In Florence on the corner of Palazzo Vecchietti at the junction of Via degli Strozzi and Via de’Vecchietti is a bronze statue of an insolent, jeering little devil. The work of Giambologna (or Jean de Boulogne, 1529-1608) it was commissioned by Bernardo Vecchietti to commemorate a mysterious incident in Florence’s...
Archive for category: Florence
Completed in 1532, this palazzo in Piazza Santa Trinita, Florence would give rise to controversy. In his designs, the architect Baccio d’Agnolo had shown a certain nonchalant daring; as is clear from the details of the facade, he had been more than happy to indulge the new taste for...
Even if their names are not immediately associated with the history of clockmaking, certain great Florentine artists did play an important role in the history of time measurement. After all, they lived in a city which was the birthplace of various master clockmaker, who would make Florence one...
In the Bolboli gardens – near the entrance to the left of Palazzo Pitti – one encounters a curious fountain showing an overweight male figure astride a tortoise. Setting aside the tone of playful burlesque which was such an integral part of Florentine Mannerist architecture, one might read...
Dating back to the Renaissance, the historic game of “Florentine football” is sometimes considered the ancestor of the modern-day version, however the rules of and the physical contact in the game make it more similar to rugby than to football. The players in the Renaissance came from the...
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...
Modest in size, the Corsi Annalena Garden is laid out in terraces overlooking the Via dei Serragli, terracing undoubtedly being the best way of organising a garden when there is little surface area. The result affords a panoramic view of the countryside around Florence, extending from the urban...
Because of a notorious remark by Don Abbondio, a character in Allessandro Manzoni’s novel I promessi sposi (The Betrothed), Carnielo has become synonymous with the “perfect nobody” in Italy. By analogy, Florentines can be heard exclaiming: “Carnielo? Who was that guy?” Such being the case, it should be...
According to legend, zuccotto is the first semifreddo in the history of cooking and was originally made in an infantryman’s studded helmt. In the Tuscan dialect zucca means ‘head’. It was originally prepared with ricotta, glacé (candied) fruit, almonds and dark (semisweet) chocolate. I love this dessert – it is quick and...
The star-studded fresco on the cupola of the old sacristy at San Lorenzo captures the appearance of the night sky on 4 July 1442 and exactly the same arrangement of heavenly bodies is to be seen within the cupola of the Pazzi Chapel in Santa Croce church –...
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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