I love to spend time observing artwork in Italy, from ancient frescos and sculptures up through the Renaissance masters. One of my very favorites is in the Tuscan town of Siena. On the main piazza named the Campo, stands the medieval Palazzo Pubblico, the old town hall. Inside is the Sala della Pace (Hall of Peace) also known as the Sala dei Nove (Salon of Nine or Council Room). Painted on the walls are several different fresco scenes by famous artist Ambrogio Lorenzetti: Allegory of Good Government, Allegory of Bad Government, Effects of Bad Government in the City, Effects of Good Government in the City and Effects of Good Government in the Country. I’ve found these frescoes accurate and timeless in their deptiction of daily life under wise and virtuous rulership as opposed to a self-centered, corrupt, and tyrannical government. Read more
The picturesque Tuscan town of Arezzo greeted us with blue sky and sunshine on a recent October afternoon as we pulled into the parking lot next to the medieval wall that still encircled the town. Across the street, I saw a tall, elegant young woman with long dark hair who I guessed was Sandra Giusti, our tour guide. Her company, Arezzo Guide, was born from her great passion and love for her hometown and surrounding villages. We had corresponded previously only by email up until now so this was our first meeting. I was excited to meet her and discover what made Arezzo one of the most popular places in Tuscany to experience. Read more
I felt like I had just stepped into the Hobbit’s Shire when I arrived in the small whitewashed village of Alberobello. Little people scampering in and out of the tiny cone-roofed houses with hairy feet didn’t appear, however. Instead, the village streets were packed with big people like myself, exploring the rows of cone-roofed trulli that proved to be anything from gift shops to restaurants. Bizarre and quirky? By all means, yes.
Surrounded by ancient vineyards, medieval castles, and white-sand beaches, Alberobello sits at the top of the heel that makes the boot of Italy. Not far from the Adriatic coast, it is understandably a magnetic tourist attraction. Read more
One of my very favorite places in Rome is the Pantheon with the small Piazza della Rotunda just to the south of it. Every trip to Rome is not complete without a visit to this glorious first century monument. There are several outdoor restaurants that line the piazza and offer good food with great views. But the trattoria I love the most is Armando Al Pantheon which is just a stone’s throw from the Pantheon itself. Although it lacks outdoor dining, the small one room trattoria is as homey and comfortable as one could imagine.
I descended 60 feet below Rome’s surface into a mysterious past I knew little about…
The ancient Basilica of San Clemente, named after Rome’s third pope, hardly drew my attention as I passed by on my walk from the Colosseum. I soon discovered that I had approached the basilica from the side by mistake, missing the grand entrance fronted by a small courtyard with palm trees.
I had previously read about the basilica’s three levels of fascinating history, one church on top of another. The present 12th-century basilica was erected on the site of a previous church which had been buried for centuries underneath the level of the city streets.