Urbino Project 2011

Multimedia Journalism in Italy

Cuisine     Culture     Life     Occupations     Student Life    
On a warm Sunday afternoon pedestrians crowded into the Piazza Repubblica scattered as a small car screeched across the cobblestones, its horn blaring while scruffy students hung from the windows waving flags and screaming slogans. They were the cheering section for one side of a controversial national election that had citizens across the country deciding three volatile propositions: privatizing the water supply, approving nuclear power, and ending the immunity of politicians like President Silvio Burlesconi from prosecution while in office.... Read More

Raphael’s Children

By Grant Bell
The setting sun gleams off Raphael’s face. He stands 14 feet tall in bronze on a huge granite pedestal at the top of Via del Raffaelo, the steepest street in the small Renaissance town of Urbino, his birthplace. World-renowned as one of the most important painters of the Renaissance, he still influences the city and its current artistic culture. Down the cobblestone street in Raphael’s restored childhood home, Elvis Spadoni wears a wrinkled shirt and khakis that complement his shaggy... Read More

Son of a Butcher

By Olivia Gordon
An elderly yet energetic woman backs through the curtain of wooden beads separating Machelleria Ubaldi, a butcher shop, from the sunny afternoon bustle of Via Rafaello near the center of town, still immersed in a loud and lively conversation with someone outside. Ending that exchange with a sharp laugh, she issues a quick buona sera while moving into an equally dynamic conversation with the young man behind the counter. Buying meat in Italy is not a pre-packaged affair.... Read More
As important as food is, most of us know little about where it comes from. A family of organic farmers outside this Renaissance city is trying to change that. “Children think that when you take milk of the cow, it is cold, not hot, because they always take cold milk from the fridge,” says Monserrat Podgornik, the mother of the family. She believes children should understand that when a calf drinks milk, “it has to be hot in the natural way like... Read More
As the priest sets the bread of the Eucharist on Carlos Mascio’s outstretched tongue, the sound of contemporary jazz blares from outside into the ancient walls of the San Francesco Church. It is Friday night and the daily Mass is far from the minds of most of the residents of Urbino. Just outside the church walls, hundreds of people are drinking and dancing as a few faithful Catholics stand in procession to take communion. As Mascio, 23, makes his way back... Read More
Atop a flat plain nestled deep in the rolling hills near this old Roman town, pigs are going wild. It is feeding time. Boars and sows of all colors, shapes and sizes scramble from their wallows, knock into fences and collide into a tangle of loin, belly and butt in the middle of the farm yard. In the tumultuous center, amidst the babel of sniffing, snorting and squealing, stands pig farmer Sergio Lapico, clutching a handful of grass and herbs to the... Read More

Around the World By Bike

By Jennifer Stafford
Keiichi Iwasaki went to college and then earned a master’s degree in Chemistry. Like many other young Japanese, he longed to see the world. But not in the usual way. “I thought that if I use airplane it’s too fast so I can’t see nothing,” he says in the broken English he learned growing up in his native Japan. “But bicycling is much better to see the world.” So he set out on an unpretentious three-speed bike, with only two dollars in... Read More

Gourmet Coffee Made to Order

By Cassie Thunhorst
In the rolling farmlands of the Marche region, amid cattle grazing on steep hills and farmers working their crops, sits the factory of the Pascucci company. Pascucci is a worldwide supplier of organically grown and locally roasted coffee beans. Its only facility is here, in the heart of traditional, rural Italy. The Pascucci family has owned and operated the company since 1883. “We combine modern technology with ancient traditions to produce the best quality product,” says Mario Rossi, the operator of the... Read More
Imagine you are visiting Italy, and there are millions of boutiques with beautiful clothes. Somehow you have to quit eating this great Italian food to fit in them, especially goodies like Capocollo, a ham rolled around some kind of cheese. Cheese is such a big deal in the Italian people’s life, nothing seems more important than the happiness it brings. So you think: Why quit eating? It makes you so happy, this cheese. Pierluigi Nieddu, a local cheese maker here, understands the... Read More

The Last Families of Urbino

By Mojan Nourbakhsh
Antonio Bisciari looks over this famous Renaissance city that has been his family’s home for 150 years and sees what the tourists see: a picture-perfect postcard town of unforgettable beauty. But he also sees something else. “The people I grew up with are no longer here,” Antonio said. “So, staying in Urbino, a beautiful city, a marvelous city, but alone and with no friends is not worth it. “If you stay here for too long, Urbino becomes a jail; it’s not as... Read More