Among the family of correlated electron systems, vanadium sesquioxide V2O3 has undergone a remarkable career. Its isostructural metal–insulator transition upon doping with Cr is the textbook example of a Mott–Hubbard transition between a paramagnetic metal and a paramagnetic insulator. However, after first theoretical interpretations with very simple models it became clear that the physics of V2O3 were deeper than anticipated. Specifically, orbital degrees of freedom and their coupling to the lattice are key elements to understand the material close to the above mentioned transition. In their Feature Article on pp. 1251–1264, Hansmann et al. review recent progress in experimental and theoretical understanding of V2O3 featuring specially resolved spectroscopic images. The cover picture shows the material close to the transition where metallic clouds (red) have already condensed in the insulating “sky”.