Italy

Moderators: John, Sharon, Fossil, Lucky Poet, crusty_bint, Jazza, dazza

Re: Italy

Postby Toby Dammit » Wed May 28, 2014 2:33 pm

Image
Isola Bella

Lago Maggiore is just over an hour away from Milano by train. I went their earlier this month to walk in the Alps and visit Isola Belle, one of the little Borromean islands just off the coast of the holiday town of Stresa (pronounced stray-za).

The lakeside road is dotted with grand hotels, some of them very grand indeed, especially the Hotel des Isles Borromees which, with its Hotel de Ville roof and neo rococo moulding is like a large chunk of Paris plonked down next to the water.

Image
Le hotel du posh

My own hotel wasn't so imposing but I did have a superb view east over to Brenna.

Image

First thing I did was hop on a ferry to Isola Bella to see the celebrated garden there. It was began in 1632 and finally completed in 1671, the plaything of the Borromeo family. Quite simply it is like something out of a dream with its terraced pyramid and spiky obelisks, symbols of the sun, a little bit mad and, like many a rich man's plaything, screams "look at me!" and "keep away" both at the same time.

Image

Image

Image

Image

The garden is patrolled by albino peacocks, who's hideous shrieks can be heard on the mainland in the evening.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
If it ain't baroque, don't fix it

Image

Image

Somewhat overcrowded with multiple coach parties of French OAP's when I first arrived it soon quietened down a bit and I could fantasise about having the place as my own private Island of Cythera.

Image
Isola Superiore

Image
Bella indeed

Image

Next day I walked in the Alps the easy way, heading up the five thousand feet Mottarone by cable car which took us above the snow line for some magnificent views, then took an easy 4 hour stroll back down to Stresa along well signposted paths.

Image

Image

Image
View from Levo

It was a great afternoon walk, with a short stop in the dark interior of the tiny 11th century church in Levo, but one I'd hate to try in the other direction. I was back in Milano that evening in time for dinner.

Image
travel, films and stuff https://freakydog.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Toby Dammit
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 477
Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Laaaandan

Re: Italy

Postby Botanic Squirrel » Thu May 29, 2014 10:31 am

"The garden is patrolled by albino peacocks..."

That should be a line from a James Bond novel. :)

Great pics. That's an area I'd love to explore.
User avatar
Botanic Squirrel
Second Stripe
Second Stripe
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:05 am

Re: Italy

Postby Toby Dammit » Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:01 pm

Image

An hour or so before sunset and already the city had began to glow faintly orange, its roofs, towers and domes gashing great shadows across the medieval scaled streets. The swarms of acrobatic, screechy swifts had begun their evening decent to dive bomb the piazzas, bridges and alleyways. I was standing at the top of the torre d'Arnolfo, the sinister, battlement encrusted, 13 century tower, visible for miles around, soaring above the rusticated Palazzo Vecchio like a scorpion's tail. Suddenly one of my fellow tower climbers belted out the first few bars of "O mio babbino caro", that Puccini aria which has become so emblematic of the city of Florence.

Image
Torre d'Arnolfo

For a brief moment it was as though time in the Piazza della Signoria below froze as all movement ceased and everyone stood and listened, transfixed. Sadly the tower singer was overtaken by sudden shyness, her spell was broken and we found ourselves back in real time, blinking at the evening Florentine light, hairs on the backs of our collective necks settling down again.

This was on the second night of my third visit to the great but tiny city and my first in the summer. I was there to see the fabulous Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi, which ended just a few days after my trip, hence my taking a chance on the stunning heat and the legendary hoards of American tourists who flood the place in high season. As it turned out neither of these factors were as bad as I feared. Yes it was hot, a pretty steady 35 degrees, but in a well shaded townscape it wasn't too bad, and as I had previously seen the 4 great queue points, the Accadamia, the Uffizi, the campanile de Giotto and the top of the iconic dome of the cathedral I didn't have to test my patience with the huge, mostly American and Chinese lines snaking away from them. There was even a queue just to get into the Cathedral for a free peek. The main drawback with the steamy weather was the ol' place could be quite suddenly and seriously stinky.

