Tag Archives: architecture

Italian action

A handful of bits and pieces relating to Italy have appeared while I’ve been on my recent Italian research trip… 8 Italian masterpieces that barely survived War after war, occupation followed by revolution, bad luck combined with bad judgment — all have contributed to the destruction of Italy’s art treasures. A fire in the Sala […]

How to see Turin in one day

Every ski season around 490 scheduled flights from the UK land at Caselle, 10 miles north of Turin’s city centre. Charter airlines also use the airport as a jumping-off point for Valdostan resorts like Courmayeur and Cervinia or the Milky Way ski area, and few passengers ever need make the short journey into the city […]

How to do Florence for free

If you love Renaissance art, a trip to the Uffizi is a no-brainer. In no other world museum is time so tangible. Walking from room to room, you’ll see painting transform itself from the Gothic of Andrea Orcagna and Lorenzo Monaco through the High Renaissance of Botticelli and Michelangelo to the 16th-century Mannerism of Pontormo […]

Brothers, where art thou?

The monastery of Poblet sits on a ridge above the village of L’Espluga de Francol, Catalonia, in the hills of the Conca de Barbera. As I arrive, its fantastical towers and fruit groves are shrouded in soupy morning mist. Opposite the main gate, a grim stone cross is flanked by seven squat firs and the […]

Where Spain gets its special sparkle

Cava. The fizz that does the biz without breaking the bank. You might crack open a bottle on a friend’s – but not a really good friend’s – birthday. Or at Christmas – especially at Christmas. Seven bottles of Cava equals one of Champagne. You do the maths. But to a Catalan, Cava means something […]

Great houses from little vineyards grow

On a clear morning, the last two hours of the flight into Cape Town are unforgettable. From seven miles up, I can see the lunar landscape of Namibia’s skeleton coast and the gaping mouth of the Orange River emptying into the Atlantic. Nearing our destination, Table Mountain, its peak obscured by a wispy tablecloth of […]