Thursday, October 31, 2013

Day 22- Ahhhh Roma!

(Originally posted on July 3rd on my facebook page.)

day 20-something (I forget)

Try to get in a quick one from the hotel lobby, since our room wi-fi is a bit spotty. After a lot of soul, er...web, searching, we decided to stay in our lil' stinky room near S. Maria Maggiore. it's a very convenient spot for setting out for any part of the city, and the weather is great so we can leave the windows open. 

One of my very favorite Roman era frescos from the Villa della Farnesina.  I used the frieze as a model for part of a room I did a few years ago.

First thing today we headed over to the Palazzo Massimo, which has the creme de la creme of antique Roman artifacts and especially, drum roll please, fresco murals from the Villa della Farnesina, an all time high in wall decoration that was dug up from the back yard of the Villa Farnesina (Raphael's decoration) on the banks of the Tiber. Excellent way to start the day!

The Baths of Diocletian were turned into a church by Michelangelo, who wisely preserved the original arched windows, which have been copied many times over including at Grand Central Station in New York.

We got some picnic supplies and ate in a little parklet across the street from the S. Maria degli Angeli, which is built in the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian, converted to a church by Michelangelo. After we walked through those spaces, which also inspired Penn Central and Grand Central stations in New York, we walked down to the Capitoline Museums, another Michelangelo remodel. Great collection of various stuff in a gorgeous setting, and we had a coffee there on the terrace, which gives a fine view of town looking west. Funny how when you can see the landscape without the buildings in the way, it seems smaller. Kind of like when you look at the foundations of a house it always seems smaller than when it is built.
Michelangelo created these crazy Ionic capitals for the Campidoglio buildings.  They are so cartoony, both in shape and in the faces he used as fleurons.

The foundations of the archaic Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus have been enclosed in the museum now, and it includes some good displays on the early settlement of the Capitoline hill. Really amazing to walk on paving that was in place 2500 years ago!

Artist's rendering of the Capitoline hill when the Temple of Jupiter Optimus was built- 500 BCE.

Those museums connect to the Tabularium, a space under the Palazzo Senatorio, that was a treasury of sorts (and later a prison) but has a fab view of the Forum from above and behind. It also has a section of the entablature of the Temple of Vespasian, which is probably the most detailed ornamental stone work anywhere in the world. Really cool to see it up close.

Unbelievably fine sculpting of the entablature which once graced the top of the Temple of Vespasian in the Roman Forum, now protected in the basement of the Palazzo Senatorio. How they were able to do work this fine on a large temple is beyond me. 

As the sun was getting low, we decided to walk to a Tibetan restaurant Marianne had read about. Went past the Colosseum at dusk, past the park where the Domus Aurea (closed because of water problems) and then up to the very pleasant Via Merulana where we had a great vegetarian meal. 

Beer shrine in the Tibetan restaurant.

Back to the hotel, with gelati of course! It seemed like they had done something to alleviate the stench of the first day. Like I say, a fine cheese! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Duomo di Ferrara 2013

Just posted a new set of photos from the Duomo di Ferrara, which has some very nice grisaille work inside and some good marble reference shots. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Photos of Caffe Florian in Venice

Just posted a nice new set of photos of the Caffe Florian in Venice today on Flickr (link here)

Caffe Florian opened its doors in 1720, making it one of the oldest coffee houses in all of Europe. It is located on the Piazza San Marco, on the ground floor below the Museo Correr. Its many rooms are painted on walls and ceilings with some very nice ornamental work, mostly from the 19th century. They don't mind if you poke your head in to look around and take a photo or two, though its worth the price of a (12 Euro!) coffee to sit where Lord Byron, Casanova, Goethe and Marcel Proust have all sat and sipped.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Villa Valmarana ai Nani photoset up on Flickr!

New set of photos up from the Villa Valmarana ai Nani, a lovely retreat outside Vicenza that features fresco work by Giambattista Tiepolo and his son Giandomenico, each with their own style. Giambattista was more drawn to mythological subjects and a grand style, whereas Giandomenico was more about genre subjects and exotic locales. Both very talented artists, but father was probably a bit superior in his inventions. Giandomenico did many studies and drawings, and he has a curious wandering line that I happen to like also. For more  words on the day I took the photos, go here.

Detail of a dog from Giambattista Tiepolo's fresco in the main house. For the rest of the photo set, click here