Should Caravaggio be renamed Merisi of Milan?





CARAVAGGIO, Italy -- Each year, the sleepy northern Italian town of Caravaggio throws a week-long festival to honour its most famous citizen, the fiery Renaissance artist who took his home town's name.

This year, however, the celebrations are likely to be muted. An art historian in Milan has discovered that Michelangelo Merisi -- the artist's original name -- was not born in Caravaggio. He was born in Milan, on September 29, 1571, and baptised at the church of Santa Maria della Passarella.

The revelation has shocked the town's 15,000 inhabitants. In one main street, a public notice board displays a selection of newspaper articles about the discovery. Two old ladies stood nearby digesting the news.

The mayor, Giuseppe Prevedini, has decided not to give up his town's only claim to fame without a fight. After all, there is the income from the two million tourists who visit every year to consider.



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