Piero del Pugliese Matteo Palmieri Giovanni Chellini

The Marble Bust in Renaissance Florence

Mon 18th June 2018
The marble portrait bust in Renaissance Florence was usually in one form, though had numerous functions. This article considers the busts of Piero Del Pugliese, a Florentine silk merchant and his fellow Florentines, Matteo Palmieri, Giovanni Chellini and Neri Capponi. There is evidence that portrait busts were kept indoors comes from the 1492 inventories of the Palazzo Medici in Florence which states that the portrait busts by Mino da Fiesole of Piero di Cosimo, his wife and his brother, Giovanni, were displayed in architraves above the doors to rooms within the palazzo, visible only to those who visited or lived and worked there. This is corroborated in Vasari’s Life of Mino da Fiesole.
Stella Grace Lyons

Meet Stella Grace Lyons

Thu 19th April 2018
Meet Stella Grace Lyons, the latest art historian to join Sapienza Travel. Stella runs her own Art History courses and she is also a regular lecturer in the UK and Europe for the Arts Society (NADFAS), National Trust, Hebridean Island Cruises, Contemporary Arts Society Wales (CASW), Viking Cruises, Saga's Art Appreciation Holidays, Fred Olsen, Classical Education Forum, WEA, amongst others. Stella also works as an artist's model for the internationally renowned figurative artist, Harry Holland. Read on ...
Place des Voges Paris

Where to Stay in Paris? 3rd Arrondissement

Wed 28th March 2018
The 3rd arrondissement is the second smallest arrondissement in Paris and reached its peak population in the 1860s when nearly 100,000 thousand people called it home. Today, that number has shrunk to about 30,000 giving everyone a little bit more space!
Milan Duomo

Why Milan is a great city for an Art History Tour

Mon 5th March 2018
Milan, Italy’s economic powerhouse and home to its Stock Exchange, is not the first city that comes to mind when considering where to take an art history tour in Italy. What is there to see in this city to whet the appetite of the traveller seeking to whet their cultural appetite? First, the Duomo.
Scoppio del Carro, Florence

Easter rituals and holidays in Florence

Mon 19th February 2018
The Easter holiday is celebrated all over the world and nobody celebrates it quite like the Italians. Notably, the Florentines which makes it a perfect destination for an art history tour to Florence that looks at the religious and miraculous sites and images in Florence. For the Florentines, Easter Sunday is the day when a centuries-old tradition is re-enacted – the Scoppio del Carro or the Explosion of the Cart.
San Vitale

WIN! Two places on our Ravenna tour

Mon 5th February 2018
Hurry! Enter our competition in association with Italia! magazine to win two places on our Ravenna All that Glitters is Byzantine Gold tour this September with Clare Ford-Wille. Entry to the competition is free! The competition closes on 8th March.

What is Art History?

Fri 2nd February 2018
The History of Art strives to provide a historical understanding of the origins, meaning and purpose of images found in cultures around the world.
Arezzo Tuscany

Under the Tuscan Sun - Arezzo

Wed 17th January 2018
Arezzo is a hilltop town located in southeastern Tuscany at the intersection of the Val Tiberina, Val Casentino, Valdarno and Valdichiana. The medieval and Renaissance area of the town tumbles down the hill rather than radiate from its main square like so many other Tuscan hill towns. The main thoroughfare is the Corso Italia which is lined with shops, bars and restaurants.
Paint palette

WIN a Place on a 5-day Painting Masterclass in London

Tue 9th January 2018
Win One of Six Places on a Painting Masterclass in London with Tim Wright, worth over £525 per person. 
Paris Bourse in the 2nd Arrondissement

Where to Stay in Paris - 2nd Arrondissement

Sun 24th December 2017
Paris’ 2nd arrondissement is part of the city’s business district which is centred around the Paris Opera and is home to the former Paris Bourse as well as numerous banking headquarters. The 2nd arrondissement holds the title of Paris’ smallest arrondissement. We explore this tiny district highlighting places to see, where to eat and stay.
Montepulciano Tuscany

Under the Tuscan Sun - Montepulciano

Sun 17th December 2017
The next town to consider when deciding where to visit in Tuscany is Montepulciano. The town sits atop a hill overlooking the rolling fields of Tuscany. A comfortable pair of shoes is recommended when visiting as it is closed to traffic and its a hike uphill to the Piazza Grande. 
A lady looking at paintings in an art exhibition

Ending soon: A List of Art & Cultural Exhibitions in the UK

Fri 15th December 2017
There are numerous wonderful art and cultural exhibitions around the UK. With so many to see, some are missed. This is a list of exhibitions around the UK that will finish in January 2018.
Pienza Tuscany A Renaissance town in Italy

