I've had a great time compiling a new feature on the website entitled Tracy's Places. In Pieces of Tracy, Tracy and her alter ego Felicia live in two real and identifiable cities. I worked to make sure that the locations were accurate and true-to-life. I've visited them all and in some cases I use my own photos as reference. This section will keep expanding, so make sure you check in frequently.
So you're visiting Rome and want to see the new pope, Francis? This article breaks down your options, including travel companies, tour guides, and (I didn't know about this) The Pope App!
Although I haven't seen any pope in person, it's helpful to know that he's only a click away in our modern day of wonders. I understand he likes to Tweet as well.
What propitious timing. The May issue of Vanity Fair has a cover story on Audrey Hepburn's life in Rome. The article discusses a new book, Audrey in Rome, written by her son, Luca Dotti, who writes about Hepburn's lifelong romance with the Eternal City. Long associated with her role in 1953's Roman Holiday, Hepburn married Andrea Dotti in 1969 and settled down in Rome where she lived until 1986. The article has some beautiful photos and includes reminiscences by Dotti of his mother's time there.
So wonderful to see Rome on the cover of such a prominent American magazine. Clearly, Hepburn was not alone in her affection for this timeless city.
If you're a fan of Roman and its rich history, you should check out the American Institute for Roman Culture. They are committed to preserving Rome's cultural heritage through various channels including excavations and academic programs. AIRC has a strong presence on Twitter and Instagram. If (like yours truly) you love looking a photos of Rome's great landmarks , find them on Instagram @saverome.
On this date in 44 B.C. Julius Caesar met this demise at the hand of his fellow Roman senators, including Marcus Brutus ("Et tu, Brute?"). When I went to Rome I learned that the place where Caesar was assassinated is now a cat sancturay. Caesar was killed in a structure called Pompey's Theater which is part of the larger Largo di Torre Argentina. Read more here and check out details on the cats here. "Et tu, Fluffy?"
Rome is in the news again this week after a swift conclave that resulted in the election of a new pope, Francis I. The photo on the left is one I took when I visited the Vatican during the same trip that inspired Pieces of Tracy. St. Peter's, The Sistine Chapel, the Vatican art collection, all lived up to the hype. Among my favorite places to visit were the rooms filled with Raphael's stunning frescoes (below) which recently underwent a 30-year renovation (scant seconds in Vatican time). Here is a New York Times article with details.
Among the various places in Rome that my heroine Tracy visits is the Sistine Chapel. Now, as Cardinals gather to select a new pope, this majestic space with its glorious Michelangelo figures still holds a special place not only in the Vatican but in art history. If you can't visit in person, I highly recommend Ross King's juicy book Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling which chronicles the intense relationship between Michelangelo and Pope Julius II.
I'm currently re-reading "The Portrait of a Lady", one of my all time favorite books by my favorite writer, Henry James. The depth of character development, the evocative language, the rich dialogue--I could go on and on.
Here's one delightful sentence describing his heroine's visit to Rome: "She had always been fond of history, and here was history in the stones of the street and the atoms of the sunshine."