Five ways to visit Florence’s Uffizi Gallery (and one to avoid)

In the five years that I have been creating itineraries for independent travelers to Italy, I’ve never met a traveler who wanted to go to Florence and skip a visit to the city’s famous Uffizi art Gallery. But the Uffizi is a huge and exhausting museum with thousands of paintings and sculptures that can make your…

Posted by on Nov 18, 2013 in Art, Florence | 36 Comments

The living statues of Italy

During a recent chat with a client about her itinerary, she said she definitely wanted to see the living statues in Florence.  I racked my brain, running through Florence’s famous statues in my head, thinking she must be referring to something in the Accademia Gallery or the Bargello. But I still couldn’t figure it out, so…

Posted by on Aug 15, 2011 in Art, Florence | 2 Comments

The Baptistery doors in Florence: So what?

Asking yourself “So what?” or “what’s the big deal?” is a great starting point when looking at any famous work of art in Italy. Yes, it’s probably aesthetically impressive, but it may be equally significant because of its historical context. So it’s worth understanding, really, why the work became famous. Taking the Baptistery doors in…

Posted by on Jun 21, 2010 in Architecture, Art, Florence | No Comments

Italian Notebook: Look Down

    Not tripping over cobblestones is a good reason to look down when in Italy, but that’s not the main reason I suggest keeping your eyes on the ground every now and then. Check out the short piece I wrote for Italian Notebook for more. Photo by Degia

Posted by on Jun 15, 2010 in Art | No Comments

Trompe l’oeil art in Italy: five favorite works

Trompe l’oeil art in Italy: five favorite works

Trompe l’oeil is a French phrase meaning to trick the eye, so artists have used this technique for centuries to create the illusion of space or depth. I love the fun trompe l’oeil “windows” on the buildings in the seaside town of Camogli, but there is a lot of significant trompe l’oeil art in Italy, so I’ve picked…

Posted by on Jun 7, 2010 in Art | 14 Comments

Vatican free Sundays: stay far, far away

Vatican free Sundays: stay far, far away

  Most of the time, my clients take my advice. And one of my standing pieces of advice is to never visit the Vatican on free Sundays. But on one recent occasion, I was designing an itinerary for a family with only one specific day to see the Vatican, which just happened to fall on…

Posted by on Feb 15, 2010 in Art, Museums, Rome | 5 Comments

Art appreciation in Italy: Prioritize In Situ

What do the Sistine Chapel, the mosaics in Piazza Armerina or Ravenna, Coreggio’s masterpiece in Parma, and Milan’s Last Supper have in common? The art is all in situ (on site), meaning it was created for a specific place. And lucky for us, it is still there. Art appreciation in Italy can be enhanced by understanding some context, so below are some…

Posted by on Jul 16, 2009 in Art | No Comments

Which Museums to Visit in Italy? A guide to help you decide.

Italy has 3,800 museums, many of them world-class. With limited vacation time and so many other things to see, how does a traveler decide which museums to visit in Italy – which ones make the cut to be included in an itinerary?   One option is to just visit Italy’s most popular museums: start by…

Posted by on Jul 3, 2009 in Art, Museums | No Comments

The Venice Biennale

       Venice is known for – among other things - its gorgeous Byzantine mosaics, jaw-dropping Tintorettos, and hand-blown glass masterpieces. But the city also hosts a significant contemporary art exhibition every two years, the Venice Biennale.     The event is always held in the gigantic Arsenale, and is on in 2009. In addition to contemporary art - which opens June 7th…

Posted by on May 8, 2009 in Art, Venice & the Veneto | No Comments