Great Rivalries. Cycling and the Story of Italy by Kevin Andrews with a Foreword by Simon Gerrans will be launched at 199 Faraday Street, Carlton on Tuesday 28 May 2019 at 6.30pm. It is the story of Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi and the champion Italian cyclists who preceded them but it is also about the place of cycling in a nation emerging from division, an agrarian past, widespread impoverishment, and competing visions about creating a modern state. Kevin Andrews, who will be at the launch, began working as a sports commentator and race caller from the age of 17. For a decade, he called many sporting events before pursuing a career in the law and public life. He has written about sport for a number of publications and has been a guest commentator for track cycling. He is a keen recreational cyclist and intermittent Masters’ competitor. His youngest son rides for a UCI Continental Team.
From 17 March to 13 May 2018 Oxford’s Bodleian Library’s new Weston Building will host an exhibition entitled A Renaissance Royal Wedding, marking the 500th anniversary of a landmark sixteenth-century match. On 18 April 1518 the Italian princess Bona Sforza married Sigismund I, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, in Cracow cathedral. The lavish nuptials forged links of politics and kinship between the Jagiellonian dynasty of Central Europe and the top families of Renaissance Italy, opening up new channels of communication between the Polish capital and the cities of Italy’s far south – a dynamic exchange of people, books and ideas which continued for decades. Bona Sforza (1494-1557) was a Milanese-Neapolitan princess, from 1518 queen of Poland and from 1524 duchess of Bari, in Puglia, and thus Italian ruler in her own right. King Sigismund (1467-1548) was the scion of a large royal house which, at its peak c. 1525, ruled half of Europe, from Prague to Smolensk. Their wedding was attended by dignitaries and scholars from across Christendom, and their five children – who later ruled in Poland-Lithuania, Sweden and Hungary – presented themselves throughout their lives as Polish-Italian royalty. Bona herself remains a controversial, high-profile figure in Polish memory to this day.