Return of the fallen Madonna

Raphael's restored work welcomed back to Florence

Prof Michael Mallett: Scholar of Renaissance Italy and a key historian at Warwick University

Michael Mallett was one of the most original and productive scholars in the study of italian Renaissance history. His doctoral research at Oxford and formative periods at the British School at Rome and the Scuola Normale, Pisa, led to the publication of The Florentine Galleys in the Fifteenth Century (1967), a study of Florence's attempt to use the recently conquered city of Pisa to gain direct access to the trade of the Mediterranean. This early work reveals much of the character of Mallett's scholarship: respect for the sources, care in composition and a wariness of preconceptions.

Florence Nightingale, By Mark Bostridge

Nursing her grievances

Lost dogs and enchantresses make for a strong Booker list, but where is Kelman?

Let's get the annual squall of outrage over first. Kieron Smith, Boy by James Kelman deserved at least a shortlist place in this year's Man Booker contest. Indeed, the beautifully observed, deeply affecting first-person portrait of a Glasgow childhood outshines Roddy Doyle's Dublin equivalent, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha – which won the prize in 1993.

Families: 'Where can we honeymoon with a baby in tow?'

Q We are getting married this summer and our first child will be three months old. Before the unexpected arrival we had hoped for an exotic adventure holiday but are now reluctant. We want some privacy and some activity (likely to be walking now) but don't want to go long-haul and want it to still feel special. Usually our holidays are independent and involve climbing mountains or cycling so we are considering a villa somewhere with hills nearby. Do you have any suggestions? We are completely stuck for ideas. J Sinclair-Gieben, via email

Return of Dante: the Guelphs and the Ghibellines

The city of Florence has issued a pardon for the poet, 700 years after it sentenced him to death for his political beliefs. Peter Popham reports on the man who turned Italian into a literary language

Isabella de'Medici, By Caroline P Murphy

The grisly end of this vivacious noblewoman inspired Webster's 'The White Devil'

France turn off Flamini's engine

Mathieu Flamini's successful season in the engine room of Arsenal's midfield has counted for nothing when it comes to the European Championship.

24-Hour Room Service: Castello del Nero, Tavarnelle Val di Pesa

The old adage that it takes money to make money certainly rings true at the Castello del Nero. It's clear for all to see that no expense has been spared in renovating this 12th-century castle turned luxury hotel.

My Holiday In: Rome and Florence

Katya Henson, aged 10

Leyla Gencer: Operatic soprano idolised in Italy

The Turkish soprano Leyla Gencer became one of the most loved and admired operatic idols in Italy during the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies. Although she sang all over Europe and America, from London to Vienna, from San Francisco to Buenos Aires, it was in Italy, at La Scala, Milan, at the San Carlo, Naples, at La Fenice, Venice, at the opera houses of Rome, Florence, Turin, Trieste and many other cities, that she spent the main part of her career, singing a very wide repertory whose core consisted of the works of Donizetti and Verdi. A singing actress of great expressive power, she used her voice as a weapon in her dramatic armoury. That did not mean that she could not, when appropriate, sing with great gentleness and beauty of tone.

Weir absence harms Rangers' ambition of clinching final place

The Scottish Football Association chief executive, Gordon Smith, will not be surprised to see Rangers overcome Fiorentina to reach the Uefa Cup final in Manchester. Rangers fly out to Florence today ahead of tomorrow's second leg of their semi-final needing a positive result after a goalless draw at Ibrox last week.

China: At The Court Of The Emperors<br />China China China!!! Chinese Contemporary Art, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence

What is Florence for? Anyone who stands in the Piazza della Signoria and stares at the self-vaunting bronze equestrian statue of Cosimo de Medici will know the answer to that question. Florence exists to proclaim the greatness of Florence, to be the near-perfect embodiment of its own tremendous civic pride. This is one of the reasons why Florence is not much of a centre for art from elsewhere.

My secret life: Olga Polizzi, Designer & hotelier

The house I grew up in ... was a detached house in Hampstead, north London. We six children were thrown out into the garden after breakfast and were only allowed back in at meal times. My mother did up the attic room in a feminine manner, for my use, but being a rather galumphing child, it didn't suit me.

Salman Rushdie: 'Fiction saved my life'

Symbol, victim, blasphemer, target &ndash; Salman Rushdie, it seems, is anything people need him to be. As his new novel is published, the writer talks to Boyd Tonkin
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project