Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Last Venice photo

an image into a canal.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A couple photos of Venetian walls

I realize that anyone can and does take amazing pictures in Venice; it's just that picturesque. I saw many of those photos before I went and they gave me pretty high expectations for the city. I wasn't disappointed.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Venice Canals

from my Venice set on flickr.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ah, Venice.

I have lots of other pictures of Italy, like these from all the towns we visited on the weekends, and these images of reference pictures we took- basically stuff we want to remember- but I'm going to end my Italy blog posts with images from my favorite place in Italy.

We ended our 3 months in Italy with Venice. I was excited to see it, because it is so unusual, but I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. I heard the "elegant decay" description used before we got there and it is appropriate.

Above is the Grand Canal.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Do you have a ticket? the gun show? Well, not that gun show, but N and I did accumulate a fine collection of photos of Italian guns and weapons. See them here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cortona, encora

We spent the bulk of our time in Italy in Cortona, a little town in Tuscany and it was every bit as charming as one would expect.

The photo is above is the view from our apartment window showing the bells of the church of San Francesco.

Fun facts about that church: built in 1245, it was designed by Friar Elia Coppi, who was the same person that designed the famous Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi.
This friar was excommunicated twice during his lifetime and died in Cortona in 1253. After he died, the church sort of 'lost track' of where he was buried until Renaissance renovation on the church dropped a beam through the choir floor revealing a body in monk's robes. There was no name, but they suspected that it was Brother Elias.
In the 1960s, researchers from the university in Perugia were able to verify that the bones belonged to a man who died approximately 700 years prior and who was between 70 and 80 old when he died, confirming it was most likely Brother Elias.

For the rest of our images from Cortona, look here.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Vespa means wasp, in Italian

Not surprisingly, we saw many Vespas and other beautiful scooters in Italy. N loves the shapes and details of such things as inspiration for his work. Here are the pictures we took.

Friday, June 3, 2011

After Rome

We went to Florence.

It was a welcome change, I thought. The people were friendlier, and the pace was slower.

Here is the green Arno.

And the obligatory photo of the Duomo. It's kind of busy, don't you think?

But our favorite place in Florence was by far La Specola, a natural history museum opened on February 21, 1775! It had taxidermied animals unlike anything I've ever seen before and is famous for its collection of 18th century anatomical wax models.
Here is a flickr set (by someone else) with great photos of the models.

For more pics from our time in Florence, visit my flickr set here.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Not to be morbid, but...

reminders of death and the dead were pretty prevalent in Italy. Which is OK by us, 'cause we think that can be interesting.

We especially enjoyed the representations of skulls, which were everywhere.

And, as metalsmiths, we were excited about all the reliquaries, which are containers for holding all, or part, of a saint's body.

The rest of the pictures are in my Reliquaries and Skulls set on flickr.

One of the coolest places we visited, dealing with the dead, was the Cappuchin Crypt in Rome. We couldn't take pictures there, so this one is from

A very interesting place, to say the least.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

In Rome

I started telling my story of Italy in non-chronological order. We actually started our trip in February, in Rome.

I don't know if I was tired, or stressed, or intimidated by my meager language skills, but I didn't love Rome. I still have some good memories of it, like Sant Eustachio coffee , supposedly the best coffee in Rome and I have no reason to argue with that, since it was delicious.

And the Pantheon; absolutely spectacular. Completed in 126 C.E., it was originally a temple to all the gods, and is now a Christian church--probably why it wasn't destroyed during the Middle Ages. This photo is a view of the oculus (opening) in the top of the domed cieling.
It was an amazing space because it is spherical inside: the height from the floor to the oculus is a tall as the diameter of the dome and the effect makes the ceiling feel like it's simultaneously very light and open, and closing in on you. Awesome.

I also really enjoyed the Roman Forum and Coliseum. Crowded with tourists, yes, but truly impressive.
The English literature professor with the program read some poems by Lord Byron when we visited and this was my favorite section:

CXXXIX-- from Lord Byron's "The Coliseum"

And here the buzz of eager nations ran,
In murmur'd pity, or loud-roar'd applause,
As man was slaughter'd by his fellow-man.
And wherefore slaughter'd? wherefore, but because
Such were the bloody Circus' genial laws,
And the imperial pleasure. -- Wherefore not?
What matters where we fall to fill the maws
Of worms -- on battle-plains or listed spot?
Both are but theatres -- where the chief actors rot.