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Posts from the ‘Italy’ Category

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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Caesar and the Snail: “Royal Purple” in Imperial Rome

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 Color.  Check out all the stories below!

As the old saying goes – “Clothes make the man.”  Nowhere is this more true than in Ancient Rome.  They had a purple dye so rare and so valuable that wearing it was reserved for the elite.  Eventually only the Emperor was allowed to wear full garments of this color, known as Tyrian purple.  So where did this precious color come from?  A sea snail native to Lebanon.

Justinian in purple

Emperor Justinian I wears a purple robe while his chief advisers have a broad stripe of purple in their garments. The Byzantines inherited the connection between purple and power.  This mosaic is from Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna (Photo)

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Brunelleschi the Architect: More Than Florence’s Duomo

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme.  This month we are looking at architecture.  Check out all the stories below!

Florence Cathedral Duomo

Florence Cathedral Duomo (Photo: Flickr, Bruce Stokes)

If you know Florence, Italy, then you know Filippo Brunelleschi.  He was the architect who designed and constructed the soaring dome of the Florence Cathedral.  While still impressive today, this engineering feat was revolutionary in the 15th century.  But what many people don’t realize is that Brunelleschi completed several other equally influential buildings in Florence.  Brunelleschi’s chapels and churches set the standard for Renaissance architecture by re-introducing and expanding on Roman architectural concepts.  The harmonious and proportioned designs of Brunelleschi’s buildings makes them a must-see, even in a city overflowing with fantastic art.

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Threatened Venice: Why You Need to Visit Now

Happy 2014!  Ready for another exciting year of the ArtSmart Roundtable? Of course!  This group brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme each month.  To wish you all a happy New Year, this month we’re focusing on Art to see in 2014!  Check out all of the ArtSmart posts below.

While I’m sure my friends are taking a very optimistic interpretation of this month’s topic, it actually got me thinking, “What do I need to see now before it is gone?”  This last year brought us the destruction of UNESCO World Heritage sites in Mali, rising tides encroaching on Pacific Islands, further decay at Pompeii and threats to the archaeological sites in Egypt due to on-going political turmoil. There is a distinct possibility that our human actions (whether environmental or political) will destroy magnificent works of art and history critical to our cultural heritage.  I can think of one complicated and threatened city that deserves a visit before it changes irrevocably.  If you haven’t been, now is the time to see Venice.  Hopefully you will see how beautiful and timeless the city is and can become an advocate for its preservation.

View along the Grand Canal in Venice

View along the Grand Canal in Venice

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Blended Architecture in Chiesa Matrice, Erice, Sicily

Sometimes on the quest for art, you end up learning a lot more about the history of a place.  I didn’t expect to find Norman castles and churches in Sicily but it is hard to deny the thick bulky structures when you find them.  I also didn’t expect to find detailed decorative elements reminiscent of the Middle East but there they were.  What became Sicilian Norman art is a blend of cultures and adds an exotic flavor to an already interesting mix of Greco-Roman and Baroque architecture on the island.  Once you factor in 19th century restorations with a mind of their own, you find can find some complex and beautiful churches.  I found one such example of blended art in the little town of Erice and the Chiesa Matrice Church.

Beautiful ceiling details

Beautiful ceiling details

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