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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Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
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Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
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Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

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Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
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The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
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A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
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Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser