Tag Archives: Florence

Italian Art for Travelers


Today's Artist at Uffizi Courtyard

Destination: Italy

Book: Art for Travellers Italy, The Essential Guide to Viewing Italian Renaissance Art by Ann Morrow and John Power, with Illustrations by Matt Morrow and Erin Round

Another lovely book by Interlink Publishing, Art for Travellers: Italy, provides a college-level class in Italian Renaissance that can be useful to the armchair traveler as well as the ones who actually get on the plane and land at Venice’s Marco Polo airport. (And wouldn’t the adventurer be thrilled to know an airport was named after him?)

This book is paperback size, but very heavy because of the quality paper used.  And now I have to tell you something that may get the most delicate book lovers rather upset.  I sometimes cut relevant pages out of books like this, so that I can take them with me, and stick a few in my purse on the day that they apply to the place we are visiting. I bring them back and stuff them back in the proper place, so I can refer to them in the future.

In my Italy book, pages 181-186, for instance, are loose because after surveying the book and reading other travel recommendations, I knew that I wanted to see the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice. It turned out to be my favorite site in Venice, and these pages, with their lucid descriptions of Tintoretto’s masterful work added a lot to my enjoyment of what can be an overwhelming experience. Walls, ceilings, even stairwells covered with the enormous crowded paintings by Tintoretto, every figure telling a story…the Scuola Grande truly inspires awe.

I also tore out the section on Florence, and used their handy guide, complete with floor plan to lead me around the Uffizi.  I laugh every time I think of a native Italian speaker talking about going to the office to view all these masterpieces of art.

At any rate, whether you approve of my method or not, I highly recommend Art for Travelers: Italy for a crash course in the glory of the Italian Renaissance.

So do you want to talk about tearing up books? I know that some people will not even mark on a book.  I make margin notes all the time.  It is a kind of conversation with the author. Just like we have here.

Love and Travel and Books

In February, 2009, I wrote: Valentine’s Day is coming up. It is unavoidable. I might as well write about it in terms of books and travel.

Romantic Bookmark
Romantic Bookmark

Here are my random choices of romantic things.

Most romantic couple:  Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning

Most romantic city:  Florence (And the Brownings just happened to live there!

Most romantic line of poetry:   I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach….

Most romantic book about travel I have read: Eat, Love, Pray

Most romantic restaurant I have eaten in: Rainforest Hideaway,  Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

Most romantic hotel I ever stayed in: Princess Village, Koh Samui Thailand (Unfortunately now gone upscale as the Le Paradis Boutique Resort and Spa. Ahh, you not only can’t go home again, you can’t go Koh Samui again.)

Here’s a little gift for your Valentine:

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Photograph by “goranpg” from Flickr, Creative Commons license