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:

 

On Pins and Needles: Stylist Turns Ancient Hairdo Debate on Its Head - WSJ

Janet Stephens, a hairresser in Baltimore, has done extensive research into the construction of ancient Roman and Grecian hairstyles. Her academic publications have changed the way scholars think about the personal grooming of the ancients. (Photo: JAnet Stephens)

Janet Stephens, a hairresser in Baltimore, has done extensive research into the construction of ancient Roman and Grecian hairstyles. Her academic publications have changed the way scholars think about the personal grooming of the ancients. (Photo: JAnet Stephens)

I have often wondered and marveled at the hairstyles on busts of women from ancient Rome and Greece. I am not the only one! And now Janet Stephens, a hairdresser in Baltimore, offers convincing evidence that these elaborate coiffures were not wigs but were elegant hairstyles stitched together. 

Read on! 

On Pins and Needles: Stylist Turns Ancient Hairdo Debate on Its Head
By Abigail Pesta
April 22, 2015
Wall Street Journal

 

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!

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!

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

Help Reunite these People with their Vacation Photos

A friend of a friend found a memory card today (May 14) at O'Hare. It contains over 800 photos of these people and appears to be from a trip to the South Pacific. Help reunite these people with their memories via social media!

How can you help?
If you know them, put us in contact!
If not, post this on Facebook or Twitter and help spread the word.

I know firsthand how horrible it is to lose photos from a trip. Hopefully we can reunite these people with theirs!


The Best Obituary I've Ever Read

A few years ago I did a book signing at the Hancock County Library in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. I don't know if I met Ms. Larroux, who at one time sat on the board of their foundation, or any of her family, but her obituary takes me back to a lovely day spent in a charming town -- one clearly with some residents with a great sense of humor.

Blessings to the family and friends of Ms. Larroux!

Antonia Larroux Obituary: View Antonia Larroux's Obituary by New York Times:

'via Blog this'

Electing a Pope in the Sistine Chapel

Curious about what will happen when the conclave begins tomorrow? It is a fascinating and secret process all carried out beneath Michelangelo's frescos in the Sistine Chapel. I thought this article in the New York Times summed it up well (and shame on the Cardinal who leaked his journals! But it makes for good reading...):

http://nyti.ms/14O9caq

Enjoy!

A Note to My Readers

Dear friends,
I just wanted to update you a bit. The last year and a half have been very busy in my home. I now have a very busy toddler who is simply energy embodied. My husband's job has changed significantly, and he is traveling every week now. And I still have a day job. All this leaves very little time for blogging. But I am still here. I often think, "I need to blog about this experience... or that experience..." and then my head hits the pillow, and I am unconscious.  So know that I still have lots to say, and hopefully in 2013 I'll have a little more time to share it with you.

Happy Holidays to you all!  And I hope you'll check out this year's Passports with Purpose fundraiser. We are raising $100,000 to build wells for clean water in Haiti.  You can learn more here: Passports with Purpose.

Blessings!
Angela

Sunset over Rome from the roof of St. Peter's

A Simba moment with Bambino
Tonight we watched the sunset over Rome from the roof of St. Peter's Basilica. Totally magical! Added bonus: lots of room for Bambino to run around! How do you get there? I'll fill you in later. For now just enjoy the view!



Michelangelo's dome over St. Peter's Basilica at sunset

As the lights warm up, they first glow green and then amber which is rather magical against the darkening sky.

I had never been inside the basilica at night before. It is beautiful!

The Best Lunch in Florence: La Mescita

From the street it doesn't look like much, but if you get close enough the smell of rich sauces and savory meats will draw you in, and you won't be sorry. La Mescita is one of Florence's  proverbial hidden gems -- a long-established eatery serving traditional Tuscan fare, hearty and seasonal.  You won't find a menu in English or many tourists in the two dozen seats, but the staff is kind and helpful, the menu changes seasonally (as do the hours), and the food is delicious.

Yesterday I had a plate of homemade tortellini in a fresh meat sauce. The ingredients -- veal, cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes -- were simple and classic. And the pasta was perfect.  We shared a plate of regional cheeses and meats (salami toscano, mortadella, pecorino romano, prosciutto crudo) served with crusty Tuscan-style bread.  And, of course, we had a glass of the house wine, too.  Everything was fresh. Everything was locally produced. And it all tasted fantastic.

If you aren't in the mood for a sit-down meal (or if the place is full, as is often the case), they also do freshly made take-away panini from the counter. Another delicious option.

Located around the corner from the Accademia -- and around another corner from Florence's Friendliest Apartments where I am staying again -- La Mescita makes a perfect lunch stop after a date with Michelangelo's David.

La Mescita
Via degli Alfani, 70
Florence, Italy