November 19, 2009

Italy: I Came, I Saw, I Snapped Photos

Filed under: Art and Culture, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — michaeldelicio @ 3:30 PM

 On my recent trip to Italy I took over 300 pictures. Out of those, most of them could be substituted for my neighbor’s pictures, from THEIR trip to Italy, or my own from the trip I took six years ago! I saw all of the usual breathtaking sights that have been drawing people to Italy from all over the planet, for hundreds of years.
I had a “Room With a View” overlooking the Arno in Florence. I saw the Pantheon in Rome, I threw a coin into the Trevi Fountain, I toured The Doge’s Palace in Venice. I saw hundreds of unforgettable works of art, and all of it thrilled me. Some of it brought tears to my eyes!

WELL, I’M NOT GOING TO SHOW YOU ANY OF THOSE PICTURES!!

Here’s why. My pictures, while a precious memento for ME, are not the best photos of these gorgeous works and places.  Also, they’re full of goofey pictures of myself and my family IN FRONT OF and often BLOCKING these magnificent sights.

Instead, here are some quirkey shots of things that caught my strange eye.  As a shop keeper, I seem to be facinated with little shops.  Of  course they all have that something special that makes them so Italian!

 Isn’t this antique shop elegant? And so very Italian!

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A working boat making it’s way down The Grand Canal in Venice.  The island city struggles to remain a living city, and not just a Disney Land for grown ups.  The cost of living there is extremely high, pushing residents out, who come from generations of Venetians.   Ahh, but it sure is gorgeous!!

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A tiny display window, for a little fabric store.  I’m guessing the fabric is from Zoffany. These tiny jewel box display windows are very common in Florence.

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Even a meat store has class!  Don’t you love the marble floors and walls?  And especially the detailed marble corbells.

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A traditional Gondola glides past a working boat, on a minor canal.  The boat is bearing cobblestones for the constant repair work and upkeep that takes place in Venice.

 

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Isn’t the food pretty? It tastes EVEN BETTER! This is at the big food market in Florence. We bought , we cooked, we ate!!   Lucky us!

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Another charming antique shop.  No Shabby Chic here!

I think everyone should have curtains on the OUTSIDE, as well as the inside.  That would be good for the economy…MY economy!  I guess this makes sense in the Roman climate.  Beautiful!

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In Rome ,the Museum of the Ara Pacis is very controversial.  The Ara Pacis is an ancient altar, built by Augustus (for self glorification, like most of the great art that survives from the ancient world)  It spent the last 2000 years exposed to the elements.  About 10 years ago, it was decided that it should be housed.  The design was selected, building began.  The design is contemporary.  Some have called it a travertine shoe box.  In my usual way, I love dramatic contrast, and so I give it a “thumbs up” (Hey, the Romans started that thumbs up and down stuff, didn’t they?)  The modern building allows for lots of light, and never competes with its treasure’s classic beauty.  The current mayor of Rome has threatened to tear it down, and put it back up in the suburbs.  I guess he’s trying to punish suburbanites!!

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Above is a detail from the altar of the Ara Pacis.  The main point of the propganda promoted by the altar, was to draw a family relationship between Augustus and the gods themselves. Augustus was the first Roman emperor, and the first to claim divinity.

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Girlfriends, if you’re gong to Italy, don’t even THINK about leaving the hotel room without tall shiny boots, and a long mane of well groomed hair!  OK, I gave in and wore comfy flats during the day.  But then for dinner, I put on my cool black boots and tried to “make like an Italian”  I had to manage without the long mane.

I took this picture, because I liked the modern design.  This contemporary cafeteria is about a block from the Piazza Navona, the original site of chariot races, re-built in the Baroque period, filled with magnificent Baroque fountains by Bernini,  topped with an ancient Egytian obelisk (those ancient Romans had such sticky fingers!) This is what makes Rome a great city!

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This contemporary home furnishings shop is also in the neighborhood.

This grocery store is about as close to a Stop and Shop as you’regoing to get.  But everything, even pre packaged stuff, is SO FRESH and TASTY!

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Surrounded by traditional red tile roofs, we found the modern roof lounge at our hotel, The Visconte Palace in Rome, to be the ideal spot to take a little siesta before dinner. Nicely designed, very comfortable.  Great napping sofas!

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A  SUPER FUNKY interiors shop.

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 Shopping for a princess?  Here’s the spot. 

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Old headboards with tile detail on a cobblestone street, in Florence.

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OK, just one goofey photo for good luck! There goes my coin into the Trevi Fountain. Hey,that means I’ll be going back…Soon, I hope!

ARRIVEDERCI, ITALIA!

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