Michelangelo's Rome: A Great Gift

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Looking for a Christmas or Hanukkah gift for a traveler in your life? Give my book, A Journey into Michelangelo's Rome! And, if you buy it directly from me, I'll inscribe it to whomever you wish and ship anywhere in the US. 

Price: $25 including shipping and custom inscription

To Purchase: Comment below, and have your PayPal ready. I'll be in touch soon! 

What do the critics say about this little volume?

"Nickerson's book seamlessly interweaves the genres of biography, art history, and travelogue into a convenient . . . portable package."  —Art Blog by Bob

"Well-written, lively without being pat, informative without being burdensome, and at 163 pages, it's easily readable."  Grizzled Old Traveler

"Works well on many different levels . . . a great book."  —Wandalust

"Chockablock with information about the artist and his creations . . . that anyone interested in Michelangelo would want to see."  —New Jersey Star-Ledger

"An incredible read. Heading to Rome? Don't go without this book."  —Wandering Educators

"The richness of your visit will only be compounded by this insightful book."  —examiner.com

"There aren't many times I would be willing to carry two books around on a trip, but . . . this is a great addition to one's day pack."  —gogalavanting.com

"The combination of both personal and professional, with photos and maps, results in an art history book that invaluable to the Roman visitor and a joy for the armchair traveler."  —Bookstorepeople.com

Happy Hanukkah! Merry Christmas! And Happy New Year!

The Holy Eclair: Sacred Souvenirs from an Accidental Pilgrimage

Today my friend, Becky Skaggs Ramsey's latest book, The Holy Eclair, debuts! I was honored to write a blurb for this delightful book, and I highly recommend that you add her book to your shopping list this season.

My blurb for the book... 

"Becky Ramsey’s French immersion is not just one of logistics and language. She finds that the rituals of faith from her Baptist life in South Carolina simply do not translate to the heart of France. Steeped in the language of prayer and reverence, Ramsey discovers the sensuality of faith -- the presence of God in painting and conversation, in letting go of “productivity,” in mothering, in beauty, in apples, cider, wine, and in the perfect French eclair. Her spiritual journey is one for readers of all faiths -- a revelation in the saints who surround us each day and the presence of God beyond the walls and the work of the Church. But even more importantly, hers is a gentle message much needed in the conversation of spiritual shoulds and musts for today’s Christian woman -- that savoring God in the perfect eclair can and should be enough for one day."

I'm including the Amazon link here, but I know your local independent bookstore would love to sell this book to you! 😉

Congratulations, Becky!

Help After Harvey

Here's a way to help in Houston! Can your class or your child's class sponsor a classroom at my niece's school?

Saint Thomas' Episcopal School in Houston was decimated by the flooding. They are scurrying to reopen in temporary buildings and rented space so that their families, many of whom lost everything, can get back to work -- or work on their flooded homes or businesses.

My brother-in-law, Danny Kahalley, is the Director of Admissions at STE, and Lydia, Bambino's cousin and best-friend-in-the-whole-wide-world, just started Kindergarten there.

Lisa Kahalley, my sister, is matching STE classes (grades PreK - 12) with people who can help get them enough supplies so that they can get started again.

Can you help? Maybe your child's class can adopt a class of kids their age. Or your church? Your book club? Your circle? Lisa has set up Amazon Wish Lists for each class, so people can make purchases and have them shipped directly.

If you can help, please let me know, and I will connect you! Thank you! To contact me: aknickerson (at) mac (dot) com or leave a comment below. 

And for more about STE, check out Danny's latest reflection on the flooding and their community: A Lesson Learned Outside the Classroom

Leaving Twitter

Goodbye, Twitter! It's been real! #PussyHat

I am leaving Twitter. This morning as the inauguration proceeds I will post my final series of tweets. To be honest, I haven’t been active on Twitter in quite some time. I am not a trail-blazer in my decision. Just a few weeks ago Lindy West wrote a brilliant piece on her decision to leave Twitter. And she isn’t the first -- nor will I be the last.

Over the last year or so, I watched as what had once been a fun place to meet other writers around the world devolve into a place for trolls to shill their cruelty and for even non-trolls to compete in the trolling game, eviscerating their political and personal foes in 140 characters or less. Everyone seemed to be engaged in nothing but self-promotion. And my feed filled with garbage to the point that sorting out the good became burdensome. And then there is the fake news.

