Category: Italy

‘We Represent the Fritter-Makers’ Guild’

Sweets in Venice. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

A Painting in Venice Gives Chief Pancake Flippers Some Credibility What makes me notice the sign of the fritter-makers guild is not the unionization of pastry makers centuries ago but the food itself. Overwhelmed by so much religious art on…

A Hint of Home in Rome

A visit to McDonald's near the Spanish Steps in Rome: Fast food seems to get better the farther from home you are. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Visiting McDonald’s near the Spanish Steps Because sometimes a traveler needs just a little taste of home and for an interaction to be a familiar—and easy—one, there is McDonald’s near the bottom of the Spanish Steps in Rome. Maybe it’s…

Stasis in Sculpture

Umberto Boccioni's Unique Forms of Continuity in Space at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

David Stands, but Unique Forms of Continuity in Space Rocks As much as I love Michelangelo’s David (that stone! that body!), it’s a work of art that’s made to be adored. And indeed it is. David just stands there, commanding…

Spooning in Florence

An art installation called "I Eat Earth" by Simone D'Auria at the Lungarno Collection’s Gallery Hotel Art in Florence. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Discovering Contemporary Art in a City of Masterpieces Taking the scenic route from the Ponte Vecchio back to the Soggiorno Battistero in Florence, the Brawny Sherpa and I become a little lost. Wandering a bit aimlessly, we try to work…

Upstairs at San Marco

How do you get upstairs at the San Marco Basilica in Venice? And is the venture worthwhile? Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Glimpse the World as a Venetian As a tourist checking off a list of must-sees in Venice, one might be tempted to just move with the masses through the main floor of the San Marco Basilica. The wait can be…

Beyond Saint Peter’s Chains

A slightly different view of everlasting life at the Basilica of Saint Peter in Chains in Rome. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

A Visit to San Pietro in Vincoli Tourists tend to be drawn to the Basilica of Saint Peter in Chains in Rome to see the chains that held Peter the apostle when he was imprisoned. Peter was freed by an…

The Master Works of the Opera Duomo Museum

A wood sculpture from 1455 by Donatello known as the Penitent Mary Magdalen is displayed at the Opera Duomo Museum in Florence. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Beyond the Uffizi in Florence So much airspace is taken up by the Uffizi Gallery in Florence that a visitor there might overlook a newer museum sited just behind the Duomo. Although the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiori, which…

If You’re Going to Italy, Bring Delia Ephron

Trevi Fountain, Rome

Even if Siracusa Is Not Your Destination, Ephron’s Book Will Delight You I’ve been sucking up just about everything the Ephron sisters put out since I discovered Nora Ephron’s Crazy Salad Plus Nine many, many years ago. It’s no surprise,…

Should You Take the Kids to Murano?

Windows beckon in Murano, but should travelers with children enter glass shops? Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Do Youthful Adventurers and Glass Really Mix? The first time I make my way to Murano, the Youthful Adventurer, around 13 at the time, marvels at our vaporetto ride across the Venetian Lagoon and then fidgets as we visit glass…