The Gritti Palace is a luxury hotel overlooking the Grand Canal in Venice. It is a building in the Venetian Gothic style which was built in 1478 as the home of the aristocratic Pisani family. Later, it became the residence of Andrea Gritti, who was Doge of Venice between 1523 and 1538.
After an extended period as a private residence, the Gritti Palace started to take paying guests in the 19th century, and became an independent hotel in 1948. The hotel, which has recently been extensively refurbished, has had many celebrated guests including Ernest Hemingway and W. Somerset Maugham.
Although Gerald meant to say Carpaccios here, he has accurately named another celebrated Italian painter.
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) was an Italian artist who worked in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily. He painted many portraits, religious subjects, and secular subjects, and is seen as one of the orginators of the Baroque style in painting. He is particularly renowned for his dramatic use of chiaroscuro (strong contrast between light and dark).
Vittore Carpaccio (c.1465-1525) was an Italian painter of the Venetian School who studied under Gentile Bellini. Amongst his best-known works are nine related paintings known as The Legend of St Ursula, two examples of which are shown left and below. Note that the original of the painting on the left has a section missing.
The St Ursula paintings are on display at the Gallerie dell'Accademio in Venice.
It was built between 1664 and 1675 in the Baroque style, and underwent various modifications during the 18th century.
The guide is published in English, German, Spanish, French, and Italian. A German and English app for iPhone has also recently been released.
The Englischer Garten ('English Garden') is a large public park in the centre of Munich.
In two areas of the park, public nudity is sanctioned by Bavarian law.
The cathedral dedicated to St Front (Cathédrale Saint-Front de Périgueux) is in the commune of Périgueux in the Dordogne department of southwestern France. It was built in the 12th century, and restored in the 19th century.
St Front has been the cathedral of Périgueux since 1669. Prior to that, another church, dedicated to St. Stephen, was the cathedral; it was known as Cathédrale Saint-Étienne-de-la-Cité de Périgueux.
A Small Boy and Others is Henry James' autobiography, first published in 1913.
Click here to see an e-book version.
Other stories by Poe, such as 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue', are considered to be the earliest examples of English-language detective fiction.
Click here to see an e-book version of 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue'.
Boules is the name given to a number of games in which the objective is to throw, or roll balls as close as possible to a target-ball.
In the South of France, boules is another name for the game pétanque. In pétanque, participants stand inside a starting circle and throw hollow metal balls as close as possible for a small wooden ball known as a cochonnet.
It is is an extremely popular game in France, especially amongst people who are on their summer holidays. The playing area is usually hard-packed dirt or gravel, but boules may also be played on sand or grass.
Kenneth Robert Livingstone (usually known as Ken Livingstone) is a British Labour Party politician who was born in 1945.
Between 1981 and 1986, he was the Leader of the Greater London Council (GLC) where he tried to implement a number of radical socialist policies (hence, the nickname Red Ken).
Listen here to the overture to Tannhäuser on Spotify.
Lister here to the Pilgrim's Chorus from Act III of Tannhäuser on Spotify.
Salome (c.14AD-62-71) was the daughter of the Jewish princess Herodias. She is mentioned (although not referred to by the name Salome) in the New Testament, where she is depicted as a seductress who is partly responsible for the death of John the Baptist.
Richard Strauss wrote a one-act opera called Salome which was first performed in 1905. It was based on Oscar Wilde's play Salomé, and contains the 'Dance of the Seven Veils', which was considered shocking when the opera was first performed. There is a also a notorious final scene in which Salome kisses the severed head of John the Baptist.
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was a Russian-born composer, pianist and conductor. As an adult, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France, and America.
Amongst his most well-known works are the scores for three ballets (The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring) commisioned for, and performed by Diaghilev's Ballet Russes.
Although Périgord is no longer an administrative region, it is stilll used for descriptive purposes in the Dordogne area. Specifically, different parts of the area have been given the names Périgord Vert (Green Périgord), Périgord Blanc (White Périgord), Périgord Pourpre (Purple Périgord), and Périgord Noir (Black Périgord).
Périgord Vert in the north is so named because of the lush greenness of it valleys and wooded slopes.
Périgord Blanc, the central area around Perigueux, takes its name from the white limestone which is a feature of the landscape.
Périgord Pourpre's name reflects the fact that the southwest of the Dordogne, around Bergerac, is an important wine-making area.
Périgord Noir, in the southwest of the region, takes its name from the fact that the area is heavily populated with oak and pine trees.
The phrase manxome foe is taken from a nonsense poem called 'Jabberwocky'. The poem was written by Lewis Carroll (Charles Ludwidge Dodgson) and appears in his 1871 novel Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, a sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
In the poem, which tells of the slaying of a monster called the Jabberwock, the phrase appears in the following lines:
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought -
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
Click here to read the full text.
The meaning of manxome may, of course, be decided by the individual reader. However, it has been suggested that it is a portmanteau word, made from manly and buxom.
Manxome Foe is also the title of a science fiction novel by John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor, which was published in 2008.
Michael Foot (1913-2010) was a Labour Party politician who served as Member of Parliament for the Plymouth and Ebbw Vale constituencies. He was deputy leader of the Labour Party from 1976 to 1980, and Leader of the Opposition from 1980 to 1983.
Another aspect of Michael Foot's life was his work as an author and journalist. He wrote biographies of Jonathan Swift and Aneurin Bevan, and at various points in his journalistic career worked for the New Statesman, the Tribune, the Evening Standard and the Daily Herald. From 1949 until her death in 1999, he was married to Jill Craigie, the film-maker and feminist historian.
Richard Stanley Francis (1920-2010), usually known as Dick Francis, was a British crime writer and steeplechase jockey.
He wrote more than 40 best-selling novels, all of which are set against a background of horseracing. His titles include Dead Cert (1962), Nerve (1964), Whip Hand (1979), Bolt (1986), Penalty (1997) and Under Orders (2006). He was also the author of a biography of Lester Piggott entitled A Jockey's Life (1986), which was later re-issued under the title Lester.
Click here to see an image of Dick Francis, and to read his obituary.