Make Italy Yours

A blog of Italian Culture and Nature

Category: Italian Art

Finding the veiled Christ in Italy

Sweet Travel

Italy is brimming with religious iconry, churches, crosses and monuments to faith. I have no real Catholic background to draw from so much of it all is mysterious and novel for me.

I am deeply moved by Italians connection to Mary.


I have been to many churches from Palermo to Milan and places in between. I go for all sorts of reasons: the art, the beauty, the stillness, a chance to have a sit down and for a connection, a feeling, an emotion. There are a few places that stand out for me; they captured me at the time of my visit. I would feel my heart swell.

The veiled Christ sculpture in Cappella Sansevero in Naples was one of those.


Another was St Paul outside the walls, (san paolo fuori le mura), Santa Maria Maggiore and Saint John Lateran (san giovanni laterano) all in Rome. The domine quo vadis on the…

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Reason #5380 to love Rome: Bernini’s home and studio


Bernini homeOne of the (many) great things about living in Rome, Italy is keeping your eyes pealed for all the famous authors/composers/sculptors/artists who once called the Eternal City home.

Not surprisingly, one such illustrious resident was the Roman sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680). Although I knew Bernini lived and worked in Rome, I didn’t know where until I saw the plaque. Turns out we were pretty much neighbors, albeit with a pesky four centuries separating us.

Bernini lived and had his studio on Via Liberiana, off of Via Merulana and on the edge of  the Monti and Esquilino neighborhoods, and across the street from the Santa Maria Maggiore basilica. It was in this studio that Bernini carved his greatest masterpieces – Hades and Persephone and Apollo and Daphne.

Apollo and Daphne, berniniApollo and Daphne played an important role in one of my novels (not the Bernini statue version, but the Tiepolo painting believed to have been based on it)…

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Of Masterpieces and Mysticism

Prayers and Piazzas

In the Presence of The Last Supper

Traffic was still light on this Friday summer morning in Milan, and after just a few quick turns our taxi came to a stop on lively Corso Magenta.

Questa è la chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie? Con Il Cenacolo?” (Is this the Santa Maria delle Grazie church? With The Last Supper?) I asked the driver slowly, trying hard to form a complete and error-free question. Perhaps my Italian wasn’t clear the first time I told him our destination. But here he was, stopped on the street, waiting to collect his Euro and wondering why we were still in the car.

I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting. Perhaps a little more fanfare? A big sign and spotlights? At the very least, I thought there would be a crowd of humanity and jumble of street vendors hawking merchandise printed with reproductions…

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Portraits: Alessandra Borsetti Venier – Giampiero Poggiali Berlinghieri

Stefania Bufano Photo

Alessandra Borsetti Venier by Stefania Bufano Alessandra Borsetti Venier

Giampiero Poggiali Berlinghieri Barbagianna Giampiero Poggiali Berlinghieri

Borsetti Venier Poggiali Berlinghieri 2 by Stefania Bufano

Alessandra Borsetti Venier Archivio della Voce dei Poeti

Giampiero Poggiali Berlinghieri


Alessandra Borsetti Venier Barbagianna

Giampiero Poggiali Berlinghieri Barbagianna

Borsetti Venier Poggiali Berlinghieri by Stefania Bufano

Giampiero Poggiali Berlinghieri

Giampiero Poggiali Berlinghieri Barbagianna

Alessandra Borsetti Venier Barbagianna La Barbagianna

Alessandra Borsetti Venier Barbagianna

The Barbagianna: a house for contemporary art

Alessandra Borsetti Venier

Giampiero Poggiali Berlinghieri

Barbagianna at work Barbagianna, at work. Photo by Giampiero Poggiali Berlinghieri

Barbagianna at work 2

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Rome’s Captivating Castel Sant’Angelo


Last week several fellow Italy bloggers met in Rome and spent an entire weekend discovering the delights of the magnificent city. If you check the hashtag #WinterinRome on Instagram/Twitter you will be amazed at the options Rome has in Winters. My fellow bloggers really inspired me to visit Rome in winters and I hope to make it a possibility someday. I felt a little “Rome” sick while following them along so thought of writing a post to make up for it 🙂

Today we will travel to one of Rome’s most enchanting structures- Castel Sant’Angelo. The Castel is my second favorite historic building of Rome, after the Pantheon.

IMG_0369 Ponte Sant’Angelo

IMG_0366 Castel Sant’Angelo

Castel Sant’Angelo is gorgeous and ancient and will leave you spell bound. Built around 135 AD (Yes that long), the Castel served as a mausoleum for the Roman emperor Hadrian and his family. It was also used as…

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Palazzo Vecchio


Overlooking the Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of the Renaissance city of Florence and one of its many gems. The Palazzo is flanked by a statue of David (a replica not the original of course) at its entrance along with statues of Hercules and Cacus.


A huge courtyard welcomes you and leads to the Hall of the Five Hundred (Salone dei Cinquecento). It is awe inspiring to be there standing next to the frescoes by Michelangelo, Vasari and Da Vinci. As it turns out, this very hall is also the largest room in Italy that can be used as a political gathering!!


The entire chamber is spellbinding. I must have spent an hour there itself before moving to see other areas of the Palazzo. One of things I wanted to see was the famed mask of Dante Alighieri, a Florentine poet. The mask has been highlighted in Dan Brown’s Inferno

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Musei Vaticani


by Arielle Tan

I have always wanted to visit the beautiful city of the Vatican. How could someone possibly not be interested in one of the pillars of our civilization? As you may know now, I am a huge art and history lover – the Vatican was and still is a must-go in my travel bucket list. I have to admit that Dan Brown’s novel Angels & Demons fuelled even more my desire to visit this place. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to fulfill my vacation-dream and visit this breath-taking city.

The first thing you will see once you enter the city is the gigantic St. Peters Square and the Basilica. The beautiful architecture, the obelisk, the fountains and of course the angels on the two arches are simply magnificent. I could have spent my whole day looking at every single detail of the famous square but I had to go to the Musei Vaticani – the museum of the Vatican City. I suggest you to buy your tickets in advance or you will have to wait hours before being let in. And the waiting line is monstrously huge.

Galleria carte geograficheThe first section I visited was the amazing Gallery of Maps, my favourite section of the entire museum. Upon entering, you will see on both walls gigantic topographical maps of the whole of Italy. 01_carte_geograficheEach fresco maps the entirety of the Italian peninsula and depicts a perspective view of a particular region. But the most breath-taking part of this gallery is its ceiling. Gaze up to the 120 meters long ceiling filled (by filled I mean without any bare space) of gorgeous paintings. Some call it the Golden Corridor or the Golden Gallery – I could not agree more.

After going through Raphael’s Rooms, the tapestries section and in the Borgia Apartment to admire the incredible frescoes, I finally got to step in the most known and loved chapel in the world: the Sistine Chapel. I don’t think I can even describe my amazement when I saw Michelangelo’s most famous paintings, The Last Judgment and The Creation of Adam (and of course the entirety of the chapel’s ceiling).Giudizio universale. Angeli che annunciano la fine dei tempi Angeli con gli strumenti della Passione, lunetta destraSince we are not allowed to take pictures in the Sistine Chapel, I found some photos online to show you the expertise of this master painter.

This little article does not even give justice whatsoever to the Musei Vaticani. I highly suggest you to go visit one of the richest places we have in the whole world. I feel one visit is not enough to give the due attention and respect to every treasure found in the museum. I could spend hours just watching the ceiling of the Gallery of Maps or even looking at every single detail in the Sistine Chapel… But that will be for another and soon-to-be trip.




Vatican Museums








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