All of this is part of our exercise of free speech. People have the right to self-promote, to be clever and, to a degree, to be cruel, just as I have the right to call them out on it. But then I watched the racist vitriol flung at comedian Leslie Jones -- and subsequently watched Twitter stand by and do next to nothing about it.

Twitter is a free platform. And we all agree to certain rules including rules about making violent threats, harassment, “hateful conduct,” and self-harm. However, it is clear that Twitter does not have a good method for dealing with such infractions as the Leslie Jones case made visible. And that is the most egregious example of a omnipresent problem both on Twitter and other forms of social media. People post things they would never say face-to-face, and a catty cruelty has replaced common decency at this international water cooler. No one is entitled to a Twitter account. No one.

But my biggest problem with Twitter is simply this: it is filled with fake news (the real kind, not the Trump kind). Over the summer I noticed pro-Trump accounts spreading false and misleading stories -- and so many of those accounts were clearly linked to Russia. For example, in October the LA Times published this piece Trump Backers tweet #Repealthe19th after Polls Show He’d Win if Only Men Voted. But in looking at the Twitter accounts cited in the story, they were all clearly Russian, pro-Putin trolls. I contacted the author of the story. And I wrote a journalist friend that day saying, “The Twitter accounts cited here both appear to be Russian trolls. They repeatedly retweet pro-Putin propaganda disguised as pro-Trump tweets. And in trying to track down the real people behind the accounts, they are suspiciously non-dimensional.” Sure enough, a few weeks later we were talking about the Russians interfering in the election -- but it was too little too late.

Some argue that abandoning Twitter is giving in. Some say that we should flood it with good content, decent conversation, meaningful dialogue. That is noble, but I see Twitter as part of the problem of disinformation -- not part of the solution. I don’t read Breitbart News because I know that it represents the worst of yellow journalism -- if what they publish can even be called “journalism.” Why would I give my time, my words, my energy to a platform which allows Breitbart and trolls and Russian tweet farms to thrive? In the name of free speech, I say “Enough! No more!” and I walk away.

And let me be clear: this is not about Right or Left, Democrat or Republican. I am a moderate. I have voted for Democrats. I have voted for Republicans. This is not about Hillary Clinton losing. This is not about my fondness for President Obama.

This is about truth. And decency. And the future of the American Republic.

We are a country in crisis. It is a crisis of confidence bred by two decades of bitter partisanship and a bubbling current of racism, misogyny, and discrimination to which social media like Twitter gives voice and new power. Spreading fake news is easy and free on Twitter. Assembling hateful mobs to eviscerate strangers is easy and free on Twitter. Promoting propaganda and undermining elections and democracies are both easy and free on Twitter. The effects are devastating.

Being part of Twitter is being part of the problem.

So, I am abandoning Twitter to the trolls, the self-promoters, the racists, the Russians, Vladimir Putin, and the 45th President of the United States. I chose truth. I choose beauty. I choose kindness and goodness and joy and love.

And I choose to fight like hell for the United States of America and the rights and liberties those who came before me secured.

My first step: bidding Twitter good-bye!

If you want to connect going forward, and I hope you do, follow me here:

 

My Day with Michelangelo

 St. Peter's Basilica: Michelangelo designed the Great Crossing and the dome

St. Peter's Basilica: Michelangelo designed the Great Crossing and the dome

 Michelangelo's Pieta, the work of a man who lost his mother when he was six years old

Michelangelo's Pieta, the work of a man who lost his mother when he was six years old

It sounds crazy, even to me, but I feel like I know Michelangelo -- as if across the centuries we have become friends in all the time I have spent with him. So I am always happy to be in his presence -- to study and admire yet again the indelible marks he left on Rome. Today: the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. 

 The Sistine Chapel: an illicit photo

The Sistine Chapel: an illicit photo

Tomorrow: Ancient Rome. 

The weather is gorgeous! And the Euro is at a historic low -- $1.05. Come to Rome with me!

Pilgrimage to the Pantheon

For many years my first stop in Rome has been the Pantheon. This ancient building speaks to me. So many Roman ruins require a great deal of imagination to see what the Romans saw, but not the Pantheon. And the roof with the oculus... amazing! 

