Tag Archives: Italia

Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection in Sansepolcro

It’s the perfect fresco for Easter: Christ steps proudly from his tomb super hero-style in his bubblegum pink robe.  Those poor dupes, the guards, are sleeping and miss the drama.  The composition is symmetrical, and a perfect triangle from the top of Christ’s head to the bodies of the guards below.  It was only once […]

The cloister of Monreale Cathedral

There’s a certain reaction I have, when looking though an art history book, an “Aha, there you are!” recognition that’s–let’s face it– a sense of entitlement.  I study the reproduction of a building or artwork and say to myself with certainty,  “I am going to go see that.”  Without fail, I have always felt just that […]

Dazzling mosaics in Cappella Palatina, Palermo and–bonus!–bible stories abridged

Every surface in the Cappella Palatina in Palermo (1140-70) is a pristine work of art.  Study the ceiling, the floor, and of course, at the mosaics.  Don’t be rushed.  This is what happens when great cultures—Arab, Norman and Byzantine–combine synergistically to produce the finest art imaginable.   It was created for Sicilian kings to worship in, with […]

Temple of Olympian Zeus, Agrigento: he’s an atlas, he’s a column: HE’S SUPER TELAMON!

19th century romantics must have gone wild with nostalgic indulgence at the ruins of Temple of Olympian Zeus, in the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Sicily.  It has such a literal “feel small before the mighty ruins of past civilization” vibe about it.  And to my 21st century eyes, the scale and ambition of […]

Picnic at the Greek theatre of Syracuse

It’s not every day I can chow down on a can of tuna fish sitting in a theatre built in the 5th century BC, though as someone who has worked in and around theatres most of my adult life, I was thinking of mostly practical matters.  For example: if this theatre sat 15,000 or more people, […]

Sicily is an abstract painting

Sicily is an open air museum.  Sure, there are the sensational sights and the glorious landscape, but the details are just as rewarding.  The island is full of off-kilter stripes, a tessellation of tiles, a kaleidoscope of mosaics, crossed-out graffiti, and attractively decaying billboards.  Now that I’ve had a brief taste of Sicily’s main attractions, […]

Panini picnic at the Duomo of Syracuse

The entire gorgeous city of Syracusa is a UNESCO World Heritage sight, and if it were up to me, I would extent UNESCO status to it’s panini.  Specifically, Caseificio Borderi Elefteria located at Via Emanuele de Benedictis, 6, Siracusa, Italy. We walked through Ortygia island neighborhood of Syracusa,  towards the Ionian Sea, avoiding the rements of […]

Campy corbels in Ragusa

I generally have a hard time appreciating Baroque, which I associate with frosting covered architecture encrusted with obese putti and over-inflated grandeur.  Ragusa, a UNSECO protected Baroque town in Southern Sicily, just may have converted me into a Baroque lover.  The town, largely destroyed in a massive earthquake in 1693, was rebuilt by its wealthy […]

Chasing the sunset in the Valley of the Temples, Agrigento

We arrived at the Valley of Temples in Agrigento, Southern Sicily, near opening time, and were still walking around late afternoon when a heavy rain drove us under a temporary shelter.  We waited it out reading a history of the Temples.  When the rain cleared we said, why not one more picnic at the Temple of Concord?  […]

Cefalù: cute costumed children celebrating Carnevale with confetti

Cefalù, in Northern Sicily, is indisputably scenic.  It’s dramatically set on the Mediterranean, with a giant rock mountain looming above it, full of golden light, palm trees, and twisty medieval streets.  Despite it’s attractive qualities, we spent much of the day irritated with the tourist industry of the town, which has three major sights, two […]