Olivia Alexander Art Blog
Hi there! I thought I would post a sample of my Artist in Italy blog. The previous entries are on my website and I still have more blogs to post! Please have a read and feel free to leave comments, I would love to hear from you. http://www.OliviaAlexander.com
Monday May 3. Day 8 Leaving lovely San Marino we head south to Urbino in Umbria region, the green heart! Urbino houses the Ducal Palace, Palazzo Ducal which as built in the 1400__™s and also the home of Raphael the artist. I buy some gorgeous postcards of his artwork at his house and then we find some lunch- One feature of Urbino is its pottery which was spilling out of the shop doorways. Umbria is a great area for pottery. Next stop;Gubbio, another picturesque hill town that climbs up Monte Ingino. some of the group get the cable car (baskets for two people) up to the top to View the mummified remains of san Ubaldo but Ian and I decide to give that one a miss and explore the town instead.
The film 'Father Matthew' was filmed in Gubbio.
Next a visit to the only ___Made in Italy__™ factory in the Umbria area. Samples of chocolate, Wine, cheese and seasoned Olive Oil are offered-
At the tasting counter are the factory cats, The two sit directly underneath to catch the bits that accidental drop to the floor. I can't resist, I have to offer them some of my samples ! I__™m a sucker for animals.
We jump back on the coach and head for the Holiday Inn Express in Foligno - our tour Director Pasquale', sings out his now famous saying "Thank you Jesus,' at the thought of another hotel.
tues May 4 Assist We start this day with a visit to the Basilica of St. Francis with its famous paintings by Giotto dating back to the 1300__™s. These frescoes depict the life of St. Francis. What struck me about these artworks was the astounding colours especially the cobalt blues. They were so vibrant, like they had been painted yesterday. We couldn__™t take photos which of course, helps protect these priceless pieces.
Next we set off for Montecassino where we visited the Benedictine Abbey. The Abbey rises- 1700 feet above sea Level. It was founded in 529 by St Benedict and it became the home of the catholic order of Benedictines.
It was destroyed by the Allies during WWII due to its strategic position. When we jumped off the coach to head towards the Abbey entrance, on our left there were some huge iron gates, behind which were 2 beautiful German Shepherd dogs, we headed over to say 'hello' along with another couple, German Shepherd owners like us, I didn't take long for us to 'win' the dogs trust but as they moved around we noticed both dogs were crippled- their legs were deformed, probably due to inbreeding. We were so saddened to see these beautiful, intelligent animals in this sad state. Anyway, we said goodbye and left the gates and headed up the cobbled drive way to the Abbey entrance.
It is indeed a beautiful place and has a majestic atmosphere, Ian headed in another direction up the steep steps further into the centre of the Abbey grounds while I approached the ancient archways that looked out over the valley below. Green hills, grape vines. fruit trees and a delightful little river meander through the long grass, As I looked down upon this delightful scene my heart missed a beat-there running through the long grass between the grape vines were the 2 dogs! they were chasing each other, rolling in the grass and generally having a carefree, happy time. I suddenly realized they must have been taken in by the Abbey monks because the dogs were crippled! I stayed for ages just watching them play-it made my day. Im such a big softy when it comes to animals and hate to think of them suffering. We explore a bit longer, more photos of course.
From there we then head to Naples for a 3 night stay. Naples was Pasquali's home so he was very excited about seeing his girlfriend and his Mum.
Naples was an unusual place-As we approached the area we could see Mt Vesuvius looming in the distance, on our right, nothing but high rise apartments. Washing hanging from the balconies We didn't see any houses just these apartments. The strange black soil of the area, due to the volcanic activity, was so rich that the lemons grew to the size of a football.
The Bay of Naples is beautiful- such an unusual place. Italy's most colourful city!
The roads were very busy and there we kids playing Soccer in the traffic! Apparently that's very common as they are ___soccer mad__™ having produced the soccer star-.
Wed May 5.-Capri (pictured above).
We hop on a boat and head for the Island of Capri-the sea is that amazing jade colour, The Island has incredibly beautiful coves of translucent blues and greens-including the famous. 'Blue grotto'. After getting off the boat we climb aboard a small mini bus and hang on for dear life as it hurtles up the narrow winding streets. It is truly a beautiful place, We walk around the narrow, traffic free streets with our local guide, Leonardo. Visiting Piazza Victoria in Anacapri, Villa San Michele and viewed the majestic cliffs from the public gardens. We stroll more streets and outside the numerous clothing shops women's cloths are displayed-gorgeous white linen trousers and blouses, Bright colours, scarves and hats.
I buy my usual postcards Including one of two cats who live in the centre and are well known to all. I met them when I first got off the bus.
Ian and some others go up the mountain on single chair lifts.
I'm not good with heights so I opt for coffee at a cafe with another lady from the tour group. I drink cappuccino and take more photos, admiring the geraniums in terracotta pots scattered around the alfresco area.
Later in the day,after more food, (awesome Pizza Margerite) we catch the mini bus back down the steep, narrow roads to the bay. Ian and I are horrified as we notice the bus driver is busy texting on his mobile phone whilst hurtling us at full speed down the hill. The road is so narrow it__™s barely able to accommodate traffic coming in the opposite direction. I say one of my many prayers on this trip and we arrive at the bottom in one piece! To make up for being too scared to go on the chair lift I hop on a speed boat for a tour of a different kind - one with more speed but without the height! The waves are a bit rough but I get into a kind of rhythm with the movement of the boat-actually it's a bit like riding a horse, at a gallop that is!' The wind in my hair, my sunglasses covered in salt spray, it is exhilarating. We scoot in and out of the rocky alcoves enjoying the postcard scenery eventually returning to the pick up point for the boat back to Naples. Stayed tuned...