 

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I have always wanted to be in the Pantheon on Pentecost. As part of the service they shower red rose petals through the oculus into the church. Someday…

It is busy now in Rome. The students and tour groups have begun to arrive for the season. And there are programs here because it is Lent. But the crowds don't bother me.  It's beautiful – – sunny and in the 60s. Perfect weather for sightseeing.

More tomorrow! Ciao! 

 

 

Andiamo! Off to Italy!

 A little light reading... 

A little light reading... 

It has been far too long, Italia, but I am on my way. This is my first international trip without my wee bambino... But there have been big changes in my life, and I am back to writing, traveling, and snapping photos with much more frequency.

A new life and a new website! I hope you like the new digital digs! They are a work in progress, but I hope it will be easier to find what you need. 

Take me a minute and subscribe to my blog, and updates will find you in your inbox. And You will find me on Facebook, too: Pining for Rome. 

Ok. We are somewhere over the Atlantic. Time to get back to my book -- one I missed in my post-partum fog. More from Italy! Ciao!

Goodbye to The Gypsy's Guide

After many years and a few thousand posts, it is time for a renaissance. So today's post is the last here on The Gypsy's Guide. You'll find me from now on at: www.piningforrome.com.

Join me there! And did I mention I have two upcoming trips to Italy? Come along! All the details are on Pining for Rome!

Thanks to all of my faithful readers! Ciao!

Travel with Angela: 2015 and 2016 Dates

Journey to Michelangelo’s Rome with author Angela K. Nickerson as your guide.

October 8-18, 2015 or February 11-21, 2016  

The proposed itinerary includes:
  • 8 nights at a charming hotel in Rome 
  • dinners in some of Rome’s best restaurants
  • daily excursions with Angela as your guide 
  • a private tour of the Sistine Chapel 
  • escorted visits to Rome’s highlights including the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and the Roman Forum as well as places beyond Rome including Hadrian’s Villa and Ostia Antica 

Optional Add-Ons:
Questions? Email Angela

Travel to Italy with Angela Nickerson


Journey to Michelangelo’s Rome with author Angela K. Nickerson as your guide.

October 8-18, 2015 or February 11-21, 2016  

The proposed itinerary includes:
  • 8 nights at a charming hotel in Rome 
  • dinners in some of Rome’s best restaurants
  • daily excursions with Angela as your guide 
  • a private tour of the Sistine Chapel 
  • escorted visits to Rome’s highlights including the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and the Roman Forum as well as places beyond Rome including Hadrian’s Villa and Ostia Antica 

Optional Add-Ons:
Questions? Email Angela

Journey to Michelangelo's Rome: Venice Add-On


As you think about traveling on one of my Michelangelo's Rome trips, consider adding a few days in Venice, one of Italy's most fascinating cities. 

Renaissance Venice: Add-On [Proposed Itinerary; Subject to Change]
October 18-23, 2015 or February 21-26, 2016

Day 11: Travel First Class on the Eurostar from Rome to Venice
The train will be met by a water taxi which will take us to our accommodations. After everyone is settled in, we will take a walk through the neighborhood and have dinner together at a local restaurant.
Dinner together at a local restaurant.

Day 12: San Marco and the Doge’s Palace
We will begin with a guided tour of the Doge’s Palace, the former political seat of the Serene Republic, and an amazing introduction to the art, history, and culture of Venice. Afterwards, we will make our way to Palazzo Pisani-Moretta -- an architectural gem featuring Tiepolo ceilings, Murano glass chandeliers, and a view of the Grand Canal. In the evening we will enjoy a special after-hours tour of the grand Basilica di San Marco including parts of the Basilica that are normally closed to the public.

Day 13: Murano, Torcello, and Burano
We will travel by private boat around the Venetian Lagoon. Venetian glassblowers have been confined to Murano since 1291 as an effort to mitigate the risk of fire within the city. We will visit a glassblowing factory for a tour as well as one of the island’s most beautiful churches. We will stop for lunch on the island of Torcello where we will also visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta. We will then stop on the island of Burano, the center of Venice’s lace-making artisans.

Day 14: San Giorgio Maggiore
By boat we will cross the lagoon to visit San Giorgio Maggiore -- a Palladian masterpiece. We will also tour the adjacent Cini Foundation -- a former Benedictine monastery with cloisters -- also designed by Palladio. And we will ascend to the church’s campanile for one of Venice’s most stunning views.

