Born at Christmas

nativity: the process or circumstances of being born; especially, capitalized: the birth of Jesus. The Italian verb nascere means to be born. Like many words across many languages, nascere was “birthed” from Latin, its meaning connected to the English word nativity: Nativity is one of many words born of the Latin verb nasci, which means “to be born.” The…

Churches of Florence: A Love Story, Part One

“I never weary of great churches. It is my favorite kind of mountain scenery. Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral.” — Robert Louis Stevenson Like many who have fallen for Italy, I too never weary of churches. I am not shy in professing my love of all things Duomo, but, a dire…

Ghosts of Florence and Other Spooky Spots in Italy

Although I have thankfully never encountered a ghost during my late-night/early-morning wanderings, in a country as old as Italy they are bound to be there, lurking in shadowed vicoli (alleys), peering down from finestre (windows), nascosto in piena vista (hiding in plain sight). Such is the case for these popular spots for visitors to Florence…perhaps you’ve “haunted” some…

Uno Strumento di Pace

An Instrument of Peace This post is dedicated to longtime reader Bonnie, who recently asked me to publish the entire Simple Prayer for Peace by St. Francis in Italian. “One of the ways I study Italian is by learning prayers,” she shared, which reminded me of how much I enjoy that method of learning as…

Reads for Renaissance Lovers

Whether categorized as a collection or a fascination/obsession, one topic which is well represented in my home library is the Renaissance. I tend to purchase a book or two during my travels, sparked by something amazing I’ve seen and unable to resist the always strategically placed gift shops. Examples: Above: Brunelleschi’s Dome by Ross King is a must-read…

Reads for Renaissance Lovers: Just the Lists

For an extended version of this post which includes book summaries and thoughts from your reviewer, please click here. 15 Renaissance Reads Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered by Dianne Hales Brunelleschi’s Dome by Ross King Leonardo and The Last Supper by Ross King Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King (detecting a pattern, here?)…

Coming in February

Here’s what I’m polishing up for the blog in February; so excited to be writing about one of my favorite topics: The Italian Renaissance! Tuesday’s A Snapshot From Series featuring Florence (naturalmente 🙂) Book Love: Recommended reading for all who love the Renaissance (or want to learn more) Renaissance History: A closer look at Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici,…

12 Things You May Not Know About The Last Supper

There were exactly two things I knew for sure about the Last Supper: 1. It was painted by Leonardo da Vinci. 2. It was somewhere in Milan. (Clearly, I’m not an art historian.) This capolavoro (masterpiece) had long been on my wish list of Things to See in Italy, but mostly just to check it off the…

Of Masterpieces and Mysticism

In the Presence of The Last Supper Traffic was still light on this Friday summer morning in Milan, and after just a few quick turns our taxi came to a stop on lively Corso Magenta. “Questa è la chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie? Con Il Cenacolo?” (Is this the Santa Maria delle Grazie church? With…