Leonardo and Mona Lisa: Still Famous After All These Years

More than five centuries after his birth on April 15, 1519, Leonardo da Vinci and his Mona Lisa are still making headlines. A front-page article in the New York Times claims that the Saudi Cultural Ministry, which bought Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi (Savior of the World)...

Mona Lisa’s Latest Adventure: A Covid Birthday

Leonardo’s muse, Mona (Madame) Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, was born 541 years ago on June 15, 1479.  Few art works have experienced more adventures—and misadventures—in and out of the frame. The Florentine matron has shed her stately robes and appeared in...

The Magnificent Passion of Lorenzo de’ Medici

The Medici, the dynasty that governed Renaissance Florence, blazed into the 21st century in a three-part series, now streaming on Netflix.  While many dispute its historical accuracy, the lavish production captures the seize-the-day spirit of the age.  Certainly...

I Wrote A New Book on Italy–And It’s Free!

  Not even a global pandemic can stop people from doing what they love. Over the last few months, we’ve seen dancers dance; singers sing; actors perform—wherever and whenever they could.  The same is true of writers. While sheltering at home in California, I...