Florence: Michelangelo at the Uffizi

Although he considered himself first and foremost a sculptor, Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) was also an accomplished painter. Pope Julius II (1503-1513) commissioned him to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, a project Michelangelo worked on between 1508 and 1512. The great artist later returned to this chapel…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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.…

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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).…

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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…

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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…

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Padova: Eremitani Museums

I like to consider myself as somewhat of a museum tiger. I can spend hours in succession exploring the collections of the largest museums in the world. But Padova’s Musei Civici or Eremitani Museums were just too much for me. They are anything but boring, but simply too large to…

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Padova: Cappella degli Scrovegni

The Cappella degli Scrovegni is arguably Padova’s most famous monument. I had been looking forward to visiting it for quite some time and had made my reservation to see the chapel weeks in advance. These reservations are compulsory, and to protect the vulnerable frescoes inside, a maximum of 25 visitors…

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Padova: Il Santo

The church of Sant’Antonio di Padova, known as Il Santo to locals, is not just any church. It is in fact the second most important church of the Order of the Franciscans, after the Papal Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi. It is huge, but not as large as the…

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Padova: Eremitani

I can only describe the church of the Eremitani in Padova as a pleasant surprise. We still had about an hour to go before we could visit the famous Cappella degli Scrovegni, so we decided to pop in here and have a look. Our expectations were quite low, as the…

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Padova: Palazzo della Ragione

The city of Padova was known as Patavium in Antiquity. It suffered badly during the fifth and sixth century invasions of peoples like the Huns and the Longobards. The city opened its gates to the former in 452, while the latter almost completely destroyed it in 602. Padova was again…

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