Category Archives: architecture

In an English Plague Village

Eyam Hall (from back garden)

Our book on the Peak District in England’s Midlands says of Eyam that “it will forever be known as the ‘plague village.’” As the story goes, the plague arrived in Eyam in 1665

In the house now known as the Plague Cottage . . . then occupied by a travelling tailor, who inadvertently introduced the plague to Eyam in a parcel of flea-infested cloth from London. The rector of Eyam, William Mompesson, persuaded most of the inhabitants to stay and seal off the village, even though many died from the disease. . . . [Simon Kirwan, Peak District Villages, pp. 44-45] Continue reading

In Sicilia: Imagination Unbound

Museo Regionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Belmonte-Riso, internal courtyard

Imagination encircles the world.
Albert Einstein

On our return trip from Siracusa to Palermo, we could see, off in the distance, a great flat-topped mountain, covered with snow. When, later, we consulted our map, we realized it must have been Mt. Etna. Continue reading

In Sicilia: First Days in Siracusa

Cattedrale di Siracusa

As we’d decided not to rent a car, we traveled cross-island to Siracusa via a big, comfortable bus. In Siracusa, we were once again lucky in our lodgings: a light-filled apartment with views of the Ortigia Harbor. First on our list was on-foot exploration, with the sole required stops to see the Burial of St. Lucy, by Caravaggio (1571-1610), and to visit the local market. Continue reading

In Sicilia: Cappella Palatina

Guy de Maupassant said of the Cappella Palatina that it was “the most beautiful that exists in the world, the most stupendous religious jewel cherished by human thought and executed by a master hand.” [Cappella Palatina Brochure] He wrote:

Upon entering our Gothic cathedrals, we experience a severe, almost sad, sensation. Their grandeur is imposing, their majesty astonishes, but does not seduce. Here, we are conquered, moved by that something, almost sensual, that color adds to the beauty of forms. [Sicily: A Literary Guide for Travelers, p.19] Continue reading