Thursday, December 31, 2015


This sunny resort, famous for its lemons, was one of the first of Italy’s powerful maritime republics, trading with Islamic ports and bringing silks to the West. It was a vassal of Byzantium until AD 839 when it went its own way, until being conquered by the Normans in the 11th century. 
New Year's Eve is still celebrated in Amalfi on 31 August, the New Year according to the Julian calendar adopted by Byzantium. 

Monday, December 14, 2015


The Tazza Farnese, one of the largest, figural banded agate vessels known, has only recently been reinstalled in the galleries dedicated to the antiquities of the Farnese collection within the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. The book Medusa's Gaze is a popular presentation of the history of this cup.
Belozerskaya’s history of the tazza can be divided into two chronological periods, before and after its acquisition in the 1450s by King Alfonso of Aragon. 
The modern history is filled with rich detail. One is reminded of the use of the tazza’s interior scene as a source of inspiration for Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. Its retention by the Farnese family and the reasons by which it entered the collections in Naples are well-documented.