The Hundred and Twenty Days of Sodom

The most important existing manuscript of the Marquis de Sade has long been considered lost: it is the first draft of the novel “The Hundred and Twenty Days of Sodom”, a work with an extraordinary history.
Written in 1785, during his imprisonment in the Bastille prison, the object itself is unique: a roll of 12 meters long, consisting of 33 glued sheets, 11.3 centimeters wide.
Sade was transferred from the Bastille on July 4, 1789, ten days before the French Revolution, and instructed his wife Renée-Pélagie to collect his belongings from the cell, including the manuscript: his wife did not remember until July 14, and the Marquis lost his items, including, it was thought, the manuscript itself.

It was recovered only many years later, in 1904, by the psychiatrist Iwan Bloch, who printed it believing that it was an exceptional document also from the scientific point of view, given the descriptions, in the novel, of many cases of psychiatric interest. Purchased in 1929 by Viscount Charles de Noailles, it was reprinted in the thirties, without the translation errors of the version published by Bloch. Then purchased in 1982 by collector Gérard Nordmann, it was then bought again, for 7 million euros, in 2014 by entrepreneur Gérard Lhéritier. After Lhéritier’s company went into liquidation, the manuscript was declared a “national treasure” in 2017 and subsequently returned to the market: 4.55 million euros were needed to secure it, and the French state, at the beginning of the year, launched an appeal, through the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, to find patrons willing to pay the sum.
The appeal finally struck a chord: the banker Emmanuel Boussard, founder of the Boussard & Gavaudan investment fund, responded by making available the entire sum needed to complete the purchase. Boussard’s grandfather was the curator of the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal between 1943 and 1964, and so, explained the French Ministry of Culture, the businessman wanted to demonstrate his attachment to the institution.

The manuscript of “The Hundred and Twenty Days of Sodom” will be presented at a conference in 2022, in the presence of specialists and intellectuals, with the aim of analyzing the figure of Sade, the reception of his work over the centuries and its significance today.
“This exceptional enrichment of the national collections,” communicates the French Ministry of Culture, “is one of the most important in recent years for the BnF. The Ministry of Culture and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France would like to thank the patrons who contributed to these acquisitions.”

The Eiffel Tower

The construction of the Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889 on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition, which marked the centenary of the French Revolution. Its construction is historically remembered as a true technical feat, completed in record time: 2 years, 2 months and 5 days to create an iron giant weighing over 10 thousand tons. However, the engineer Gustave Eiffel found himself in the sights of the press and intellectuals of the time: the high secular cathedral, which sanctioned the entry of Paris into the age of modernity, was the subject of an appeal signed by, among others, Charles Gounod, Guy de Maupassant, Alexandre Dumas (son), François Coppée and William Bouguereau, who called “an ink stain on the hateful shadow of the obnoxious bolted sheet metal column”.



The controversy died down when the construction work was completed, in the face of the immense popular success that it enjoyed (2 million visitors were reported during the 1889 Exposition). Initially it was destined to remain standing for only 20 years, nevertheless its permanence was saved by the scientific experiments that Eiffel promoted, in particular by the first radiographic transmissions, then telecommunications: radio signals from the Tower to the Pantheon in 1898, military radio station in 1903, first public radio transmission in 1925, then television on TNT more recently. The Eiffel Tower receives (at least according to pre-pandemic data) almost 7 million visitors per year, of which about 75% are foreigners, a figure that has made it the most visited paid monument in the world.



Due to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, the city is restoring the exterior facades of its most precious symbols, such as Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Montmartre. As for the Eiffel Tower, the color change will take it from the current “Eiffel brown” (with which we are accustomed to seeing it since 1968, it is divided into three shades from the lightest at the top to the darkest at the bottom, to ensure a uniform visual perception of the structure and give it momentum) to the future “yellow-brown”, a more sparkling shade that will give it numerous golden reflections on the entire surface. Yellow-brown, moreover, is the color that its visionary inventor Gustave Eiffel envisioned for his creation in 1907. “The Eiffel Tower will look more ‘gold’, golden, like the Olympic medals and the years that Paris, France and Europe are preparing to live when the pandemic is over,” Patrick Branco Ruivo, general manager of the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, the company that manages the monument, commented optimistically.

The Olympic Games

The Olympic Games are a sporting event that occurs every four years that involves competition between the world’s best athletes in almost every sporting discipline practiced on five continents.
The Olympic flag, one of the most recognized symbols in the world, depicts five intertwined rings on a white field, symbolizing the five continents. The colors chosen are present in the flags of all nations, so their combination symbolizes all countries, while the intertwining of the rings represents the universality of the Olympic spirit.



