Villa Palagonia, Sicily’s Baroque garden of monsters

Villa Palagonia, Sicily’s Baroque garden of monsters

  Monsters, mirrors and 18th century excess all meet at Villa Palagonia, one of Sicily’s strangest attractions.  Villa Palagonia is one of the earliest examples of Sicilian Baroque architecture, begun in 1705 by architect Tommaso Napoli as a summer residence for Don Francesco Ferdinando Gravina, fifth prince of Palagonia. Located in the seaside town of […]

24.12.2016 · Filled under: Architecture, Art, Europe · Tags: , · 2 Comments »
Island-hopping in the Atlantic with Azores Airlines

Island-hopping in the Atlantic with Azores Airlines

Black volcanic cliffs shrouded in mist, fantastical ferns and flowers that look like props from an episode of Star Trek. I’ve just returned from a big adventure, island-hopping in the Atlantic Ocean with Azores Airlines (SATA). The two-island 12-day package took us on a voyage of discovery to a part of the planet we’d never […]

An auld tale of Scotland on Robert Burns Night

An auld tale of Scotland on Robert Burns Night

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,  And never brought to mind?  Should auld acquaintance be forgot,  And auld lang syne!    – Robert Burns (1759-1796) A box in the basement.  A brittle album, faded images tucked behind cellophane, a flood of feeling. As my husband hustled up some tea, I remembered my own auld lang syne and a very […]

25.01.2014 · Filled under: Europe, Legendary Landscapes · Tags: , , · 15 Comments »
ArtSmart Roundtable: Reopening of the Mauritshuis Museum, Netherlands, June 2014

ArtSmart Roundtable: Reopening of the Mauritshuis Museum, Netherlands, June 2014

Hello 2014! The ArtSmart Roundtable–an art-savvy group of travel bloggers–launches a new season with a look at Art to See in 2014. Scroll to the end of this post for links to my colleagues’ posts.  l’ll be writing about one of the most-anticipated events of 2014’s culture calendar: the reopening of the Mauritshuis Museum, The […]

11.01.2014 · Filled under: Art, ArtSmart Roundtable, Europe, Netherlands · Tags: , · 10 Comments »
Brussels’ fabulous Atomium

Brussels’ fabulous Atomium

It was immense fun to visit the Atomium in Brussels, Belgium, one of Europe’s top landmarks and icon of mid-century design. Gleaming under beautiful Belgian skies, the Atomium is both symbol of Brussels and the space age. Constructed as centerpiece of the 1958 World Exhibition, the Atomium’s mid-century architecture expresses the optimism and confidence of […]

05.08.2013 · Filled under: Architecture, Belgium, Europe · Tags: , · 11 Comments »
In Brussels, the visual enigmas of René Magritte

In Brussels, the visual enigmas of René Magritte

Green apples, bowler hats, clouds–the imagery of Belgian Surrealist painter René Magritte (1898-1967) is familiar to all of us. His personal iconography has pervaded popular culture via countless movies (Toys, I Heart Huckabees, The Thomas Crown Affair), posters (The Exorcist), video games, television shows (the Simpsons), music videos and rock album covers (Paul McCartney owns many of his […]

06.05.2013 · Filled under: Art, Belgium, Europe · Tags: , · 7 Comments »
Rijksmuseum reopens! Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum reopens! Amsterdam

Is the Rijksmuseum now the best museum in the world? I wondered as I entered the Netherlands’ national museum for the invitation-only press preview earlier this month. Years ago, when I first visited the Rijksmuseum as an art history student, I remember floorboards creaking as I approached Rembrandt’s iconic Night Watch. The  Dutch Masters were […]

12.04.2013 · Filled under: Architecture, Art, Europe, Netherlands · Tags: , · 9 Comments »
Postcard from Europe: Rijksmuseum countdown, Amsterdam

Postcard from Europe: Rijksmuseum countdown, Amsterdam

Walking through Amsterdam’s Museumplein tonight after a gala candlelit dinner at the Concertgebouw, I noticed the Rijksmuseum is keeping its own ‘night watch’ countdown until the museum’s official reopening to the public on April 13.  The building looks spectacular from the exterior and I can’t wait to see the interior tomorrow at the press preview. […]

03.04.2013 · Filled under: Architecture, Art, Europe, Netherlands · Tags: , · 5 Comments »
The exquisite 6th century mosaics of San Vitale, Ravenna

The exquisite 6th century mosaics of San Vitale, Ravenna

The 6th century mosaics in the Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy, have been drawing pilgrims, art historians and lovers of beauty for nearly a millennium and a half. In all my Italian travels, how did I avoid visiting Ravenna for so long?  It was always slightly out of my way, easy to postpone. My art […]

04.03.2013 · Filled under: Architecture, Art, Europe, Italy, Spirituality · Tags: , , · 19 Comments »
Welcome to Narnia: The Malvern Hills, England

Welcome to Narnia: The Malvern Hills, England

“It all began with images; a faun carrying an umbrella, a queen on a sledge, a magnificent lion.” So author C.S. Lewis explained the inspiration for his epic children’s fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia. One of the books’ most memorable images is that of a gas lamp glowing in a snowy wood just beyond the wardrobe that serves as a […]

13.12.2012 · Filled under: Europe, Legendary Landscapes, Myths & Legends · Tags: , , · 4 Comments »
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