Image
campanile de Giotto

Image

Image
Vasari's fresco inside the dome

Image

Sadly in 2014 many of the visitors who will only be able to see Firenze on this one time in their lives will be somewhat disappointed. The 11 century Baptistery is covered in scaffolding which badly obscures the famous doors by Ghiberti. Brunelleschi's 15 century Ospedale degli Innocenti is covered in scaffolding and closed. The opera of the Duomo is covered in scaffolding and closed. The Cellini statue on the Ponte Vecchio is covered by the most intrusive scaffolding possible, marring all views of this iconic landmark from the west. Half the interior of the Medici tombs under the dome of San Lorenzo are covered in scaffolding (as is the spire of the basilica). On the day I visited, the top floor of the Bargello was shut too, though I suspect I was just unlucky that particular morning. Most disfiguring of all however are the clutch of cranes around the Uffizi ruining the famous views of Santa Marie del Fiore from the Piazza Michelangelo and Hannibal Lector's favourite vista, from the Belvedere.

Image
The baptistery before the big cover up

Image
View from the Uffizi

While of course a tourist and car battered city of such great age needs a bit of TLC now and then, I couldn't help but notice that the most prominent crane in the courtyard of the Uffizi had been there on my last visit in 2010 and had looked old and rusty even then. It may very well still be there in 2020, in Italy these things happen.

Image
Santa Croce

But enough moaning, here's some pics from December 2010 and July this year. I just wish I was back sitting outside Dondino's in Piazza Santa Croce, knocking back a few beers as the sun goes down turning the white marble of the basilica a bright red then pink. And odd to think that if the ancestors of the screechy, show offy swifts who fly ecstatically around the Piazza at dusk had been interested for just a second in the lumbering people below, those little birds could have glimpsed Michelangelo, Ghiberti, Galileo (who are all buried in Santa Croce along with Machiavelli and Scarlatti, among others), Botticelli, Uccello, Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Bronzino, Brunelleschi, Pontormo, Boccaccio, Masaccio, Della Robbia, Giotto or Dante, whose statue stands outside the church and memorial within. But they would probably have been having too good a time to notice those mere immortals anyway.

Image
Ponte Vecchio

Image
Borgo della Stella

Image
Bargello

Image
Palazzo Pitti

Image
Bargello. The Donatellos and the Della Robbias live here

Image
Palazzo Pitti, with Titian's La Bella

Image
Blub, Piazza Santa Felicia

Image
Michelangelo's Medici tomb dome

Image
Bargello

Image
Cellini's shadow

Image
Via Ghibellina

Image
Detail of Bronzino's Christ Decent into Limbo, in Santa Croce

Image
Tomb of Lorenzo di Piero de' Medici with Dusk and Dawn

Image
Tomb of Galileo

Image
Giardini Bardini

Image
Pazzi chapel by Brunelleschi. The opera scene in Hannibal was filmed here

Image
Piazza della Repubblica

Image
Via Ricasoli

Image
Palazzo Vecchio

Image
Medieval tower in the Borgo degli Albizi

Image
Ponte Santa Trinita

Image
Giardini Boboli

Image
Giardini Bardini

Image
These little stick men signed .K were all over the place

Image
Michelangelo's pissed up Bacchus in the Bargello

Image
Torre del Gallo

Image
The Arno. Only the Ponte Vecchio survived the war. The Nazis destroyed all the rest as they retreated.

Image
travel, films and stuff https://freakydog.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Toby Dammit
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 477
Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Laaaandan

Re: Italy

Postby rabmania » Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:41 pm

Grazie signore!
rabmania
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 857
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:36 pm

Re: Italy

Postby MadTom » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:43 am

those peacocks are amazing! beautiful snaps - get me to Italy.

was planning being in France for Spring next year, but I think i need to re-evaluate ...
MadTom
Just settling in
Just settling in
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:13 pm

Re: Italy

Postby Botanic Squirrel » Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:41 am

Fantastic pics! I especially love the 'Cellini's Shadow.'

