Piety and Humanity: The Last Years of Caravaggio

As a Maltese man writing about Caravaggio I feel a sense of privileged connection that I am deprived with so many a great artist. Growing up I always remember Sunday visits to the St. John’s Co-Cathedral. A masterpiece which, even without its Caravaggios, ranks, personally, as one of the most awe-inspiring church in Christendom.            …

Historical Impressions II

History as Religion In a secular age that is bereft of the overwhelming, sweeping influence of religion, a gap is left behind that needs filling. Whilst the overthrow of religion is a necessary evil for the sake of a liberal, scientific, democratic society, it nonetheless deprives us of a many numinous needs. And I’m not…

Stalking Beatrice

A Short-Story in Verse   The Timeless Meets the Timely   The shadow of eternity falls painfully On the moment that craves immortality. Memories fortified into cold marble Cast a pall of nascent experiences Seeking to shed their wind-starved wings. The Timeless gods so unfamiliar yet intimate Are a forest, labyrinthine and unkind, That guide…

The City Where Narcissus Blooms

A flowering cathedral   The full name of Florence’s Duomo – or cathedral – is the Santa Maria del Fiore. It is one of the most imposing buildings you’re ever likely to see in Europe. It feels like a Herculean Tetris puzzle crowned by the red-brick masterpiece of Brunelleschi. Beauty tends to attract beauty. Or…

The Happiness Diaries

The flag bearing the fleur-de-lys waved dementedly over the still river. The muted buildings over the Arno were all painted in the uniform colours of sunrise. A kayak rowed past as if sailing through thin air. Where the sun rose over the hills there descended a veiling haze. It was Christopher’s last day in Florence….

Ponte Vecchio Poems

The process of appreciating a city doesn’t always follow a love-at-first-sight model. First impressions are not always the most lasting. Florence needs some time. It can be hard to love a city when you’re surrounded by group after group of tourists using their Yoga experience to bend over into odd positions to take the fifth…

Firenze: A Gallery of Faces

What a waste of time it is to take selfies in Firenze. Don’t do it. I’m sure you’re beautiful, I’m sure you’re mother’s little flower. But no matter how much you pout or pose, sorry to break it to you, you will never be Michelangelo’s David or Botticelli’s Venus.   There’s a lot of things…

Travel Essay on Wanderlust     I could live here. Ever get that feeling, when you’re travelling down an avenue full of life, or having a drink in a small town somewhere, and you just get that optimistic, world-beating whiff of air that hints (loudly) to you: you never want to leave here. And you…

Poems of a Rome Unseen

Ode to Chestnut Sellers   It’s dangerous to want What you’ve never wanted before.   I walked out into the Roman twilight And heard love songs sung By the sellers of roasted chestnuts And I loved whatever they loved.   I wanted the same apartment With the same shrouded lover That they wanted in a…

A Tribute to Italy’s Greatest Rose

  “We live for books.” Those of us who do will have woken up to sombre news this morning. The death of the remarkable semiotician, intellectual and novelist Umberto Eco. The greatest Italian writer of this generation. He was one of those novelists who was a whirlpool of intellectual force. A public intellectual, a relentless…