The Story of the Eleanor Crosses

The Story of the Eleanor Crosses

If you’ve been to London you may have noticed the elaborate monument in the forecourt of Charing Cross Station. But did you know that there were once twelve "Eleanor Crosses" between London and Lincoln? And did you know the story behind them? The Death of Queen...

Staying in Trastevere, the “Other Side” of Rome

Staying in Trastevere, the “Other Side” of Rome

Across the river from the main city, Trastevere is Rome’s “left bank”. A slightly bohemian area of students and artisans, its old narrow streets packed with bars and restaurants. I’d never explored the district before, but on my recent trip to Rome I stayed in an...

The Renaissance Art of the Villa Farnesina, Rome

The Renaissance Art of the Villa Farnesina, Rome

Rome is full of art treasures. Grand buildings from every stage of history, churches full of statues and other artworks, and much, much more. So it would be easy to miss the Villa Farnesina. I discovered it by chance, passing it on an early morning walk. It was a...

New Excavations to Explore at Rome’s Circus Maximus

New Excavations to Explore at Rome’s Circus Maximus

Last time I was in Rome the Circus Maximus was just a vast grassy area. A pleasant place for a walk, or a picnic perhaps, but nothing more. But now excavations at one end of the site have uncovered some of the original brickwork – seating, shops and more. The...

100 Presepi: A Christmas Exhibition in Rome

100 Presepi: A Christmas Exhibition in Rome

I first discovered presepi in Naples a few years ago. These are individually designed nativity scenes, a traditional Christmas decoration in Italian homes, but also found in churches and other public places. I thought of them as a southern Italian custom, but that was...

Understanding Swedish Rune Stones

Understanding Swedish Rune Stones

Wherever you go in southern Sweden you are likely to find rune stones. These ancient Viking stones with their distinctive red patterns and cryptic markings seem to be everywhere. But what are rune stones, and what were they for? What Were Viking Rune Stones?...

The Ancient Burial Sites of Gotland

The Ancient Burial Sites of Gotland

There are stones everywhere. Wherever you go in Gotland they are scattered on the beach and by the road, in fields and in forests. They must have provided plentiful building material for the ancient labyrinths around the coast. And, as I discovered, these stones were...

Discovering the Fishing Stations of Gotland

Discovering the Fishing Stations of Gotland

I went to Gotland in search of its stone labyrinths and the medieval city of Visby. But, as so often happens, it was the unexpected that caught my attention. And I found two things that took me by surprise. The first was the old fishing stations that are dotted around...

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