Prints of Castel Nuovo up to the mid 19th century show a stuffed crocodile hanging above the main doorway. No historian has been able to provide a rational explanation of what this exotic animal was doing or when it was put there. A symbolic act, some say. But...
Archive for month: July, 2016
I was reorganizing my bookshelf recently and I admit I didn’t get far – as I ended up pouring through my many cookbooks and recalling some of my favourite dishes. As part of this process I found myself, once again, delighting in the recipes of Silvena Rowe in...
If you visit the Museo di Palazzo Poggi, Bologna’s main university museum, you will discover a room dedicated to the work of a 16th century naturalist, Ulisse Aldrovandi, where you will see some of the ‘18,000 varieties of unusual things’ he claimed to have accumulated. Many of his...
The 16th and 17th centuries were particularly disastrous for Naples: earthquakes, eruptions, famines and epidemics followed one another (the 1656 plague alone killed 250,000 out of 400,000 residents), with everything made worse by the negligence of the Spanish viceroys. As the church cemeteries were filled to capacity, gravediggers...
Located between Piazza D’Azeglio and Piazza Santissima Annunziata is a palazzo that is unique in Florence – a spectacular demonstration of how aesthetic canons can change. During the Renaissance no-one would ever have thought of creating so eclectic and idiosyncratic a façade for a palazzo, but by the end of...
About 22km (14 miles) northeast of the town of Évora, in the centre of the marble-quarrying region of Portugal, you will find the beautiful little town of Estremoz, which although much smaller than Évora contains some fascinating monuments. It is also famous for its pinky glow, which is courtesy of the...
In Sainte-Madeleine Church, Place des Prêcheurs, Aix-en-Provence you will find a magnificent piece of art, albeit only the central panel of the Annunciation triptych remains in place, with the left panel (in two parts) and the right panel having been removed to Brussels, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. This work, the...
In the 9th Arrondissement at 6, rue Sainte-Cécile, Paris you will find a beautiful but little known church which is curiously dedicated to two saints: Saint Eugene (in honour of Napoleon III’s wife, Eugénie, who was responsible for the building of the church) and Saint Cecilia (patron saint of...
I came across this recipe for these mouthwatering Cookies when I was looking for something special to do with some traditional Turkish Delight I had been given. They truly are very moreish but the cookie mix does require chilling for 4 hours or overnight, so plan ahead. ...
Cradled in a majestic circle of Alps, the Vallée des Merveilles in the Mercantour National Park, Provence is aptly named. It is a landscape of rock-strewn valleys, jagged peaks and eerie lakes. Just west of the Lac des Mèsches is the Minière de la Vallaure, an abandoned mine quarried...
Welcome to my love affair with the food, wine, history and culture of the Mediterranean, past and present. Here you will find not only recipes, drinks and fabulous products, but the history of the food and culture of the Mediterranean.
My purpose is to get you to explore and experience new tastes and along the way to immerse yourself in the wonderful history of this diverse and wonderful region – from Venice to Istanbul, Rome to Dubrovnik, Athens to Crete and all places in between and in the surrounds. Be prepared to be surprised, delighted and enthralled as you take this trip with me.
- An ode to play – A painting by Pieter Bruegel
- The pelican fountain that becomes a fountain of wine….
- A Donatello head of Virgil’s horse, Palazzo Carafa, Naples
- Codex Gigas or The Bible written by the Devil!!
- A lock in Milan designed by Leonardo da Vinci
- Who was the Marquis of Pombal?
- The curious sculpture of Ancient Rome’s “Man of the Forests” – Venice
- The mystery of the magic Square, Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
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