Rebecca Ann Hughes is a freelance journalist in northern Italy.

glassblowing on the island of Murano

Playing with fire – how rising fuel prices are endangering Murano’s glass industry

As the cost of gas continues to increase across Europe, the Venetian island’s glassmakers are fighting to preserve a centuries-old tradition

8 Jul 2022
Procuratie Vecchie

Full circle – the Procuratie Vecchie in Venice returns to its social roots

Formerly home to the Venetian officials who cared for the city’s poor, the newly restored historic building now serves the local community as well as tourists

21 Apr 2022
A billboard for Balenciaga on a church in Venice in 2017.

The billboards that are turning Venice into an eyesore

Luxury brands are certainly contributing to the conservation of Venice – but massive advertisements on historic buildings are starting to spoil the views

9 Nov 2021
The dilapidated facade of Palazzo Priuli Manfrin, Venice, photographed in 2015.

Venice’s crumbling palazzos are crying out for more buyers like Anish Kapoor

The artist plans to turn a dilapidated palace into a lively new cultural venue – and the city needs others to follow his example

3 Sep 2021
Funghi business: still from The Truffle Hunters (2020; dir. Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw).

Funghi business: the tricks and treats of the white truffle trade

Like the rarest works of art, white truffles from Alba are commodities in a mysterious, monied world

12 Aug 2021
The view from Santa Croce in Florence.

Roped in: the acrobatic builders repairing Italy’s historic domes and bridges

A troupe of nimble-footed technicians has been drafted in to restore monuments up and down the country – without a scaffold in sight

7 Jul 2021
The MSC Magnifica seen from a canal in Venice in June 2019.

Can Italy solve its tourist troubles?

With mass tourism poised to return, have local politicians and cultural leaders finally worked out how to manage the crowds? 

1 Jun 2021
Detail of Self-Portrait with Madrigal (c. 1578), attributed to Marietta Robusti. Gallerie degli Uffizi, Florence

The lost paintings of Marietta Robusti are a maddening Renaissance mystery

Tintoretto’s daughter was a highly acclaimed artist in her own right, but there is frustratingly little to go on when it comes to identifying her paintings

28 Apr 2021
In hibernation: covered gondolas line the shore in Venice in December 2020.

For the gondola builders of Venice, choppy waters lie ahead

Traditional boatyards and boat-building techniques have long been in decline – but the pandemic has only worsened the situation

13 Apr 2021
Fiddlesticks! The art of bead-stringing in the 21st century.

For the women of Venice, the fiddly art of bead-stringing is worth fighting for

Stringing glass beads was once the main work available to Venetian women – but it’s now a protected craft pursued by only a handful of skilled artists

25 Feb 2021
Agnese Tegon working in the furnace.

Breaking the glass ceiling? Women and the world of Murano

Insular and secretive, the Murano glass industry has historically excluded women – but that may soon change

25 Aug 2020