The last time I was in the Palazzo Pitti there was nowhere for visitors to sit down in the actual rooms, so I was aching by the end of it. But there was a little cafe in the courtyard where you could get a coffee and a munch and I loved the fact that when a cat wandered in and jumped up on the tables to beg for scraps, no-one kicked up a health-and-safety fuss! We all just smiled and petted it.
User avatar
Botanic Squirrel
Second Stripe
Second Stripe
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:05 am

Re: Italy

Postby jodieohdoh » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:41 pm

Amazing pics. I went myself in June this year for a few days, what an absorbing and enchanting place. There was one of those red and black .k graffiti drawings just a few yards from my apartment. Also a few yards from my apartment, the best gelato in the city :roll: Yeah.... 2.5 kg gained in 5 days, I'll just leave that there...
User avatar
jodieohdoh
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 1046
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:11 pm

Re: Italy

Postby Toby Dammit » Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:29 pm

As the albino peacocks seem to be a hit, here's another pic of these unassuming creatures.

Image

jodieohdoh wrote:one of those red and black .k graffiti drawings just a few yards from my apartment.


And a few more of .K's scribbles. Though under one of them on the fence around the Opera del Duomo an exasperated Italian had written "Basta!"

Image
Can't remember where this was

Image
Via D'Ardiglione

Image
Via Ghibellina

Image
Via D'Ardiglione
travel, films and stuff https://freakydog.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Toby Dammit
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 477
Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Laaaandan

Re: Italy

Postby rabmania » Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:25 pm

I've a shed load of pics from a recent trip to Naples. Here's some, I'm no Toby Dammit, but then who is (apart from Toby, obviously)? We barely heard anyone speaking English in Naples, even the monster cruise ships seemed to send their tours out to Pompeii etc, so we had the city (so it seemed) to ourselves- even 'hotspots' like Gesu Nuovo and Santa Chiara- empty.

I happened upon San Martino, high up on the hill overlooking Naples, and it was a treat. Cloisters...
Image

Image

I've not had a chance to put all the San martino pics together, but will do if there's a desire.

Naples from the hill
Image


A fairly typical view, in the San Lorenzo quarter.
Image

Piazza del Plebiscito

Image

and again
Image

and inside the round building- San Francesco di Paola
Image



Exterior of Gesu Nuovo
Image

Interior of Gesu Nuovo
Image
rabmania
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 857
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:36 pm

Re: Italy

Postby Toby Dammit » Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:00 am

Been more than a decade since I was last in Napoli, let's see some more please Rabmania (and restore the missing pics).
travel, films and stuff https://freakydog.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Toby Dammit
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 477
Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Laaaandan

Re: Italy

Postby rabmania » Mon Nov 10, 2014 8:59 am

Exterior of Gesu Nuovo
Image
Image

Interior
Image
rabmania
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 857
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:36 pm

Re: Italy

Postby rabmania » Mon Nov 10, 2014 9:58 pm

For Toby, Napoli:-
The Metro stations are coming along nicely
Image
Image
Image
Image

but some things don't change
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
rabmania
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 857
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:36 pm

Re: Italy

Postby Toby Dammit » Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:15 pm

rabmania wrote:Image


Oh, that's choice.
travel, films and stuff https://freakydog.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Toby Dammit
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 477
Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Laaaandan

Re: Italy

Postby Toby Dammit » Thu Feb 04, 2016 3:57 pm

If you've been following the Staglieno thread on this section of the forum you will have noticed I've mentioned an east coast trip to Italy and San Marino I took back in April.

Image
Matera

I've started a blog which I'll be using from now on to upload all my travel ramblings (when I get the time to write them up that is), and my first post was about the fabulous town of Matera in the south of Italy, where I spent my birthday last year.

Image

Image

Image

Image

You can read my Matera story here:

https://freakydog.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/matera/

and meanwhile here's a photo I didn't upload to the blog.

Image

I'll keep posting any new cemetery stuff on the Staglieno thread, but for now I'll say ciao to this section.
travel, films and stuff https://freakydog.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Toby Dammit
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 477
Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Laaaandan

Re: Italy

Postby Lucky Poet » Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:09 pm

Toby Dammit wrote:Image



Particularly beautiful.

I have to say thank you very much for your stuff on this thread of course - it's always been a pleasure to read and look at. Blog bookmarked, and I'll look forward to any new Staglieno goings-on here. Ciao, baby.
All the world seems in tune on a Spring afternoon, when we're poisoning pigeons in the park.
User avatar
Lucky Poet
-
-
 
Posts: 4161
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 1:15 am
Location: Up a close

PreviousNext

Return to Around the World

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron