101 Places in Italy: A Private Grand Tour: 1001 Unforgettable Works of Art
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"The author has achieved the near impossible…a must-squeeze-into-hand-baggage or the back pack."—House and Garden
"A minor classic."—The Times Literary Supplement
This personal, and wonderfully well-informed, selection of the most rewarding towns, cities, villages, and individual monuments in Italy is the definitive guidebook for the discerning traveler. The author has been visiting Italy, for study, for work, and for pleasure, for over fifty years, and is the perfect companion for those who want to know about more than the obvious attractions.
As well as comprehensively covering the finest sights in the major tourist centers of Rome, Florence, Venice, and elsewhere, Francis Russell discusses and describes the neglected, or little-known, masterpieces that are still to be found the length and breadth of the Italian peninsula. In a book that will educate and astonish the expert as surely as it will guide and inform the first-time visitor, the author chooses and explores palaces and gardens, city squares and lonely churches, frescoes and altarpieces, great museums and tiny ruins that together provide a richly textured portrait of a country where the history and patterns of civilization lie more thickly than anywhere else on earth.
This book will immeasurably enhance and enrich the visitor's experience of the most visited country in the world, by virtue of its sensitivity, its wisdom, and its deep knowledge, and by means of its vivid, eloquent, and entertaining exposition.
Francis Russell was educated at Oxford. He is deputy chairman of Christies and specializes in Old Master and Italian paintings.
landscape which flows into that of the adjacent Preaching in the Wilderness. On the right wall of the outer section, again linked in space, are the celebrated scenes of Herod’s Feast and Salome receiving the Baptist’s Head; the loggia in which she is placed is too deep to convince. Graffiti remind us that even in the sixteenth century monuments were not invariably treated with respect. The Baptistery murals reveal the workings of a painter of ineffable charm at a moment of artistic rediscovery.
artist. There are two other notable churches, the late twelfth-century San Fedele of particularly ingenious plan, and, in a now rather run-down area outside the walls, the Benedictine Sant’Abbondio, which was consecrated by Pope Urban II in 1095. Thoroughly but not unsympathetically restored in successive campaigns, this is an austere masterpiece of Romanesque architecture. The deep polygonal apse is decorated with a major fresco cycle of about 1350. Como is understandably famous for the villas
key roads, Padua began to recover its earlier importance in the ninth century. The university was founded in 1222, and the death of the future Saint Anthony of Padua in 1231 meant that the city became the centre of his cult. The signoria passed in 1337 to the Carrara, who succumbed to the Venetians in 1405. Venetian rule hung lightly on the city, which continued to enjoy considerable wealth. The French arrived in 1797, to leave in the wake of Napoleon’s defeat; their Austrian successors withdrew
Museo del Opera del Duomo, where the justly famous cantorie by Donatello and Luca della Robbia complement earlier sculpture from the cathedral, and have now been joined by Ghiberti’s celebrated reliefs from the Porta del Paradiso of the Baptistery and by Michelangelo’s late Pietà. It is in quieter places that it is more easy to understand the successive waves of Florentine taste: at Orsanmichele, where Daddi’s altarpiece glows by candlelight in Orcagna’s massive tabernacle of 1349–59; in the
apartments of the piano nobile. The sequence begins with the Salone di Ercole, above the vestibule, the five arches of which are so conspicuous an element of the façade. The arches are answered in the decoration of the room, the murals of which are by members of the équipe brought in when Federico Zuccaro took over the project after the death of his more gifted elder brother, Taddeo, in 1566. Next comes the circular domed chapel, where the frescoes are largely by Federico himself. Beyond is the