Day 15: Free day to explore Venice 
Tonight we will gather together for a final celebration dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 16: Fly home from Venice 

Interested? Email Angela for pricing and more information. 

Journey to Michelangelo's Rome: Florence Add-On


Thinking about joining one of my groups in Rome this year? Consider starting your journey in Michelangelo's hometown, Florence, on the Florence: Add-On trip.

Michelangelo’s Florence: Add-On [Proposed Itinerary; Subject to Change]
October 4-8, 2015 or February 7-11, 2016

Day 1A: Fly from USA to Florence, Italy

Day 2A: An Introduction and Michelangelo’s Origins
Your plane will be met by a driver who will take you to Hotel Benivieni, our accommodations for our stay. Once every one has arrived and is settled in, we will gather walk through the city center and on to Casa Buonarroti, our first museum.
We also might visit: 
Casa Buonarroti, Santa Croce, The Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria

Day 3A: Michelangelo and the Medici
Michelangelo came from genteel poverty. At a very young age, however, Lorenzo de’ Medici, the most powerful man in Italy, became his patron. Much of Michelangelo’s work was commissioned by the Medici Family. Today we will visit several spectacular examples. Michelangelo succeeded where other artists had failed and produced his David: a powerful testament to his own skill as an artist as well as to Florence’s influence in the 16th century. Walking Florence’s cobbled streets, we can visit: Galleria dell’Accademia, the Medici Chapel and the Laurentian Library, and the Bargello
Dinner together at a local restaurant.

Day 4A: The Uffizi Museum
Today we will visit one of the world’s finest art museums. With a collection this outstanding, the first visit can be intimidating, so we will hit the highlights with plenty of time to explore on your own if you are inspired.

Day 5A: Travel First Class on the Eurostar from Florence to Rome.
The train will be met by a driver who will take you to our accommodations. After everyone is settled in, we will take a walk through the Trastevere neighborhood and have dinner together at a local restaurant.
We also might visit: Santa Maria in Trastevere, Villa Farnesina

Dinner together at a local restaurant. 

Day 6A: The rest of the group arrives to join us for A Journey into Michelangelo's Rome

Interested? Email Angela for pricing and more information. 

Dates Announced: Journey to Michelangelo's Rome with Angela


I have two trips to Rome scheduled: October, 2015 and February, 2016. I hope you'll think about joining me! 

Michelangelo’s Rome [Proposed Itinerary; Subject to Change]
October 8-18, 2015 or February 11-21, 2016

Florence Add-On: Your trip could start with the optional 4 days in Florence. Read on here for more!

Day 1: Depart USA for Rome

Day 2: Arrival in Rome, the Eternal City
Your plane will be met by a driver who will take you to Hotel Santa Maria, our accommodations for our stay. Once every one has arrived and is settled in, we will gather walk through the city center.
We might visit: The Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, and Santa Maria sopra Minerva: Michelangelo’s Risen Christ.


Day 3: Imperial Rome and the Tragedy of the Tomb
We will visit several ancient sites which influenced Michelangelo’s work in addition to one of his greatest sculptures. Walking and taking the subway, we can visit:
The Colosseum, San Pietro in Vincoli: Michelangelo’s Moses, San Clemente

Dinner together at a local restaurant.

Day 4: The Capitoline Hill
Michelangelo was commissioned to rebuild the hilltop which was muddy and disheveled. What resulted was a masterpiece of civic architecture.
We will visit: The Forum and the Capitoline Hill


Day 5: Ostia Antica
Today we can take the train out to the ruins of Rome’s port city, Ostia. Located on the sea shore, Ostia Antica is an amazing park to explore with a theater, a Jewish temple, stores, homes, and houses of worship – all open for visiting.
Lunch or dinner together at a local restaurant.

Day 6: San Pietro
We will begin with a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica to see Michelangelo’s Rome Pieta as well as the dome. In the evening we will have an exclusive tour of the Vatican Museums including the Sistine Chapel.
We will visit: St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums


Day 7: Free Day to explore the beauty of Rome ● Dinner together at a local restaurant.

