il duomo di siena

the duomo in siena … words don’t really describe it. the cathedral was built between 1215 and 1263 using black and white marble, black and white being the colors of siena. the amazing walls and ceilings and the illustrated music manuscripts are from the adjoining piccolomini library; the frescoes tell the story of cardinal eneo silvio piccolomini of siena, who became pope pius ii (and was the uncle of pope pius iii), and the books are from his collection. click on any photo to enlarge it.

the anatomical waxes

in tuscany, at the natural history museum, there is a collection of anatomical waxes. i quote directly from the placard at the museum: unique in the world for the quantity and beauty of its pieces, this collection was the inspiration of the grand duke peter leopold of lorraine and felice fontana, the first director of the museum, who conceived it as a means of teaching anatomy without directly observing a corpse. it consists of more than 1400 pieces, done between 1771 and the second half of the 1800’s, contained in 550 showcases presently on display in 9 rooms. enjoy, although…

cyprus 5: abandoned places

we came across a few abandoned villages during our drive through southern cyprus. sometimes, a village has been abandoned because an earthquake or water problem rendered it unlivable; however, it may be the case that a village was abandoned because it had been a turkish-cypriot village before the turkish invasion, and the residents left it for safety in the north.