Friday, November 16, 2012

Back to Funky Fairfax . . .

As I crawled out of the torpor of a 9-hour jet lag reentry yesterday, I saw some fun, funky and welcoming images that weren't here when I left just a month ago. Most come from one yard's playful artifacts. The huge pumpkin lives at Good Earth—the best fresh food, organic grocery I've every known, and the persimmons, now in season hung from a neighbor's tree.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Clouds and fog hover over Umbria

On my last morning in Todi the landscape offered a glorious and mysterious farewell.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Doors and windows in Italy . . .

In the region of Lago de Garda/Salo
 Too many pictures, not enough time to make separate entries for each location so I'm lumping doors and windows I've seen over the last few weeks. Enjoy. If you like detail, then click on top of the pictures to see more.

Todi barber shop
Palermo side street
Door to the Monreale Duomo/Sicily

Palermo side street
Palermo side street

Three years after the L'Aquila earthquake of 2009/still so much work to be done.

Once glorious historic center of L'Aquila awaits repair.

Sabbioneta Antique dealer (5th generation) Il Conte Michelangelo Moretti poses behind one of his doors.

Priceless Leonardo DaVinci door with secret locking mechanism, property of il Conte Moretti/Sabbioneta which is near Mantova.

Back panel of the Leonardo Da Vinci door.

Leaded glass doors/Moretti property/Sabbioneta

Hand painted doors that lead to Master Bedroom/Sabbionetta

Mantova side street


Detail of window at Vittoriale/D'Annunzio's villa at Lago di Garda

Art Deco detail on windows in Salo/Lago di Garda

Salo/Lago di Garda

Window and soffit detail/Salo/Lago di Garda

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Roman Jewels . . .

Painted stucco walls in Italy make me swoon. Intricate details of pattern motifs carved centuries ago arrest me. Lush green tendrils that grow on the side of a shop on Via Urbana caress my eyes. After that I don't care so much that my hotel room is as small and dark as the windowless quarters of a low cost cruise ship cabin. To enjoy more detail, click on the pictures.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Sicilian Street by our hotel . . .

 Our hotel in Palermo, the Vecchio Borgo, sat between two neighborhoods: a local vegetable and food street market and the more posh, upscale shops along the Via della Liberta. The photo above captures a limited sense of the noise and excitement caused by eight-year olds who zoomed around the back streets on mini motorcycles. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sicily/Palermo Highlights ...

My travel days are getting away from me. My collection of pictures has outnumbered my opportunities to post them. Tonight's posting is about Palermo even though I'm writing it from Rome. And I saw things in Rome I want to post tonight but I'll try to do these postings region by region.

The picture above was taken in Monreale, a small hill town just outside of Palermo where a major Duomo boasts some of the most exquisite Byzantine mosaics. Even though the church today is Roman Catholic, the work was done during a period when the churches were under Byzantine influence. As you can see, the mosaics begin at the top of a capital and extent up to the roof. And there are many, many, columns, each with its own individual capital design. The picture below will give you a sense scale of this huge wonder. Be sure to click on the photos if you want to see more detail.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

In transit to Palermo

Have always wanted to explore Sicily. Given that we have only 4 days here, the word "explore" is ambitious. Will post some highlights over the next couple of days. Thanks for coming along with me on my journeys.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Eagle droppings all around . . .

Legend has it that the founders of the city of Todi were having a feast down in the valley with tablecloths spread out on the meadow—the chosen site of their future home. An enormous eagle swooped down on the event, grabbed a tablecloth in its talons and flew to the top of the hill. The elders interpreted this act of nature as a sign that the new town should be built at precisely the spot on the top of the hill where the eagle dropped the cloth. Everywhere in town one sees an eagle, but only upon close examination can you tell that the tablecloth is in its clutches. I haven't learned yet what the two smaller birds represent who are sheltered under the eagle's wingspan.

Today was overcast and rainy but the charm of the city and its comfortable pace continued to shine through from every corner.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Paint on Walls . . .

This morning, as I walked through a thick cloud of mist that had settled over the town of Todi, I saw these images as the sun burned away the fog.

From a distance, the bricks on the lower half of this building appeared real while the upper geometric pattern seemed painted.

This close up shows the intricate painting that was completed in 2007 to simulate how the building might have appeared centuries ago.

Only when I was right up against the wall was I able to see that all the sculptural aspects of the brick had been an illusion painted on a flat surface.
This low relief sculptural detail adorns the entrance of the Church of St. Fortunato. The church was begun at the end of the 13th century and completed in 1465.
On the side street to the right of the main cathedral in the Palazzo del Popolo, locals relaxed in the bright sun after the fog dispersed.