Rome

For a solution to the backstop, team up like Rome and Carthage

31 August 2019 9:00 am

The EU is demanding that, in return for a new deal, the UK must come up with a solution to…

How Boris’s Roman predecessors took back control

17 August 2019 9:00 am

The Tories, allegedly a ‘one-nation’ party, are currently imposing Brexit on a divided nation. As a result, some Tory MPs…

Tobias and the angel, attributed to Titian

Angels through the ages

2 March 2019 9:00 am

A good question for your upcoming Lent quiz: where are angels mentioned in the Nicene Creed? I asked this at…

Why I won’t be turning Catholic just yet

17 November 2018 9:00 am

I didn’t get an audience with the Pope when I visited Rome last weekend. But given that he’s a borderline…

‘Apollo and Daphne’, early 1620s, by Bernini

Turning marble into cushions and stone into flesh: the magic of Gian Lorenzo Bernini

13 January 2018 9:00 am

Seventeenth-century Roman art at its fullblown, operatic peak often proves too rich for puritanical northern tastes. And no artist was…

When in Rome…

14 October 2017 9:00 am

I know I keep saying that in Decline of the West terms we’re all currently living in Rome, circa 400…

A kind of posthumous existence: a death mask of Keats, sold at auction for £16,100 in 1996

A beautiful place to die: Italy and the Romantic poets

28 May 2016 9:00 am

People can be mightily protective of their Romantic poets. When I worked at the Keats Shelley House, overlooking the Spanish…

Sex, violence and anticlimax in 16 (very short) chapters

23 April 2016 9:00 am

‘Now I am a mother and a married woman, but not long ago I led a life of crime,’ begins…

The obelisk in the Place de la Concorde. Its transport from Luxor to Paris took seven years and involved the destruction of an entire village

Are Egypt’s obelisks more stunning even than the pyramids?

23 April 2016 9:00 am

On the banks of the River Thames in central London, an ancient Egyptian obelisk, known as Cleopatra’s Needle, reaches towards…

St Paul (detail) by the Byzantine Master,St Sophia Cathedral, Kiev

Following Jesus’s followers

26 March 2016 9:00 am

In his new book Apostle Tom Bissell has an advantage over writers who go looking for Jesus: he can start…

Aeneas and the shade of Dido by Bartolomeo Pinelli.

Gifts from beyond the grave — from Virgil and Seamus Heaney

19 March 2016 9:00 am

When Virgil died at Brindisium in 19 bc, on his way back to Rome from Greece, he left the Aeneid…

RA’s Giorgione show is so rich it’s worth returning to several times

19 March 2016 9:00 am

Walter Sickert was once shown a room full of paintings by a proud collector, who had purchased them on the…

Happy early days: Erika and Klaus in 1927

Was Klaus Mann all Thomas Mann's fault?

27 February 2016 9:00 am

Thomas Mann, despite strong homosexual emotions, had six children. The two eldest, Erika and Klaus, born in 1905 and 1906…

Jhumpa Lahiri's new tongue

20 February 2016 9:00 am

Imagine you’re an unknown young writer whose first collection of stories wins the Pulitzer prize. Your first novel is filmed,…

Coming of age in New York

20 February 2016 9:00 am

I read this, Meg Rosoff’s first novel for adults (though her previous fiction, aimed at teenagers, is widely enjoyed by…

View of the Bay of Naples, 1832

The delights and dangers of the Grand Tour

21 November 2015 9:00 am

The Grand Tour usually culminated with Naples, ragamuffin capital of the Italian south, where Vesuvius offered a visual education in…

Puccini’s villain as swashbuckling hero

29 October 2015 9:00 am

You don’t need to know the opera Tosca to understand and enjoy this book about Puccini’s most notorious villain, Vitellio…

Statue of Augustus in Orange, southern France

Augustus: here was a Caesar! Or at least his great-nephew

5 September 2015 9:00 am

It’s strange that tourists rarely visit the most famous site in Roman history. The spot in Pompey’s assembly hall where…

How strange to feel nostalgic for the 1970s

11 July 2015 9:00 am

The 1960s were already more than halfway over when I realised that I was living through what was supposed to…

Italy’s highest-paid heart-throb, Mastroianni as Guido Anselmi, a film director in ‘creative limbo’

How Fellini made his modernist masterpiece

11 April 2015 9:00 am

Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita was a box-office triumph in Italy in 1960. It made $1.5 million at the box…

Let there be light: Saint Peter’s at dawn

Rise early to see the Vatican at its best

28 March 2015 9:00 am

The sun has only just risen in Rome and we are standing bleary-eyed in a short queue outside the Vatican.…

An earthquake with a Baroque legacy in Sicily

21 February 2015 9:00 am

Syracuse is a handsome place, steeped in a rich historical broth. At the tip sits Ortygia, an island offshoot, which…

The Magna Carta was hopelessly behind the times

7 February 2015 9:00 am

Important as the Magna Carta (ad 1215) has been as a founding myth for everything we hold dear about law…

The Sixtus V cabinet: the supreme example of the art of pietra dura

Cabinet of curiosity: we do not even know for sure the maker of the Sixtus Cabinet at Stourhead

7 February 2015 9:00 am

Italian cabinets and tables decorated with inlaid semi-precious stones known as ‘pietre dure’ were a ‘must-have’ for English milords returning…

Rome, Open City still shocks

15 March 2014 9:00 am

Roberto Rossellini shot his neorealist landmark Rome, Open City while the war still raged and rubble littered the freshly liberated…