Day 8: Villa Adriana and Villa d’Este
Today we will drive beyond Rome’s city limits to Tivoli and Hadrian’s Villa. The spectacular grounds of Emperor Hadrian’s estate sprawl across acres of olive orchards and active archeological digs. Following a lunch together, we will visit Villa d’Este -- the summer home of the Este family and site of a truly remarkable garden and Renaissance fountains now restored to their original beauty.
Lunch together at a local restaurant.

Day 9: Galleria Borghese
Michelangelo’s influence spanned centuries and can still be felt today. We will visit the Galleria Borghese which houses a large collection of sculpture by Bernini -- one of Michelangelo’s philosophical heirs. After our timed entrance to the museum, we will explore the grounds of the Villa Borghese, a beautiful park in the heart of Rome.

Day 10: Free Day to explore the beauty of Rome 
In the evening we will gather one last time for a celebration dinner together at a local restaurant.

Day 11: Depart Rome for home (or continue on to Venice on the Venice Add-on

Interested? Email Angela for pricing and more information. 

Travel to Italy with Angela

Journey to Michelangelo’s Rome with author Angela K. Nickerson as your guide.

October 9-18, 2015 or February 11-20, 2016  

The proposed itinerary includes:

  • 8 nights at a charming hotel in Rome 
  • dinners in some of Rome’s best restaurants
  • daily excursions with Angela as your guide 
  • a private tour of the Sistine Chapel 
  • escorted visits to Rome’s highlights including the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and the Roman Forum as well as places beyond Rome including Hadrian’s Villa and Ostia Antica 

For more details visit: Michelangelo's Rome

Optional Add-Ons:

Ciao!

I'll be in San Francisco: Sunday, February 8

If you live near the Bay Area, I hope you'll plan to join me in San Francisco on Sunday, February 8 for a wonderful Italy event!

A Celebration of Italy's Big Three: Rome, Florence, and Venice

Sunday, February 8 at 4:30 pm 

Museo Italo Americano at Ft. Mason Center in San Francisco

Cost: free, but space is limited! 

Please RSVP: 415.673.2200 

Moderated by Susan Van Allen (author of 50 Places in Rome, Florence, and Venice Every Woman Should Go), the panel will feature:

  • Angela Nickerson: author of A Journey into Michelangelo's Rome (that's me!)
  • JoAnn Locktov: author of Dream of Venice
  • Joe Wolff: author of Cafe Life: Florence

The panel discussion will be followed by a Q&A session, book signing, and a reception.

I hope you will join us for this fantastic event! It will be a great time!

The Gypsy in San Francisco: Sunday, February 8

If you live near the Bay Area, I hope you'll plan to join me in San Francisco on Sunday, February 8 for a wonderful Italy event!

A Celebration of Italy's Big Three: Rome, Florence, and Venice
Sunday, February 8 at 4:30 pm 
Museo Italo Americano at Ft. Mason Center in San Francisco
Cost: free, but space is limited! 
Please RSVP: 415.673.2200 

Moderated by Susan Van Allen (author of 50 Places in Rome, Florence, and Venice Every Woman Should Go), the panel will feature:

  • Angela Nickerson: author of A Journey into Michelangelo's Rome (that's me!)
  • JoAnn Locktov: author of Dream of Venice
  • Joe Wolff: author of Cafe Life: Florence

The panel discussion will be followed by a Q&A session, book signing, and a reception.

I hope you will join us for this fantastic event! It will be a great time!

2015: A New Year!

Dear friends,
It has been a long time. And a lot has happened in the last year -- heck, a lot has happened in the last few months. In December my family and I moved from San Francisco to Dallas, Texas. A big change! But it is one which allows me to get back to writing projects and away from a "day job." That is a wonderful change! So, I'll be back to blogging a bit. I have some big projects to tackle. And I'll be traveling again. Yippee!

All of that, and at long last I'll be fully transitioning this blog over to the new platform. So stay tuned for all of those changes!

My next trip: Rome, Florence, and Venice in March! I can't wait, but I have a lot to do to get ready.

Ciao!
Angela

An Open Letter: HPISD Book "Suspensions"

As an alumna of Highland Park High School, an author, and a former AP English teacher, finding reports in my Facebook feed that HPISD allowed the shrieks of unhappy parents to undermine the integrity of the HPHS’ English Department curriculum is disturbing.

Read More