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
Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?