Friday, October 21, 2016

Helping the Cangianos

A quick break from our normal program to bring your attention to the new widget on the right of your screen.

Fellow blogger and damn fine woman, Jessica Cangiano from Chronically Vintage, lost everything in a recent house fire.
Jessica and her husband Tony made it out with only the clothes they were wearing, their phones, a bag containing their wallets, their dog Annie and their car.  Their cat Stella perished in the fire.
Absolutely everything they owned, including a lifetime of memories, Jessica's extensive vintage clothes and accessories collection and all her stock from her Esty shop, were lost.
Jessica also suffers from chronic illness and all her medical gear was lost as well.
Kind friends set up a donation site which has already reached its goal.  However if you are able to help out in any way or even pop in with some good wishes they will greatly appreciate any assistance and kind words.

Thank you and now back to our regular program........................

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Pantheon

Ancient yet ageless

Michelangelo is said to have described it as the work of angels not humans.

We drank coffee in the shadow of greatness.

And did a spot of people watching
(and spied a lovely Italian nonna doing the same thing - 3rd building from the left, 4th window down)

I wonder what she was thinking?

We left the heat and crowd and entered the cool interior 

and found more crowds.

But oddly it was still 

And incredibly peaceful

 The Pantheon, Rome - July 2015

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

La Fontana di Trevi or how to avoid being hit in the head with a coin.

Built between 1732 and 1762, the Trevi Fountain is the largest baroque fountain in Rome and one of the most famous in the world.
Like the Spanish steps, the Trevi has appeared in several films, including La Dolce Vita and Three Coins In A Fountain.

Which is a nice segue into the whole coin tossing phenomena.

There is a legend that says if you stand with your back to the fountain and throw a coin over your right shoulder with your left hand into the fountain, then you will return to Rome.  I'm sure this was started from the 1950's movie mentioned above, because I can't find any literature to say how long the tradition has been going for.

We didn't try it (there was a huge perspex wall around the fountain due to major restoration work going on at the time.  But we WILL return to Rome anyway - coin or no coin).

I would have loved to linger longer and look at the beautiful artwork, but it was rather dangerous with crowds of people, all with their backs to the perspex wall, flinging euros over their shoulder trying to aim over the wall.
I pitied the workmen in the fountain.

I apologise now for the poor quality of the photos.

 That's a little better.
I held the camera above the wall and took some pot luck shots.
And a coin missed me by that much!

I was telling my fountain story to a friend who went to Rome in December and she had the opposite experience.
The fountain was finished and open and the Spanish Steps were blocked off for restoration work.
Go figure.

The restoration work was completed in November 2015 and the fountain is back to it's beautiful working state.
Ready for my next visit.

Fontana de Trevi, Rome - July 2015 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Time and money saving tips for art lovers

Eager to see some of the great Renaissance Masters but short of cash when in Rome?
 Pop into any church for free, avoid the crowds and admire and absorb at your leisure.

In Basilica Parrocchialle Santa Maria del Popolo one can see

Ladies just remember that shoulders and knees must be covered.
It's a perfect excuse for buying a couple of beautiful scarves from any street vendor (there are hundreds) to create a quick shawl and sarong skirt to pop over your top and shorts.  This also doubles as a perfect and cheap souvenir of your Roman Holiday. 

Basilica Parrocchiale Santa Maria del Popolo  Rome - July 2015

Thursday, September 8, 2016

As easy as a walk in a park

A few weeks break between study enables me to catch up on emails and blogging.
Plus enforced rest from a mild flu helps.

A few more travel posts and then my holiday reminiscences are finished.
For now.
I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

Today we are still in Rome.

Where a walk in the park provides views both pleasing and amusing. 

Il Pincio, Rome - July 2015

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The poet, some models and famous steps

 The Spanish Steps in Rome.
Built in the 1720's and the scene of a small film or two.

Perfect for pausing and admiring the scenery
Or perfect for posing and being admired as scenery.
And perhaps eating a gelato.

As usual with everything in Rome, The Spanish Steps is steeped in history,
and legend.

But my favourite story involves a dying poet and some pretty artist models.

 In 1820 the English poet John Keates was dying of tuberculosis.
His friends and doctor urged him to come to Rome, as they thought the warmer climate would improved his health.
It didn't.
In November 1820 Keates and an artist friend, Joseph Severn took rooms in a house right next to the Spanish Steps where Joseph cared for Keates until his death in February 1821. 
He was only 25.
Now at the time the steps was a great meeting place for painters and poets. but also a spot where beautiful young women would gather and pose hoping to get work as artist models.

The story goes that even though Keats was weak and in pain with illness, he took comfort gazing out the window and admiring all the pretty girls gathered on the steps.


The Spanish Steps and Keats, Shelley House Museum - Rome, July 2015

Friday, August 12, 2016

Somewhere in Italy

We went for a walk.
And found some old things.

Passed the Quatro Fontane

The River Tiber

The Goddess Juno
 And stopped by the Spanish Steps.

 Ahhh Roma!

Rome - July 2015

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The David

When all was finished, it cannot be denied that this work has carried off the palm from all other statues, modern or ancient, Greek or Latin; no other artwork is equal to it in any respect, with such just proportion, beauty and excellence did Michelangelo finish it”.
Giorgio Vasari

Queuing in the hot hot sun, even though I vowed never again would I stand in a queue after the Versailles debacle.

But this was different.

There was a fella I had been longing to meet for a very long time.

And he was worth it.

Michelangelo's David is perfect.  Every glorious 16 feet and 11.15 inches (5.16 meters) of him.
Carved from Carrara marble between 1501 and 1504, the statue was meant to be one of a series of statues of prophets positioned about 80 meters up along the roof line of Florence Cathedral.
Thankfully for students and lovers of art down the centuries, that didn't happen.
When the statue was unveiled it was agreed that it was too perfect to be placed high up out of the gaze of the public, so the city council formed a committee of about 30 members, including Leonardo Da Vinci and Sandro Botticelli, and it was decided to place David in the political heart of Florence, the Palazzo della Signoria (now known as the Plazazzo Vecchio)
It took four days to move him.
In 1873 he was moved to his current address at the Galleria dell'Accademia to protect him from further damage from the elements.

The story of David and Goliath has been portrayed in many works of art and many statues depict David after the battle, standing over Goliath's severed head.
But Michelangelo chose to show David before the battle.
He is tense, focused and alert - but yet also relaxed. He is captured at the peak of his concentration. 
In those determined eyes you can see he is sizing up his opponent and deciding exactly where to hurl that stone.

I fell in love the the genius of Michelangelo that day.

Lining the hall leading to his masterpiece, are some of Michelangelo's unfinished works which I found equally fascinating.

The figures have been frozen for eternity, as they were stepping out of the marble.
They aren't smooth and finished like David.  You can see every chisel mark.

And they are beautiful.

Accademia Gallery, Florence - July 2015

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Window views and random snaps.

It's now been 1 year since our escape from normality.
And yet that floaty Florence feeling stays with me.

When will we again stay in places like this?

With stairways like this leading to our room.

Out the back was nice too.

With views like this.

And places like this just meters away.


Florence, Italy - July 2015


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