Sabine Eiche

Sabine Eiche is a Canadian writer and art historian living in Florence, has published extensively on Italian Renaissance architecture, gradens and drawings. She is an authority on the history and culture of the Duchy of Urbino and his preparing a book about the local couisine.Her most recent book is 'Presenting the Turkey: The Fabulous Story of a Flamboyant and Flavourful Bird'. Visit her website:

Articles by the author


Hear ye! Hear ye!

WikiLeaks has forever changed the way the world reports the news-or has it? In reality, the journalist’s role of disclosing secret documents and messages from foreign diplomats and agents is ...


Here today, gone tomorrow

If you've been living in (or returning to) Florence for a while, you may have noticed that stores here have a way of disappearing practically overnight. One day you go out to get your carton of eggs where you've always bought your eggs, and instead of the friendly


Chilling out in the Renaissance

Some like it cold So, you think that ice-cold drinks are a modern American invention? Well, here's news for you: frosty beverages were the rage in Italy centuries before America was discovered. They became especially popular in Renaissance Florence. French essayist Michel de Montaigne, who traveled through Italy


Mastering the art of good packing

What a relief when nightmares fizzle into nothing. A whole string of them haunted me last summer when I left Florence, my home for 32 years, to move back to Canada. First I dreamt I'd never ever be able to pack up all my books, notes, pottery, dishes, glasses,


Adventures in the Sienese: part II

On the first leg of this adventure (read the first part) we began a trip off the beaten track of well-known monuments and headed south from Florence by car by way of Castellina in Chianti, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Poggibonsi and San Gimignano. The tour continues in Colle Val d'Elsa. &


Adventures in the Sienese: part I

Tourists visiting Italy nowadays are rather like people attending one of those big society events, at which an ultra VIP, say Paris Hilton (if you're young and American), or Prince Charles (if you're old and British) is the guest of honour. What happens? Everyone pushes and gets pushed


On top of the dome, with Pippo

When you think of the story of Brunelleschi's dome of Florence cathedral, you think of complicated construction machinery and mind-boggling mathematical calculations, don't you? Well, you're right. The story is rife with math and machines. But, it's also spiced with plenty of anecdotes, the kind


The Modena connection

The next time you wake up wondering if there's more to Italy than Florence, don't roll over and go back to sleep. Roll out of bed instead. Breeze through the bathroom, jump into your clothes, down some coffee and run to catch the 8:29 ICplus 580 Tacito


Chicory dickory wok

Would you recognize a chicory if you saw one? Chances are that many of you would not. And yet chicory stalks in our midst. It has been stalking in our midst since antiquity.   A few months ago I probably wouldn’t have recognized a chicory either. After hearing


Long live the button!

What do holes and Medieval Crusaders have in common? Buttons! When the Crusaders returned to Europe from the Middle East during the 1100s and 1200s they brought the buttonhole back with them. Although buttons had been used to decorate clothing since ancient times, with the arrival of the buttonhole, they


A penny-pinchers guide to holiday shopping

If you are terribly rich and bursting with ideas for holiday presents, skip this article. If you’re not, read on and relax. I’m going to suggest gifts that are both Italian and affordable.   Are your card-playing friends losing patience with paper-thin cards that


Three masters

Florence can easily boast that she has produced more top-quality Renaissance artists than any other Italian, or indeed European, city. What’s more, she can even boast that she has nurtured the three artists who are undisputedly among the ‘top of the top’—Leonardo da


Money, money everywhere

Any readers who were in Italy in the second half of the 1970s will remember the time when the coin crisis hit its peak. Rumour had it that a certain Far Eastern country was siphoning off all Italy’s coins to make the backs of wristwatches because the value


Food fit for an emperor

What do you see when I say ‘cucumber’? Thin green slices, to put on your face and eyelids after a hard night out or a long day broiling on the beach? Thin green slices on thinly sliced bread, melting in your mouth at tea time? Thin green slices,


Condottieri of Culture

It’s true they don’t bellow ‘Charge!’ but in other respects they’re very like those fearless condottieri of yore, leading their armies of foot-soldiers towards conquest and glory. Undaunted by the blistering summer sun or the lashing winter wind, they stride forward,


Step by step

Have you noticed howsome stairs make you feel as though you’re hobbling along in tight, heavyboots, while others make you feel like you’re floating in a pair of softleather slippers? If you live in one of the narrow houses that make up the bulkof the buildings


Say it with windows

What is a window? Anyone who didn’t grow up speaking ‘computerese’ would probably reply ‘A window is a hole in the wall to let light and air in, and to look out of’.   True. That’s what a window in a building


The trouble with corners

Make believe for a moment that you’re the Medici’s favourite architect Bartolomeo Michelozzo. The year is 1444, and Cosimo the Elder has asked you to design him a new town palace. ‘We,’ says Cosimo, ‘will have our courtyard with columns, arches, archivolts, roundels


Picture this!

Once upon a time there was a grandmother who loved Italy. She wanted her young grandson to learn to love its culture and people as she did. So she bought him two books: Everyday Life in Ancient Rome and Everyday Life in the Renaissance. Back home she had a closer


Medieval town hosts modern masters,

Galleria Continua, located in the heart of Tuscany’s most popular hilltop town, San Gimignano, is a dynamic art gallery that continually offers its visitors some of the most sought-after contemporary art in all of Italy, and indeed the world. At present, the gallery is host to several


Along the highways and byways of Italy,

Few people would argue that Villa Gamberaia is the jewel in Settignano’s crown, though it didn’t always shine as brilliantly as it has in the last hundred years or so. ...

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