Italian opera tenor, Franco Corelli; British musician, singer, songwriter and record producer, Maurice Gibb;  American jazz flautist, Herbie Mann; American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer and composer, Barry White; American singer-songwriter and actor, Johnny Cash; English singer-songwriter, musician and record producer, Robert Palmer; American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader, Benny Carter; Greek-American director, Elia Kazan; American actor, singer, and dancer, Donald O’Connor; English-American comedian and actor, Bob Hope; American actor and comedian, John Ritter; American actor and dancer, Buddy Ebsen; American actor and choreographer, Gene Anthony Ray; American actors: Alan Bates, Charles Bronson, Art Carney, William Scott “Jack" Elam, Hope Lange, Gregory Peck, Penny Singleton, and Robert Stack, English actor,
David Hemmings; German actor, Horst Buchholz; and Italian actor
, singer, composer, comedian, director and screenwriter, Alberto Sordi.




Restoration marker outside Osteria Vigna at Piazza Umberto I, 1

News from 2014, the year that Richard, I and Smokey moved to Casperia from Vancouver, is dominated by the ongoing crisis in Ukraine—which includes the Russian occupation and annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of war between Ukraine and the Russian-dominated breakaway eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, the violent Rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a.k.a. ISIL, and the outbreak of the deadly West African Ebola virus epidemic. 

In February, the West African Ebola virus epidemic begins, infecting at least 28,616 people and killing at least 11,310 people. From February 7 to 23, the XXII Olympic Winter Games, the most expensive Games in the history of the Olympics so far, are held in Sochi, Russia. On March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370—a Boeing 777 airliner en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur—disappears over the Gulf of Thailand with 239 people on board. The aircraft is presumed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean. During an emergency meeting on March 24, the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, and Canada temporarily suspend Russia from the G8 in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea five days after the very controversial Crimean Status Referendum. On March 27, the United Nations General Assembly passes Resolution 68/262, recognizing Crimea within Ukraine's international borders and rejecting the validity of the 2014 Crimean referendum. On April 7, the Donetsk People's Republic unilaterally declares its independence from Ukraine. On April 10, in response to the 2014 Crimean crisis, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passes a resolution to temporarily strip Russia of its voting rights; its rights to be represented in the Bureau of the Assembly, the PACE Presidential Committee, and the PACE Standing Committee; and its right to participate in election-observation missions. On April 14, an estimated 276 girls and women are abducted from a school in Chibok, Nigeria by Boko Haram Islamist militants and held hostage. On April 25, the water source for Flint, Michigan is changed, starting the Flint water crisis.

 


On June 5, a Sunni militant group, calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (a.k.a. ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) begins an offensive through northern Iraq, aiming to capture the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad and overthrow the Shiite government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Seven days later, ISIL kills 1,566 Shia Iraqi Air Force cadets in the Camp Speicher massacre, the second deadliest terrorist attack in history and the deadliest attack conducted by ISIL. The following day, an international military intervention against ISIL begins. By June 29, ISIL declares itself a caliphate. On July 17, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a Boeing 777, crashes in eastern Ukraine after being shot down by a missile launched by pro-Russian Donetsk separatists. All 298 people on board are killed. On August 3, ISIL attacks and captures Sinjar and neighbouring towns during its Northern Iraq offensive resulting in the massacre of over 4,000 Yazidis in Iraq's Sinjar District. The US responds with an air campaign in northern Iraq to stem the influx of ISIL militants. This airstrike campaign is expanded to include several Arab partners. On September 18, in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, a little over 55% of Scottish voters vote against independence from the United Kingdom. On November 2, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases the final part of its Fifth Assessment Report, warning that the world faces "severe, pervasive and irreversible" damage from global emissions of CO2. On November 3, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, One World Trade Center in New York City opens. On November 12, the unmanned Rosetta spacecraft's Philae probe successfully lands on Comet 67P, the first time in history that a spacecraft has landed on such an object. On December 16, the Pakistani Taliban carry out a mass shooting at an army school in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing at least 145 people, mostly schoolchildren. Finally,—and I mean finally—U.S. President Barack Obama announces the resumption of normal diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

Deaths of historic significance from 2014 include those of: Ariel Sharon, 11th Prime Minister of Israel; Eduard Shevardnadze, 2nd President of Georgia; Jean-Claude Duvalier, 41st President of Haiti; American poet and author and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou; American actress, poet, playwright and civil rights activist, Ruby Dee; American singer, songwriter, musician, and activist, Pete Seeger; Colombian Nobel Prize winning author, Gabriel García Márquez; Canadian author and environmentalist, Farley Mowat; Indian yoga teacher and author, B. K. S. Iyengar; Dominican-American fashion designer, Oscar de la Renta; Trinidadian-American actor, dancer, choreographer, singer, director and painter, Geoffrey Holder; American actress, dancer, and diplomat, Shirley

Temple; American actor, singer, and dancer, Mickey Rooney; British actor and film director and producer, Richard Attenborough; American actors: Sid Caesar, James Garner, Russell John, James Shigeta, Eli Wallach, Efrem Zimbalist Jr.; American actresses: Lauren Bacall, Ann B. Davis, and Juanita Moore; Austrian-Swiss actor, Maximilian Schell; British actor, Bob Hoskins; Italian actress, Lorella De Luca; Japanese actor, Takakura Ken; American writer, comedian, actress, and television host, Joan Rivers; American stand-up comedian and actor, Robin Williams; American comedian David Brenner; Italian tenor and actor Carlo Bergonzi; English singer and musician, Joe Cocker O.B.E; and Montreal Canadiens Captain and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, Jean Béliveau.





So there you have it. Over the course of the six years that I have been living here in Casperia I, with the help of various people, have found and catalogued 67 confirmed date markers—most of them terracotta pianelle—two of which have two dates marked on them. This particular post has taken a long time to complete. One of the reasons it has taken so long is that fact that people keep finding me more date markers. Some of these are located in high, hard to see and difficult to photograph places. Some are located on houses, fountains and shrines out in the countryside. Others still are actually not visible to the general public as they are located inside private houses. I am sure that as soon as I publish this post, more people will come forward with other date markers I haven't seen yet. That suites me just fine. The important thing is to locate, photograph and record as many as we can find.   




The other day, I was walking home along Via Rivellini and looked up just before the intersection with Via Massari and noticed this terracotta pianella, high on a wall of a house whose entrance must be off Via Latini. If you stand at the intersection and look up at the wall you can see an inverted terracotta roof tile jutting out of the wall like a drainage spout. The pianella is below and to the left of the inverted roof tile. I believe that this is yet another date marker but my cell phone camera doesn't have a good enough zoom to read what might be on the pianella. I will need to get some binoculars or a camera with a telephoto lens. Better still, it would be great if someone who has a drone with a camera mounted on it would use it to take a close up of it. As far as I can see, straining my eyes and using my imagination, it looks like there might be the letters IHS: Iota, Eta and a Latinized Sigmathe first three letters of Jesus' name in Greek—above a date from the 1700s. Hopefully we can solve this mystery sometime soon. 



Over the next while, I hope to revisit all these date markers and, in better light conditions and with a better camera, take higher quality pictures of them. 




Thanks for taking the time to read this very long post! The next time you visit Casperia, take a wander through the maze of vie and vicoli and see how many pianelle you can find.