Pienza The Perfect Renaissance Town in Italy

Thu 14th December 2017
Pienza is a small Tuscan town of around 2,500 people which sits at over 400m in the UNESCO World Heritage area of the Val d'Orcia. Pienza may be a small town, but it has a rich history starting with its claim as one of Europe's first urban planning projects.
Bolzano Christmas Market Italy

Christmas Markets in Italy

Tue 12th December 2017
Christmas is a magical time of year for everyone and in Italy, they pull the stops out with their Christmas Markets. We are listing some of the more well-known Italian cities as well as some of the hidden gems of Italian Christmas Markets. Italy is a cultural holiday destination all year round!
Baldachin in St Peter's Church, Vatican City, Rome, Italy

The glory of God (or the Barberini) in St Peters Church

Sat 11th November 2017
When holidaymakers visit Rome, whether, for a cultural holiday or to enjoy the wonderful food and drink in the capital city of Italy, they usually find their way to St Peter's. The church sits within the borders of the smallest country in the world, the Vatican City. Many are not aware that St Peter's Church is really the new St. Peter's which was designed by architects including Bramante, Michelangelo and Bernini. It took centuries to build and in the centre of its crossing stands a mighty baldachin. Glory to God and glory to the Barberini!
Christmas market treats

Highlights of Christmas Markets in Europe

Fri 10th November 2017
Christmas markets are springing up all over Europe. They are most associated with Austria and Germany but have now spread out to many cities in Europe. There is probably one near you. We've taken a look at a few of the Christmas markets in Austria, France and Italy.
Pyramid at the Louvre

Where to Stay in Paris - 1st Arrondissement

Wed 8th November 2017
Where to stay in Paris when there is so much choice? The city is divided into 20 districts. Those numbered, one to nine are the inner districts. They each have their own personalities. Here's a look at the 1st Arrondissement.
Ambrogio Lorenzetti's Sala dei Nove frescoes in Siena Piazzo del Campo and Palazzo Pubblico in Siena Italy

Famous frescoes in Siena .... dance, dance whomever you may be....

Tue 7th November 2017
Siena sits proudly across a number of hills in Tuscany. The mortal enemy of  Florence for many years, the city eventually became part of the Duchy of Tuscany as the Medici wielded their power. During its time as city-republic Sienese government bodies sought to impart their wisdom and political beliefs through a series of frescoes in the Palazzo Pubblico, the seat of government. Ambrogio Lorenzetti was tasked with creating a fresco-cycle in the Sala dei Nove. The walls are filled with heavenly figures, the virtues and everyday people. In amongst these images is a circle of dancers. Who they are and their purpose has generated much debate.
Frescoes in Vicenza Italy

Record numbers holiday in Italy in Summer 2017

Mon 30th October 2017
Italy is proving incredibly popular with tourists In summer 2017, there was an increase in visitor numbers which was forecast to continue into autumn.In total, almost 50 million people spent the night at an Italian hotel during June, July, and August in 2017. Favourite holiday destinations include Rome, Venice, Milan and Florence. 
Isabella d'Este, Portrait by Titian 1536

The First Lady of the World - Isabella d'Este, Marchioness of Mantua (1474-1539)

Sun 22nd October 2017
It was Niccolo da Correggio, a cousin of Isabella's, who described her as the first lady of the world. Isabella grew up in the magnificence of the Este court in Ferrara and spent time in Naples where her grandfather was King. Intelligent, charming and captivating, Isabella was aware that careful management of her public image would enable her to take part in a world dominated by men. Isabella took, what we call today 'editorial control' of her portraits as part of her self-fashioning strategy. 
Lunchtime Talk at the Courtauld Gallery on 25th October 2017 at 1.15pm

Lunchtime Talk at the Courtauld Gallery on 25th October 2017 at 1.15pm

Fri 20th October 2017
Charles Barber, of Sapienza Travel, will be giving a lunchtime talk at the Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, London at 1.15pm on 25th October 2017. Charles will be talking on Pesellino's Annunciation.
Giovanna Bellini's c1500 Madonna of the Meadow

The Art of Looking: Giovanni Bellini's Madonna of the Meadow

Wed 18th October 2017
What can we learn from a painting by looking at it and thinking about what we see? So often, visitors to galleries spend less than one minute looking at a painting. It's usually a quick glance and then a read of the paragraph written about it on the wall beside the painting. There is so much more to see...
Witches at their Incantations

Salvator Rosa: science, superstition and monstrosity in the 17th-Century

Sun 3rd September 2017

Salvator Rosa’s painting, Witches at their incantations, is one of the strangest paintings in London’s National Gallery.  Tucked away in the gallery’s room 32, its darkness and complexity are perplexing to viewers and its meaning is unclear.  A grotesque array of people, monsters and skeletons, emerging from the dark in various degrees of light and shade, it differs from the other works for which he is better known, such as Landscape with Tobias and the Angel and the beguiling portrait, Philosophy.  Whilst it is not Rosa’s only painting in the National, it is probably his weirdest.

