Florence: Giotto at the Uffizi

I will not hide the fact that I consider Giotto di Bondone (ca. 1266-1337) one of the greatest painters of all time. Giotto broke with Byzantine formalism and rigidness and started painting people as people again, with natural forms, intricate details and brilliant colours. His year of birth is uncertain,…

Continue reading

Vicenza: San Lorenzo

The thirteenth century church of San Lorenzo in Vicenza is of course dedicated to Saint Lawrence the Deacon, martyred in 258 (more information here and here). The church and adjacent monastery have always been administered by members of the Franciscan Order. Now Saint Lawrence is not a typical Franciscan saint…

Continue reading

Vicenza: Santa Corona

As the name suggests, the church of Santa Corona in Vicenza is named after the sacred crown of thorns that Jezus was forced to wear after his arrest and that was part of his Passion. The church possesses one of the thorns of this crown as a precious relic. It…

Continue reading

Vicenza: The Duomo

The city of Vicenza was known as Vicetia during the Roman era. It seems to have been of relatively minor importance, but its cathedral goes back a long way. By the third century CE, Vicenza had a Christian community that made use of a Roman building from the first century.…

Continue reading

Ferrara: Palazzo Schifanoia

Our visit to Ferrara in July 2017 not only introduced us to a city with an interesting history, but also to the Ferrarese dialect. We had lunch at a wonderful restaurant called Cusina e Butega, which would be Cucina e Bottega in standard Italian (and Kitchen and Shop in English).…

Continue reading

Ferrara: Castello Estense

The Castello Estense in the centre of Ferrara is arguably the city’s most famous building. Constructed primarily for defensive purposes towards the end of the fourteenth century, it later became the archetypal Italian Renaissance palace. Nowadays, its outward appearance is still quite impressive, but once inside, the castle feels rather…

Continue reading

Ferrara: The Duomo

We parked our car at a large parking lot on the Via Darsena in Ferrara. This car park has a name that sounds rather strange to people from the Netherlands: it is called Ex Mof. In Dutch, ‘mof’ is a rather derogatory term for a German, the Dutch equivalent of…

Continue reading