060718: Remembering Italy

 

My son called a few days ago, telling me about the wonderful first visit he and his family are currently experiencing in Italy. And I couldn’t be happier to hear all about their adventure. So, with all that going through my mind, and with a serious desire to be there myself, I have opted for the next best thing – my photo libraries! Today’s post scratched that itch (for the time being!).

I started off with some trees – the opener is from an olive grove near Assisi. The image immediately above is a very old tree in the garden surrounding Leonardo‘s home and birthplace in Vinci.

Doorway, Florence

Spello, Umbria

Street Shrine, Florence

St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice

Entryway, Trastevere

Vegetable Stand/Barge, Venice

Flowerpots, Trastevere

Private Driveway, Tuscany

Gondolas, Venice

Rome

Souveniers, Assisi

Dress Shop, Venice

Santa Croce Basilica, Florence

Thanks for visiting Italy with me today!

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0312: Almost Spring

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We hit fifty degrees yesterday – what a welcome relief! Spring is near. For whatever reason, my thoughts turned to the trees that are soon to bloom. So I put together a group of tree images for the post today. No fossils this time. Hopefully melting snow will uncover some and provide me with fresh new fossil pics. Until then please enjoy what Mother Nature surrounds us with. (More on Mother Nature at the end of this post).

Today’s opening image is from an olive grove near the town of Assisi.

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Siena, Italy

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Vermont

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Lake Champlain, NY

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Paris

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Boboli Gardens, Florence,Italy

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Platte Clove NY

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Leonardo da Vinci birthplace, Vinci, Italy

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Cairo NY

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Lexington VA

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Opus 40, Saugerties NY

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These four color images are possible late additions to my upcoming show at Marist College. The opening is set for April 1st, 5-7pm. More on that in days to come. For now I thought they would be a good counterpoint to all the black and white.

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This last one is part of an entirely different project. I had to include it since I just finished it and I think it holds much promise.

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A final note – regarding Mother Nature. I was knocked out by a video that a friend posted on Facebook yesterday, so much so that I needed to share it with you. It comes from the website Nature is Speaking. There are eight brief two minute videos beautifully shot with voiceovers – very powerful statements that need to be considered. Perhaps a donation might be in order.

Thanks for the visit.

Italy on My Mind

It seems that everywhere I turn lately I run into stories about Italy. No surprise, really. There are always stories available on every subject. Often we only see certain ones thanks to whatever is bouncing around in our conscious or subconscious minds. This time one year ago I was packing for a highly anticipated trip to Italy that included stops in Rome, Florence, Venice and Umbria. And that trip, with my partner Cindy at my side, was one of the true highlights of my life. Oh to be in Italy again!

So I was particularly struck the other day when I saw an article in the NY Times written by Helene Cooper (“My Big Italian Dream Party”). It’s a wonderful story about her dinner party at the olive oil estate, La Montagnola, family owned and run by Vittoria Iraci Borgia and her assistant Carmela. We spent a week there, winding down in the Umbrian countryside, after weeks of urban bustle. Strolling through the olive groves, staring off into the beautiful countryside, dotted with small hilltop towns, could be enough of a vacation on its own. But the proximity to Assisi and a host of other “jewels” of small towns turned the visit into a wonderland adventure.

While we didn’t sit through any large dinner parties, as did Helene, we ate very well indeed. Upon our arrival, Carmela presented us with a fresh tin of olive oil that graced every meal. The local food shops were equally wonderful. Often, though, what is far more important, far more memorable, and far more touching, are the smallest of acts. One day, after exploring the nearby towns, we returned to the lovely converted farmhouse we were staying in. As we approached the front door we found sitting there a small vase filled with wild asparagus.  Vittoria picked them on the way down from her hilltop palazzo, thinking, rightly so, that they would enhance that evening’s dinner. And they did. It’s the little acts of kindness and thoughtfulness that remain in our hearts – far more than all the art, fine food, or beautiful landscapes.

So, with all that in mind, here are images from La Montagnola and the surrounding areas. Next week more fossils, and many more Italian images in the weeks ahead. But for now a little bit of Umbria.

Thank you for the visit. More images at www.artmurphy.com

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