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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Archaeology, BLOG, History, Italy, Travel

Haunting Images That Will Put Pompeii On Your Bucket List

One of the intrinsic benefits of luxury travel is getting to wander off the main tourist path and visit places that can are stimulating from an intellectual point of view. The ancient city of Pompeii on Italy’s west coast is just such a place. It experienced a catastrophic ending, and within 1 day, it was completely buried for the next 2,000 years. Today, it can be visited on foot thanks to over a century of archaeological excavations. After reading her story, I encourage you to add Pompeii to your bucket list.

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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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Archaeology, BLOG, Egypt, History

Egyptian Archaeologists Dig Up Mounds of Ancient Treasures

October 6, 2016
For Immediate Release
by Patty Civalleri

Archaic Roman Winery, Baths, a New Prayer Temple, and the King Tut Debate

Santa Ana, Ca – Egyptian Archeologists Dr. Mostafa Waziri and Salah Elmasekh will visit Southern California this month to reveal the latest important archaeological discoveries in a public forum to be held at the Bowers Museum on October 23rd. Included in the topics will be the recently-unearthed ancient Roman winery and baths, a new prayer temple, the Avenue of Sphinxes, and current news about the search for Queen Nefertiti behind King Tut’s tomb.

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Art | Art History, BLOG, History, Italy

FLORENCE: Finding Verrocchio

Andrea del Verrocchio ~ Master of the Masters

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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Archaeology, BLOG, History, Peru, Travel

Peru: The Lost MOCHE Civilization – pt 2

If you have never been to Peru, you are in for a brilliant adventure. Just like the US, Peru has many regions, each trumpeting their own unique bent on food, clothing, and language. The national drink there is Pisco, which is mixed in a variety of creative ways, and which you will find everywhere, from fancy brass-and-glass hotel bars to the thatched-roof makeshift liquor-spilling beachfront drinkeries. If wine is your thing, they have a pretty good selection of excellent Chilean wines available in most fine restaurants and markets.

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Archaeology, BLOG, History, Peru, Travel

Peru: The Lost MOCHE Civilization – pt 1

When you get the call, it is difficult to say ‘no’.

“Hey Patty, are you available to disappear for a couple of weeks into Peru?”

“Sure,” I replied. “But we’ve been there already, so why are we going again?”

“We know you’ve already experienced the touristy side of Peru when you went to the Alta Plano, Cuzco, Lima and Macchu Pichu. This time we’re going to Peru’s northern coastal region. We’re going to explore some incredible sites that were once occupied by the ancient and enigmatic lost Moche civilization.”

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Archaeology, BLOG, Egypt, History, Travel

The ABABDA: A Vanishing Culture

The California Science Center, already well-known for their creative and inspiring collection of Brain Food, recently sponsored the Cleopatra Exhibit in 2013. Throughout the afternoon, I  sported memories of footprints in the Sahara sand, the shape of the Queen’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid, and watching as my son started at the top of a huge dune and rolled a quarter-mile down – almost swiftly into the Nile!

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