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Sabbionetta: The ‘New Rome’ of Duke Vespasiano Gonzaga Colonna

Sat 2nd September 2017

It is only during the last thirty years that visitors have found their way to this small walled, rose-brick town lying in the flat agricultural landscape of Emilia, a short way to the south-west of the ducal city of Mantua.  Yet it is a near perfect example of an ‘ideal city’ of the Italian Renaissance and, unless any evidence is discovered to the contrary, the sole driving force behind its planning and creation was the trusted Habsburg general, Duke Vespasiano Gonzaga Colonna, of the side branch of the main Gonzaga family of Mantua.

Massacre of the Innocents

Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Not just any old massacre – a masterpiece to rival any movie with a mystery of its own

Fri 1st September 2017

The Massacre of the Innocents is a biblical story of such horrific content that many people find it difficult to reconcile with art and aesthetics.  And yet, it is one of the most important and prevalent subjects in the canon.  For those unfamiliar with the New Testament, it is the story of the mass infanticide, ordered by Herod the Great.  According to the Gospel of Matthew, he ordered the execution of all young male children in the area of Bethlehem who may have been a threat to his throne, shortly after the birth of Christ.

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Meet Charles Barber, Founder of Sapienza Travel

Fri 1st September 2017

Charles Barber was born in Trinidad and went on to live in Iran, Malta, Singapore and Australia before settling in the UK. Charles Barber founded Sapienza Travel in 2016 to marry up his passion for travel and for telling the stories of the people and places who coloured European history. Prior to setting up Sapienza Travel, Charles worked for a number of companies in the media and publishing sectors. 

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Hidden in the City of London: The Mercers’ Christ

Thu 31st August 2017

Perhaps like me, you were lucky enough to view the powerful statue of the Mercers’ Christ during the London exhibition, ‘Art under attack: Histories of British Iconoclasm’ held at Tate Britain in 2013. It was a unique occasion to see this life-size sculpture in a public space as it can only be viewed by appointment in the private collection of the Worshipful Mercers’ Company in Ironmonger Lane off Cheapside. Heavily bombed during the war, the Company was rebuilt in 1958 where the Mercers’ Christ is displayed today.  The statue is the only relic that survived the Henrician Reformation, the Great Fire of London and the Blitz. Against so much adversity, how could it possibly survive? The story is both extraordinary and complex.

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Expert interview: Victoria Tate, founder and director, Arterial

Thu 31st August 2017

Victoria Tate is the founder of Arterial, a company which brings the art of rising artists into the workplace. In this interview, Victoria told us what got her interested in art and where in the world she has enjoyed living.

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Cassiano dal Pozzo and Collection Mania. How art and science coexisted in Seventeenth Century Rome

Wed 30th August 2017

The unlikely setting of the library at Windsor Castle was the scene of discovery of one of the most important collections of illustrations in the entire histories of art and science.  Working on a project to explore Rome’s seventeenth Century Academia de Lincei (founded by prince Frederico Cesi in the early 1600s), academic David Freedberg tells of how in 1986 he found hundreds of drawings ‘in a cupboard.’ He describes ‘a spellbinding variety of zoological, botanical, ornithological, mycological and geological specimens’ in a style that were mostly ‘masterfully precise and detailed.  They seemed to come from the nineteenth century, but these were from the seventeenth…’

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Expert interview: Veronique Biddell

Mon 28th August 2017

Veronique Biddell grew up in Paris, graduated from the Ecole du Louvre where she specialised in Greek archaeology. In London, Veronique joined Sotheby's via their Graduate Trainee Programme. Recently, Veronique graduated from Birkbeck, University of London with an MA in the History of Art. Read on to find out which cities and artists are dear to Veronique.

Gianlorenzo Bernini, Apollo and Daphne, 1622-25.  Borghese Gallery, Rome.  Marble.  243cm

Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne. Life in marble

Wed 23rd August 2017

Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne is a fantasy in marble which combines drama and classical narrative with a meticulous replication of natural textures and human form.  It shows the moment when Daphne, a nymph and the daughter of the river god Peneus, is chased by the warrior god, Apollo. The statue is in the Galleria Borghese in Rome which is a "must-see" during holidays to Rome.

The Language of Art History

The Language of Art History

Wed 16th August 2017
Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Commentaries, believed to have been published c. 1455, marks the first known occasion of an artist writing about himself and his work.  In doing so, Ghiberti was faced with the challenge of describing his work in words that conveyed his intentions to the audience who were to read the Commentaries. 
Cultural globe with flags

What is a Cultural Holiday?

Thu 3rd August 2017
What is a cultural holiday? Is it an art history tour? Is it an expert-led tour? Do they include singing, music and dancing? This article seeks to give a definition to 'cultural holiday'. Yours might be different. They are enjoyable and rewarding experiences, however, you define a cultural holiday.