Monday, October 29, 2007

Break from vacation!

Yes, I'm taking a short vacation from posting my vacation photos...I'm trying to get ready for a craft show this weekend...and three more after that!

I'll be back to take you to the renassiance city of Florence, soon!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More From Rome


Today, I thought I would show you around Rome some more. The photo above shows the Memorial to Victor Emmanuel II. If I remember correctly it was completed in the early 1920s to honor this King of Italy. Today, it also houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is made of white marble & has numerous columns, archways, statues, horses, stairways and even a fountain.

This is the remains of the Roman Forum which was the center of ancient Rome. It was a big marketplace and judicial center.

The Roman Coliseum which is an amphitheater that was the scene of bloody fights between gladiators and animals. The floor could even be flooded so mock sea battles could be fought.

Circus Maximus, the largest of the chariot tracks. Roughly 4 mile chariot races took place here as well as festivals & other celebrations. Today it is used as a park.

The ruins of some Roman Baths. Most people did not have bathing facilities in their homes and attended these public bathing places. There were usually a menu of massage oils and cold,warm,hot, or mud baths. It was also a place for swimming and socializing.

Castel Sant'Angelo, a beautiful fortress.

Trevi Fountain. The largest & probably most famous Baroque fountain in Rome. In the archway in the center of the fountain is a statue of Neptune. Immortalized in the song "Three Coins in the Fountain", it is said that if you throw a coin into the fountain, that you will return to Rome. I have to believe it is true as I have done so and have now been there three times!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rome

Forgive me if I overblog, but this was my third trip to Rome, and I would go again and again. I love it that much!


Our first stop was St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums. The museums are filled with gallery after gallery of beautiful tapestries, statues, paintings, mosaics, etc.! We saw one really interesting tapestry where the figure appeared to follow you no matter where you were in the room! Even the foot always pointed towards you! How did they do that? I think it is a matter of perspective.

We spent a long time in the Sistine Chapel. The Chapel, of course, contains the famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo. The masterpiece took him 4 years to complete and has many religious scenes: the creation being the most famous. There are some 300 different scenes depicted. The Chapel is also the site of the Conclave when the cardinals are sequestered to pick a new Pope.

On one of the walls is another painting by Michelangelo called, The Last Judgement. It is meant to depict the second coming of Christ and the judgement of souls. Among the tortured figures Michelangelo put a self-portrait.


Next we moved onto St. Peter's Basilica, so called because it is believed to be built over the site of the tomb of St. Peter, one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus.
There is a huge coppola under which is a bronze canopy over the main altar. Below this canopy there are many Popes burried--the last of which was Pope John Paul II.

Upon entering the Basilica, there is another masterpiece by Michelangelo, La Pieta, which is a sculpture depicting Mary holding the expired Christ. It is interesting to note that there are no paintings in the Basilica-anything that looked like a painting was actually a mosaic.

I'll continue Rome next time, so this does not get too lengthly! Thanks for staying with me!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Meet Buddy!



Just showing off my newest beaded art doll. Buddy is a 6" tall polar bear with a smile to melt your heart!

His head, paws & legs are made from polymer clay--no molds used. Polar bears are strong swimmers as you can see by his powerful paws. The shorter back legs are used mostly as rudders.

His body is beaded with mostly clear glass beads. If you look closly you will see the fish he had for lunch. Of course, all of my critters have a heart, too!

He has just been listed in my etsy shop!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pompeii, A city destroyed!


Sorry for the long delay in posts....sometimes life just gets in the way!

Our next was a visit to Pompeii-the famous city destroyed in 79 A.D. by Mt. Vesuvius. An entire town erased by nature's fury.

The area was first excavated by King Olaf from Sweden, and it continues right up to this day. Most of the people perished from suffocation from the poisonous gases and were then covered in lava and ashes. During the excavation they found skeletons "frozen" in the positions they were in when the gases came over the city. They poured plaster around them to "recreate" the bodies, and that is what we see as bodies today.



We toured one small area of the city--I think you could spend months exploring the areas the map showed! We saw a plaza with columns & jail cells around the perimeter where men were kept & forced to fight as gladiators. Houses with many rooms, some of them in pretty good condition & even a brothel where some paintings had just been renovated. We stood at a few intersections & looking in all four directions, we could see the road was "paved" with stones & very uneven.