The name Olympic Games was chosen to recall the ancient Olympic Games that took place in Ancient Greece at the city of Olympia, in which the best Greek athletes competed.
The Ancient Olympic Games were athletic and religious celebrations, held every four years in the city of Olympia, Greece, historically from 776 BC to 393 AD.
In ancient times, a total of 292 editions of the Olympic Games were held. During these Olympics, wars were suspended by a truce and were also used by various Greek-speaking historians as a chronological reference to date the events.
Baron Pierre de Coubertin at the end of the 19th century had the idea of organizing games similar to those of ancient Greece.



In the silence of a substantially empty Olympic Stadium, the 2020 Tokyo Games kick off after a year of waiting.
A spectacle with an Italian brand, signed by Marco Balich.
Naomi Osaka, tennis player, lights the Olympic tripod, after Emperor Nahruhito had declared the Olympics open.
A profound choreography from the first minutes: an athlete runs at home, due to lockdown, on her treadmill; another trains on the rowing machine.
Alone, the athletes enter isolated, remembering that each one had to train on his own, often at home, to be able to be present.
Then the reconstruction, a piece of wood after another, with the work of the whole world to succeed in realizing a dream that seemed madness: to build with that wood, piece after piece, the five circles.

Naples and Street Art: a New Project

Naples has been chosen as the inaugural stage of the #ART & more project and the work has been realized on a PVC sheet three hundred meters long and 11 meters wide that has left free both the bike path and the sidewalk and that will remain visible and usable to the citizens, without any limitation or restriction of space, until July 21. Similar projects have been experimented in other parts of the world, where very long streets have been decorated with rainbows and other designs. In this case it is a more complex and elaborate collective work of large dimensions.



The work of street art is part of the project #ART &more. It is 3300 square meters of murals drawn, in just 3 days, directly on a sheet stretched on the cobblestones of Via Caracciolo, in correspondence of the Rotonda Diaz and Lido Mappatella, between the intersection with Piazza della Repubblica until the corner of Viale Anton Dohrn.
“Odyssey complete – comments Jorit – The work is inaugurated. Proud to live in Naples”.

The Naples seaside is colored with three square kilometers of murals by Neapolitan street artists – @jorit, @shaone, @iabo, @zeus40_wb_vmd, @tony_tres, @yele.1312, @elnigrotat2, @enzocrefand @alessandro_cocchia – and students from the Academy of Fine Arts.


A colossal work visible even from the sky for the lucky tourists who arrive in the city by plane. The mega-mural was inaugurated on Friday 16 July 2021 at the Rotonda Diaz.

Villa of Diomedes: The Grand Tour

The opening of the restoration site of the Villa of Diomede in the Archaeological Park of Pompeii is an extraordinary event. Only 100 privileged visitors were guided by technicians and restorers of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii participating in the event entitled ”Su il sipario! Cantiere in scena”, an integral part of the “Grande Progetto Pompei”.



The Villa of Diomedes is a scenic residential complex located at the Via dei Sepolcri, near the necropolis of Porta Ercolano and not so far from the famous Villa dei Misteri.
Among the very first buildings excavated in the site of Pompeii, between 1771 and 1775, is one of the monuments most described and represented by travelers on the Grand Tour. Many are the testimonies of the ancient travelers, as suggested by the graffiti that report the names of famous visitors.


Particular case is that of the graffito in the room 59, to the North extremity of the inferior arcade of the villa: “Comte de Cavour piemont sard”. Probably the famous Camillo Benso Count of Cavour, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy, enchanted by the charm of the monument wanted to leave a trace of his passage in the Vesuvian city.


The villa owes maybe its name to Marcus Arrius Diomedes, a libertus whose tomb is located in front of the entrance. It develops scenographically on three levels opening with gardens and swimming pools towards the ancient coastline. It is one of the largest buildings in the entire city with an extension of 3500 square meters. Upon entering, one has direct access to the peristilium, around which are arranged the most important rooms of the house, such as the triclinium. One of the most beautiful spaces is the beautiful garden, in the center of which there was a triclinium covered by a pergola for summer banquets, and a swimming pool. Near the door that gave access to the service area were found two victims, one of which had a gold ring and a silver key as well as a treasury of 1356 sesterces.


The villa, a regular appointment for visitors of the Grand Tour such as Goethe, Lamartine, Stendhal and many others, was also the setting for the novel “Marcella” by Théophile Gautier.






New Mosaic Found at Roman Bath

A New Mosaic found at the Roman Bath of Baia just outside Naples.

We are in the Mercury Baths, in the room called the “inverted fig”. 


However, a stroke of a wet brush was enough to make the day exceptional, with an explosion of colors: green, yellow, red, blue, in shades spread over hundreds of glass paste tesserae.



The expert restorer Dr. Andra Cardillo cleaned up a small portion of it: “The beauty that appears after having been hidden by the dust of time is always an indescribable emotion”…and the parts that have been preserved are much larger, and will hopefully be discovered as soon as possible.



It is the refined decoration of the mosaic vault that for the first time we see not only in the bright colors, but also in the leaves, intertwined branches and fruits that were to be drawn on the entire ceiling.