Traveling to Italy? Read this before you go…

Last year I had the opportunity to teach an art history class in Florence and Rome. I spent some time preparing the students for our trip by talking a little about things to consider when in Italy (certain rules of etiquette etc.). This did not go over well and we had a few issues (“Is that the only salad dressing you have? Can’t I have it on the side? Ewww, I don’t eat meat. Can I have a dish of olive oil and balsamic? Where can I get a real breakfast?”) etc. etc. The link below offers a few tips for new travelers to Italy which I think is quite helpful.

Rules for Americans in Italy

(from Huffington Post- HuffpostTaste)


Restoration of Colosseum in Progress!

Restorers have completed cleaning 5 arches in the Colosseum in Rome.  The building has been covered with a black coating due to pollution.  Since they have closed some of the streets near the Colosseum to traffic, the damage has been lessened. It is thought that the entire restoration process will take 5 years. The 25 million euro project is being funded by the CEO of Tod’s, Diego della Valle. Tod’s is a major fashion and luxury design company.

Italy Magazine: (July 1, 2014)

also see:

Wall Street Journal (April 25, 2014)

Before and after sections of the colosseum (images courtesy WSJ)

Scaffolding on Colosseum

Scaffolding on Colosseum

(image courtesy of

New exhibit on Leonardo

The Republic of San Marino is hosting “Leonardo3 – The World of Leonardo,” an exhibition dedicated to the Renaissance genius, his visions and projects, that allows visitors to dive into his world through interactive experiences and the reconstructions of his machines.
(Note: I had to look this up but here is the info on San Marino: “It is an enclaved microstate surrounded by Italy, situated on the Italian Peninsula on the north-eastern side of the Appenine Mountains.” Population approx. 30,000

Saving Italy’s art

madonnaThis topic is exactly was my students were studying last spring/summer – the problem that Italy cannot afford to restore all its works of art and architecture. Architectural monument restorations are being funded by fashion houses, and now citizens have to vote which art works get saved. Hmmmmmmm

No Mona Lisa for Italy

The French Minister of Culture has denied a request by the Italian Committee for Culture and Heritage to loan the Mona Lisa (in the Musee du Louvre, Paris) to Florence for a centennial exhibit.  Hmmm….

I am curious as to what people think of this denial. Do you think they should have considered the request?



Sistine Chapel update

Thousands of LEDs to Illuminate Sistine Chapel..

In 2014, visitors entering the Sistine Chapel will be greeted by a gleaming light, seeming to radiate from the chapel’s spectacular frescoes.

That impression will be achieved thanks to 7000 LEDs which will illuminate the Sistine Chapel beginning February 18, 2014, to coincide with the 450th anniversary of the death of Michelangelo.

The hue of the LEDs and the color spectrum were adapted with scientific rigor to the pigments of the paintings by Michelangelo and the other artists of the 15th century who worked on the chapel’s art. The precise orientation of the light will evenly illuminate the walls and the ceiling, without blinding the visitor.

The LEDs will be installed in a way as to recreate a natural light effect, and will be oriented to make it seem as though the light beam came directly from the windows. In addition to a better quality of lighting, the use of the LEDs will also ensure significant cost savings, with an estimated power consumption reduced by 60 percent.

– See more at:

View of the Sistine chapel vault

View of the Sistine chapel vault