In a separate area, we saw lots of pottery & statues that had been excavated. We also saw 2 or 3 bodies. I must admit I expected to see more--thought I had on a Discovery show on Pompeii--but guess I was mistaken.

I found this visit extremely interesting but also kind of eerie. Eerie because when you look at the hills below this still active volcano and see the towns built right in its path, one cannot help but think what the mentality of these people is. I know that I no longer think that it will never happen here or to me.

It was 110 degrees F, so as you can imagine it was plenty hot! We arrived in Rome later in the day to a beautiful view from our hotel window of St. Peter's Basilica.

That evening we had a lovely dinner at a restaurant where we were serenaded by 3 Tenors--one a Spanaird, one an Italian, and one a female from Korea. The restaurant had low ceilings and their amazing voices filled the room. A magical evening!

Next join me as I visit Rome!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Naples & Capri



Enroute to Naples where we board our ferry to the Isle of Capri, we passed groves of olive trees and field after field of sunflowers. I felt like I was looking at a Van Gogh painting! That's how beautiful they were! Of course, the sunflowers were being grown to make sunflower oil.

Naples is a busy port city with lots of traffic, pollution and unsavory characters roaming around. Unfortunately, it does not have the best of reputations. However, it was the transport to almost another world...the beautiful island of Capri.



Capri was full of beautiful vistas, blue water, yachts, and tourists and has long been touted as the place to see and be seen! While we did see the area where the rich/famous hang out and the paparazzi go to chase after them, I was far more interested in the scenery!



After a tram right up to the top of the island and a delightful lunch, we set out on a walking tour to visit a villa that was owned & renovated by a Swedish Doctor, Axel Munthe, called Villa San Michele. Munthe loved the island and penned several books about its history. Not only were the gardens and views incredibly beautiful, but the home was filled with antiques, some dating back to ancient Egypt.

We road the funicular (incline railway) back down and along the way got a view of the famous blue grotto. Due to time constraints, we were not able to take the short boat ride in, but the view inside the caves is supposed to be breathtaking--the water apparently appears very blue & lit from beneath the water. Oh, well, maybe next time.


Back at our hotel, we had a great view of Mt. Vesuvius in the backgroud, and the marketplace in the foreground. From early morning this marketplace is filled with vegetable, fruit and other vendors from which restaurants & individuals shop. Very busy!

This post marks about 2/3 of the trip! Thanks again, for all who continue to join me.
Next: Pompeii

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Assisi, Italy


Our next journey took us into Tuscany across the Apennine Mountains to our destination of Assisi. Assisi is the birthplace of St. Francis, who started the order of the Franciscan Friars in the 1200s, and who is the patron saint of animals. Our first stop was a shrine called, St. Mary of The Angels. Seen above, this shrine was actually built around (to protect) the first chapel built by St. Francis. When you go inside this shrine, you can actually walk right through the little chapel.

Next stop was the Basilica of St. Francis--actually three connected churches. One is a Monastery for the Friars. The Lower Basilica has numerous small chapels honoring various saints & events in Catholic religious history, & the beautiful frescos survive to this day. Downstairs in this Basilica you can visit the burial place of St. Francis. The upper Basilica was full of beautiful stained glass windows and again many frescos depicting the life of St. Francis. The Feast of St. Francis is October 4.

The walk up to these Basilicas was very steep, as was the whole town, and very narrow with sharp switchbacks; the roads were cobblestone.
We continued our walk to the Basilica of St. Clare. St. Clare was one of the first followers of St. Francis and started the Order of The Poor Clares. You can also see the burial place of St. Clare. St. Clare's feast day is October 3.


I really enjoyed this short visit to Assisi. It was the Italy I remembered as a teenager without all the crowds and commercialism.

Next: Naples & Fun on the Isle of Capri!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Of Masks & Glass



So, I thought I would show you the two masks my daughter bought. The first one above is ceramic & the second one is made of paper mache.

The photo above shows a pretty set of necklace & earrings that our daughter picked out in the Murano Glass Factory. We did not buy anything else since my husband had been there 35 years ago before we were married, and we have 2 of these:

It is a hand painted decantur set with six little shot size glasses. This set is green; our other one is blue. Not a great photo, I know, but I didn't have time to take it out of the cabinet!

And finally, here is a little aceo that I did based on the photo of Burano in my previous post. At some point it will be for sale in my etsy shop.

Stay with me as our journey continues to Assisi via Tuscany!