Florence archway
Art | Art History, BLOG, History, Italy, Travel

What Was the Italian Renaissance?

Simply stated, the Renaissance was a series of events that triggered the end of the Dark Ages, aka, the Middle Ages. Loosely speaking, think of the Dark Ages as people who’s thoughts and deeds were limited to the rules of the church and/or their local rulers. They couldn’t speak their minds openly, or anything else.

A Florentine family of well-educated wealthy bankers known as the Medici family, were huge fans of the concept of Free Thinking (a la Dante Alighieri). Also, they were enamored with the Greeks and the Roman Empire from 1,000 years earlier. The Greeks and Romans had tons of art, architecture, literature, mathematics, science, etc. After the fall of the Romans, during the nearly 1,000-year-long Dark Ages, much of this had been squelched.

Along Comes the Money

Being Art aficionados, the Medici paid a bunch of artists to learn to paint and sculpt like the ancient Greeks and Romans did. That began a rush of artists and architects, and writers that all wanted to create from their own minds, rather than only what the church approved.

This formed a groundswell of popularity around Europe, and the art became the ‘voice’ of expression that people hadn’t known for 1,000 years.

This, in a nutshell, took about 200-ish years to unfold. A guy named Giorgio Vasari coined the term “Renaissance,” which is French for “Rebirth.”

P.S. Many of those artists, architects, and writers became so famous that their names and works have remained famous for over 500 years. They were Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Dante, Raphael, Donatello, Brunelleschi, Galileo, Botticelli, and oh, so many more wonderful people.

P.P.S. I know this is brief and leaves out tons of info, but please consider the forum. If you would like to learn more about the Renaissance, please read my book “FLORENCE Gems & Giants” available on amazon.com/author/pcivalleri 

Enjoy, Patty

 

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Archaeology, Art | Art History, BLOG, History, Italy, Travel

6 walled cities of Tuscany – with a great surprise at the end

Many luxury travelers have seen the major tourist cities in Italy such as Rome, Florence, and Venice. They have probably even visited the second-tier hot spots of Cinqueterre, the Amalfi Coast, and Sienna.

An area of Italy that is difficult to visit is Tuscany. Not because it is hard to find nor even hard to get to. But because it is so vast and there are hundreds of tiny pockets of Italian goodness. Point of fact: did you know that there are over 200 ancient walled cities in Tuscany? Most of the guidebooks take you through the same few towns and villages, so when you get there, they are packed with tourists.

Here, I will take you through several of these ancient towns and villages, beginning with the most common, and ending with a real surprise that is certainly off that beaten path. Along the way, take the time to enjoy some of the most excellent Tuscan wines from the Chianti region.

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Patty Civalleri, Author
Archaeology, Art | Art History, BLOG, Italy, Writing

The Secret to Writing

RESOLUTION: I WILL WRITE AND PUBLISH 2 BOOKS THIS YEAR – but HOW?

People often ask me how I manage to get any writing done with this crazy lifestyle of mine. It’s easy. I just sit down and write. I don’t think about it, I don’t put pressure on it. I just sit down and write. 

Many folks have told me they would LOVE to write a book, but they don’t know how to get started, or how to fit it in. But I guess I see it backward: I am constantly trying to figure out how to fit my crazy life into my writing time. Odd, I know.

I wasn’t born a writer, or perhaps I was. My 92-year-old Dad was a writer and still is. My 28-year-old son is a writing fiend. So I suppose that writing was supposed to come naturally to me as well. 

I was born with nothing

But I am one of those people that nothing came naturally to, so I overcompensated by over-learning everything until each thing became natural. Like playing classical piano, or singing, or cooking, or sailing, or photography, or graphic design, or computer technology, or science, or photoshop, or biology, or archaeology, or history, or or or…

Crazy is what crazy does

I have incorporated most all of these things (and many more) into my normal life’s flow. For example, I have served on the Director’s Council of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA for 17 years, I have built over 250 websites for just as many clients, I have taught Photoshop, I have photographed the darkest corners of our ancient world for nearly two decades, and I am the Commodore of a boating club. Periodically, I perform random acts of Public Relations for myself and others. I have a family, a dog, and three elderly senior loved ones that need consistent love and attention. I published a book last year that needs daily marketing or it dies. I love to travel, so I do. I was away from my home a total of five months during 2017. So yeah, I have a bit of a crazy lifestyle.

Fall in Love

With all of this going on, what keeps me motivated to write? That’s easy. I love the subject. Last year, I published a book about a city that I had unexpectedly fallen in love with: Florence, Italy. This year, I fell in love with the city of Venice. Trips to Italy and research for these books has made me fall in love with Renaissance Art History. These topics and images roll around in my head 24 hours a day. I dream about them, I hear their whispers, I see their images reflected in my morning coffee, I simply can’t stop thinking about them. Clearly, I am in love. And when you are in love, nothing can stand in your way.

This must be the secret to writing: let yourself fall hopelessly and madly in love with your topic, and it will write itself. The words will flow with consistent grace from your keyboard; the ideas will flourish in your mind’s eye and it will all happen with an ease and a style that will invoke envy in all who peer into your office. Well, maybe that, plus some serious research and some much-needed elbow grease!

Just fall in love.
Happy writing, Patty

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Art | Art History, BLOG, Italy

How to Make a Bronze Statue in 7 Easy Steps

This technique is called ‘the Lost Wax’ method. It is the method that Master Andrea del Verrocchio used to create his timeless sculpture of “David” among others. This method was widely used during the Renaissance period, and is still used by some masters today.

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Art | Art History, BLOG, Italy

Master of the Masters

Andrea del Verrocchio

(pron “ver-OH-kee-oh”)

Born Andrea di Michele di Francesco de’ Cioni, he was trained under a master goldsmith, Giuliano Verrocchio, from whom Andrea took the name, which translates to “true eyes.” He grew up with Lorenzo d’Medici (aka, Lorenzo the Magnificent) as a close friend. Although a bachelor for life, he lived with and supported his sister and her children.

For quite some time, Verrocchio was considered to be one of the most important artists in Florence. Lorenzo and Piero de’Medici were

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Art | Art History, BLOG, History, Italy, Travel

10 Fun Things You Should Know About the Florence Renaissance

Sure. We all know the names: Michelangelo, da Vinci, Botticelli, Dante, Raphael, Galileo, the Medici, Machiavelli, Donatello, and many more.  But did you know that they were all from the city of Florence? And did you know that most of these guys actually knew other?

There are so many fun things about that period of time that will tickle your fancy so much, that once you know them, you’ll want to hop on a plane and go to Florence. Tomorrow morning.

There are so many interesting facts that I wrote a whole book about them. But for this post, I’ll stick to the first 10 quickies that pop into my head as I write this. You can find the book right here on Amazon.

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Art | Art History, BLOG, History, Italy

FLORENCE: Finding Verrocchio

Andrea del Verrocchio ~ Master of the Masters
1435-1488

Goldsmith, painter, sculptor

Born Andrea di Michele di Francesco de’ Cioni, he was trained under a master goldsmith, Giuliano Verrocchio, from whom Andrea took the name, which translates to “true eyes.” He grew up with Lorenzo d’Medici as a close friend. Although a bachelor for life, he lived with and supported his sister and her children.

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