Virgil Reading the Aeneid

Far from Oblivious in Bologna

  If you find yourself strolling along the streets of Bologna near the city’s center, don’t be surprised if you turn a corner and come upon an anomaly. It will stand unapologetically as traffic whizzes by, a thumb of unruly masonry with its flanks sawed off. The amputations were necessary to make way for thoroughfares […]

Classical and Modern architecture meet at Yale

Touching Literary History

  I will once again be touching literary history soon, as the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University reopened yesterday following a 16-month renovation to upgrade the 50-year-old building’s climate-control system, expand its classroom space, and restore the landmark to its original luster. The building’s architectural features—an exterior grid of granite and […]

Karman Deja Vu Nu

Date Night in Florence Italy

  What if the Renaissance master Michelangelo and the Marchesa di Pescara Vittoria Colonna suddenly found themselves revived and in modern day Florence? Though scholars are resolute that their relationship was platonic, that hasn’t stopped plenty of voyeurs from engaging in the art of innuendo that paints them as friends with benefits over the years. […]

Allington Castle in modern times

Renovating During the Tudor Era

Hindsight is 20/20, as they say. Looking back to the Tudor Era from this great distance, it’s easy to see how barbaric a sport jousting was. But before you feel all modern and lofty, consider America’s devotion to football, even after the discovery of its deadly occurrence of brain trauma. If you can’t imagine our country […]

Exterior Sculpture on the Duomo di Milano

Shelley in Italy

Soon after he embarked upon a four-year Wanderjahr through Italy with his beloved wife Mary—a trip that would turn out to be an end-of-life journey—the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley found himself in Milan. While there, he would make his way to the cathedral in the center of town to sit within its shadowy vaulted interior […]

Study for plate XIV of the Différents vues de Pesto

Love Among the Ruins

  How would it feel to spend your life so absorbed by crumbling architecture and disintegrating stone you could bring them vibrantly back to life with chalk and a pen? Giovanni Battista Piranesi knew, his talent for accuracy in imagining the details that flirted at the edge of the decaying world so astute he became […]

Beautiful hand-painted majolica plate

Poetry and Ceramics in Savona

  The 16th-century poetry that sprung from Savona made a strong impression on Thomas William Parsons when he found verses inscribed on a statue of the Madonna near the town’s lighthouse during a tour of Italy in the 19th century. He was so moved, the American poet penned the sonnet “Savona: Vespers on the Shore of the Mediterranean” […]