To Castelfranco for a Cappuccino and Research

Castelfranco Veneto is only a half hour drive from where we live and our nearest train station. Yesterday afternoon, we went for a coffee in the main square before strolling around and imagining what the town would have been like in the early 16th Century when viewed by Giorgione, the enigmatic artist and hero of the historical sections of my novel, Lady of Asolo.

Not much is known about his life, which is why I feel at liberty to invent a story about him and his muse. This is his self-portrait.


His statue also suggests a charismatic hero


 even if quite often there’s a pigeon sitting on his head.castello-giorgione

Giorgione would have known the tower in the castle walls. Clock Tower

but the buildings within would be new to him if he came back today.


His masterpiece in the Costanzo chapel is housed in a renovated cathedral.

21 Giorgione - Pala di CastelfrancoIt’s a painting done on wood and represents the Virgin and Holy Child with St Francis on the right and a St Nicasius of the Order of the Knights of Malta in armour on the left.  Tuzio Costanzo commissioned the work as a memorial for his son, Matteo, who died a young soldier. The Costanzo coat of arms is on the base of the Virgin’s throne. Tuzio had been in service to Queen Caterina Cornaro, the lady of my novel, in Cyprus, and the Venetian Republic, fearful of his loyalty to Caterina, sent him back to his family in Castelfranco. The painting shows the local landscape in the background, typical of Giorgione’s style.  It’s claimed he invented the easel and there’s a legend about his love for  la Bella Cecilia, his model. Apparently, the words, “Vieni Ceciia/ Vienti t’affretta/ Il tuo t’aspetta/ Giorgio – Come, Cecilia. Come quickly. Your Giorgio is waiting for you,” were found scribbled on the back of the painting before an early restoration. Who knows if they are true as the evidence is long gone? I like to think there is some truth in the love story and am building my plot around it.

We strolled through the narrow streets of  the old town,       IMG_0406

then back onto the main square to take some pictures of the ancient buildings.          IMG_0403




Only the passage of time has changed  the scene from how Giorgione sketched it over five hundred years ago.

47 Giorgione - Veduta di Castelfranco e Pastorello

With heavy sighs, we returned to the 21st Century and a visit to the supermarket for our weekly shop. What would Giorgione have made of the abundance of food, modern packaging, canned music and electronic tills?

17 thoughts on “To Castelfranco for a Cappuccino and Research

  1. Love the photos. I, too write historicals and I love going to the places my characters would have lived and trying to envision the scene from years ago. Good luck with your research and writing.


  2. How lovely to see a place through the eyes of people who lived there a long time ago. I like the picture of the castle wall compared to the drawing.
    Your hero looks like the type of guy who would have had an interesting life (without the pigeon on his head, of course!)


  3. Those pesky pigeons are always on his head. Thanks for the visit, Rhoda! We hope to make a research trip to Venice next to see the area where Giorgione’s studio was situated (according to legend).


  4. Hi Kaye

    Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. I’m British but my great grandmother was Irish. I was born in Hong Kong as my Dad was in the Navy during WWII and stayed on after demob. My parents retired to Italy and now my mother is old and needs family nearby my husband and I have done the same.

    Great to connect with you!



  5. Hello Siobhan:

    You’re one of the two winners of a copy of my novel “Britannia’s Wolf” as a result of your name being chosen from the list of those who commented on my
    during the recent “Nautical Blog Hop”.

    Please let me have the forwarding address via an e-mail to

    Congratulations on your own excellent and enjoyable blog!

    And finally, you might “like” my Dawlish Chronicles page on Facebook.

    Best Wishes: Antoine


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