Author: 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:
January 10, 2008

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
December 13, 2007

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
November 29, 2007

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
November 15, 2007

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
July 26, 2007

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,
June 14, 2007

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,
May 3, 2007

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
March 22, 2007

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
January 11, 2007

Savoring the seasons

Were you fortunate enough to have grown up with parents or grandparents who kept a vegetable garden? If so, you know the joy of gathering sun-warmed vegetables in their natural habitat. We who are less fortunate are obliged to pick refrigerator-cooled vegetables out of artfully contrived piles at
November 30, 2006

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