Messina: Europe’s deadliest earthquake and tsunami

In 1908, on approximately 5:20 AM the Earth shook around the city of Messina, Italy and the region surrounding it. The earthquake was so strong that it was felt within a 300-kilometer (186-mile) radius. It levelled almost all of Messina to the ground. It’s estimated that more than 75,000 lost their lives in the city. Approximately 25,000 died in other cities.

When everyone believed that there’s life on Mars

In 1877, Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli observed the night sky. Mars was especially interesting to him and when he checked it out a little more closely he made out a large system of canals. The illustration above was made by him.

Mardi Gras’ Colorful History

A complex holiday celebrated all around the world, Mardi Gras has roots in early pagan festivals of springtime. When Christianity appeared in Rome, the festival was incorporated as a pre-Lent indulgence.

The Horns of Moses

Take a close look at Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses in Rome and you will notice two strange protrusions on his head: horns. Some historians credit a mistranslation of ancient texts for the common practice in the 16th and 17th century of depicting Moses with horns, but closer analysis reveals this may not be the case.