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The Life of A Painting: Leonardo da Vinci’s St. Jerome in the Wilderness

We take it for granted that paintings should be shown behind glass, watched by security, and protected in museums. However, for centuries a piece of art was just another personal possession.  Someone could have a painting altered just as easily as having pants hemmed.  Even pieces by the great masters were not immune to harsh treatment.  Even an incredible painting by the Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci was carved up and nearly lost.

Leonardo da Vinci "Saint Jerome in the Wilderness", Vatican Museums (Pinacoteca), Rome

Leonardo da Vinci “Saint Jerome in the Wilderness (unrestored)”, Vatican Museums (Pinacoteca), Rome (Photo: Wikimedia)

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4 Places to Discover World War I History

This year, Veterans Day is particularly poignant as we commemorate the 100th Anniversary of World War I.  While many of us recognize the startling images of World War II, the Great War from 1914-1918 remains a little more distant.  To gain some new understanding on this centenary, here are four of the best destinations for discovering World War I history.

World War I, High Wood cemetery, France

A poppy among the British and French graves from the Battle of the Somme at the High Wood Cemetery, France (Photo)

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The Imperial Treasury of Vienna

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme.  This month we are discussing Hidden Gems.  Check out all the stories below.  At the risk of being too literal, I’m bringing you a story of a “hidden gem” museum filled with gems!

Imperial Crown, Orb, and Sceptre of Austria

Imperial Crown, Orb, and Scepter of Austria created between 1602-1615. (Photo: Michiel2005, flickr)

You don’t have to be an art or history focused traveler to appreciate real jewels.  There is something about gold and gemstones that just draws people in as we gaze at the glittering wealth, power, and beauty of these objects.  The most impressive collection of priceless jewelry that I’ve ever seen belonged to a real royal dynasty.  The House of Habsburg oversaw a massive and prosperous empire for roughly 800 years.  Sometimes lost in a city of fantastic art and architecture, you must visit the spectacular family jewels housed in the Imperial Treasury of Vienna.

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The Beautiful City of Padua

I came to Padua to see Giotto’s masterpiece, the Scrovegni Chapel, but I discovered a really amazing place.  I found a charming city with lovely streets, elegant architecture, fun sights, and locals out enjoying a pleasant fall weekend in the numerous parks and piazzas.  While Venice, its neighbor in the Veneto region, gets mobs of tourists, I realized that Padua definitely deserves a few days to explore and rewards its visitors with an unforgettable experience.

Saint Anthony Cathedral

An impressive sight when walking around.  Street view of the Basilica of Saint Anthony, Padua

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A Evening Stroll Through Rimini

Sunset and early evening are my favorite time of day in Italy.  Rather than retreating home, it seems like everyone pours into the streets for strolling, shopping, or an aperitif with friends.  Even public festivals and fairs continue on through these waning hours.  While my days in Rimini, Italy where busy with TBDI 2014, it was still a pleasure to enjoy the city with an early evening walk through its historic heart amid the vibrant nightlife.

Piazza Cavour at night, Rimini

Statue of Pope Paul V and the civic Palazzo dell’Arengo building in Piazza Cavour, Rimini

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