Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Floors in churches

Look at the work. Unbelievable.
Tile, marble, and a vision beyond the ordinary.
How could they see  what the end result would be? No cameras, no  marble cutting machines.
Just hands and hearts!

Marble in Florence

The famous Duomo  in Florence. Look at all of the different marble colors. I was so awed. I was drooling. I mean, jaw dropping drool.
Look at the detail. All of this work was on the outside of the cathedral. Where would these buildings be, if there was no religious fervor?

Here are Ghiberti's Bronze doors on the Bapistry in Florence.  I learned about these doors in Art History.  To see them in person, was a lifetime experience.

Monday, June 28, 2010

It  amazed me that everywhere I looked,  I could find something to  photograph. Just walking down  a town's street, I saw 300 year old artifacts. Oy!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I thought you might be able to see the English translation of the menu items, but not. One of the items is cow udder.

People in Italy like to eat all of the animal.  We ate at this restaurant which was called The Fifth Fourth, meaning the other parts usually not consumed. By the way, the cow udder was delicious.

It also is apparent that pork is really popular!

"Windows are the eyes to the soul."
What can I say?!

Siena Fountain

 This fountain stood in the middle of the main square opposite the Campanile. I love that it looks like the woman  is holding the pigeon.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Meat shop window

I think everyone who goes to Siena, takes this picture.
It looks very casual. like somebody just left their bike parked in the window, but my friend Paul took the exact same shot with the exact same bike. Talk about a Disney" scenic spot"!

Candy Fruit and Gelato

Food  displays in Florence were incredible.....
and delicious.   look at these candy fruits. the whole store was gorgeous.

This gelato store was in Siena.  You walk a lot in these towns, but discover  something extraordinary on every turn.

Ancient decorative arts... let's see Two's Company knock these off.
 Obviously, everywhere we went, we saw great works of art, in streets, cathedrals,  outside castles.  I think I want to learn to paint frescoes. I was a mural painter for a year, so I know how to paint vertically. I've just never painted on wet plaster.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ah... Siena

I've wanted to go to Siena all of my life. The color by that name was my favorite in my crayon box. That's how long I've wanted to see it. Well, I saw it. It was everything I thought it would be. The rooftops, the campanile,  the gelato shops.  The central square  has shops and cafes all around the edge.  food and shopping were fantastic. I bought linen scarves in many colors. the prices were good too.

What do you think of the door?

My new house...

This is the castle. The owner is a governor of the Chianti region. He still lives there.  Isn't it gorgeous?
We were in Italy in the first part of July. The weather was perfect. It never got over 80.

Most old cities are walled. The people from  Siena were always fighting with the people from Florence. This castle is right in between.

We couldn't stop "Wining"!

What do you do when you are visiting  a world famous wine region? It didn't take us long to find out. We travelled from Florence to Siena tasting and buying red wine, and olive oil!  It's so funny, because we drank all day for five days and never got drunk or had a hangover.  Of course, we ate like pigs too. So, the wine was diffused.

Don't you love those green glass jugs. I wish I could find them here.

That's  me chugging a glass. My friend is ordering some fantastic something to eat. This cafe is on the grounds of a castle. We were able to walk on the grounds of the castle after we ate.

Shutters and laundry never looked so good to me!
This is Radda, the first town we visited, and this is the first restaurant in which we ate.

I loved the narrow streets everywhere. I also loved the shutters on most houses. You'll see many shutters in these pictures.

Our farm table  on the balcony, was always loaded with the freshest fruits and food available. We had a woman  make us breakfast  and dinner whenever we were home. She  made squash bloosoms and new potatoes sauteed in sunflower oil. That's the only oil  I  like  to cook with now. It turns everything golden, and is very light. We also had  pasta bolognese, and she even made us coffee gelato.  And, of course we drank bottles of Chianti for every course. Ok, maybe not breakfast.

This is the view from my second floor window. I looked down onto another farmhouse in the valley.
Look at the rows of vines. Glorious!