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Category: Italy

Big Mistakes Don’t Mean You Won’t Make It Big

Success. It’s something most parents want for their children. It doesn’t matter when or where you live, no parent wants to see their child struggle. Of course people define success differently. Take the Vikings for example. Success for them  included going out into the world and doing some really great looting and conquering. That’s how it went for Bjorn Ironsides, anyway. Hairy Britches and his son Vikings were sort…

Have you met Da Vinci’s little devil?

“Giacomo came to live with me on the feast of St. Mary Magdalene 1490, aged 10 years” (from the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci) It was a warm July day when the door creaked open at the Corte Vecchia, the old medieval castle turned art studio. Situated across the street from Milan’s cathedral, it was once home to the notorious Visconti family. Despite its proximity to all things holy, the castle…

Borgia 101: Welcome to Borgialand

Part 2 Last week on Borgia 101: Rodrigo Borgia became Pope, Della Rovere was seething, and the Borgia kids were so excited they were doing the chicken dance. When in Rome . . . Now as we said before nepotism was a common thing among the Roman clergy at the time. There was a two-fold benefit to this. If you were able to stuff the college of Cardinals with friends and family, your position was much safer…

Borgia 101: A New Pope . . .The Saga Begins

PART ONE Nothing says happy home life like a little blackmail, sexual depravity, and gratuitous killing. Well, if your last name is Borgia that is. The list of bad behaviors for the Borgias includes incest, orgies, poisoning—heck, if it’s possible, there’s probably a rumor they did it.  What, however, in the tangled web of speculation and innuendo is true and what’s not? Let’s take a closer…

The Island Whose History was Changed by a Nose

Ahh, the nose, the center of olfactory pleasure and pain. Raise it in defiance or wrinkle it in disgust. There’s the Roman nose and the hawk nose; the Nubian nose and the snub nose. Only once, however, did a nose change the course of history. Put your P.J.’s on and snuggle up, while I tell you the true tale (more or less) of Greeks, Arabs, and the island of Sicily…