The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci with a painting by the artist that will draw crowds but also pay solemn tribute to the larger-than-life Italian Renaissance painter, architect and inventor. “Saint Jerome Praying in the Wilderness” - an unfinished painting on wood on loan f...

Covered in frescoes by Michelangelo, the Sistine Chapel is truly one of the unmissable spots in Rome. There is something so unworldly about the celestial paintings in this Vatican church. You may be completely surrounded but once you look up, the crowd fades away and you cannot help but be astounded by the detail in the colorful ceiling and walls o...

La Basilica di San Pietro, la più grande delle quattro basiliche papali di Roma e culla del cattolicesimo, risplende di nuova luce. Alcuni se ne sono accorti, per esempio in occasione della messa della Vigilia di Natale, ma senza avere i dettagli e senza sapere, nello specifico, chi, cosa e come avessero cambiato pelle all’edificio a cui hanno lavo...

Imagine a Renaissance-era nun, a mystic in the throes of dying, uttering her visions and predictions in sporadic, rapid-fire bursts while novices stand guard trying to understand and write down her words. This is believed to be what happened to Saint Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi, who died in Florence in 1607. The Italian modernist composer Salvatore S...

At the sumptuous courts of Italy’s most powerful families of the Renaissance, as well as in the Vatican, hosting sumptuous banquets was a major pastime, used especially as a demonstration of wealth and power. Skilled chefs were in high demand. Two of the most famous from the Renaissance, Bartolomeo Scappi and Cristoforo di Messisbugo, worked respec...

From the beach town of New Smyrna, Florida, just a stone’s throw away from Daytona Beach, Rich Varano never imagined his unique talent of sculpting sand would take him to the heart of Christianity. Varano is the artistic director of the “Sand Nativity,” a massive 52-foot-wide sculpture made of sand imported from Jesolo, an Italian seaside resort to...

“In 1581, the Gallery of Maps was inaugurated under pope Gregory XIII Boncompagni, born in Bologna. He was a cultured and strict Pope during the Counter-Reformation, and he loved the Church, science, arts and Italy equally. He was the Pope who implemented the calendar reform we still associate with his name today.” Following this introduction, in a...

When Juno, Queen of Olympus, needed to vent her spleen, she visited Aeolus, god of the winds, on his draughty island off Sicily. Juno was outraged that the fugitive Trojan prince Aeneas was destined to found Rome and destroy Carthage, her favorite city, so Aeolus ordered a cyclone to capsize the Trojan fleet. Ever since, Rome has feared southern wi...

In recent decades, Italy has been repeatedly considered the perfect set for a lot of unforgettable international cinematographic productions, due to its fascinating cities and gorgeous natural beauties spread across the country. Despite there are many Italian directors who decided to portrait our countrysuch as Vittorio De Sica or Federico Fellini,...

Gianni Crea is intimately familiar with the contours of history. Almost every morning for the past six years, he’s opened the doors to the Vatican Museums. He’s experienced the stillness of the Sistine Chapel at dawn, studied the shadows of Caravaggio, and admired the textures of ancient Egypt. “Yes, I’m a key keeper, head key keeper, but I’m st...