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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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October 11, 2010

Some Saturday Sightseeing

Saturday will be mostly pictures of my journey to and my visit in the Pinoteca Nationale, the National Picture Gallery.  I also went first thing in the morning to the Vodaphone store to tell them that I still couldn't get on line and this time got a young man who took a lot of time working at it (using my computer which the girl the day before hadn't) and finally got me on-line with my new SIM card (that I had bought the day before). And see?  That was something else I did Friday and had probably blocked out! :)  So I went back to nel Cuore a very happy camper especially when I got on line and saw how many nice e-mails I had waiting for me.  Then I worked on photos and the blog a little and then I started out to the Gallery.  Another beautiful but chilly day.  Oh, that was another thing - I actually went into a store which had cheaper clothes than I had seen anywhere in Italy and bought a big heavy sweater.  There was another one that I tried on, but I thought this one would be better.

So, off we go.

First thing I had to do was take a picture of the church just down the street from me.  I had been asking Maria about a building I had seen with a wall just full of pock marks which I thought had to be from gunfire.  But I couldn't quite imagine that kind of fighting during the war because the men would practically be standing in front of each other to shoot - although I guess they'd be shooting at the buildings hoping to hit someone inside?  Anyway, she couldn't think where I was talking about but did tell me to look up to almost the top of this church when I went out to see a half circle gouge in the upper ledge which had been caused by a bomb or mortar shot or whatever that came down just at that point and that was apparently the only damage.  When I got there, I looked and sure enough, there it was.

The whole front (pretty much) of the church and...

The gouge in the ledge.

And this is the building I asked Maria about.  I showed it to her when I got back and it turns out that is her bank building and she just never noticed or at least it didn't register.

I continued on, having mapped out my route pretty well.  Walked past so many beautiful and tempting shops.  I saw a store that sold all kinds of salts and peppers among other things and there was some of the red salt January and Maggie brought back to me from Hawaii!  Small world...  (Ooh, there's a big man/woman fight going on outside my window as I type this...)

Went around a slight curve in the road and there were the two towers, still kind of far away and as I've mentioned before, photos are tricky here because everything is so close, plus, there are electric buses so there all the overhead wires for those, bunches of signs, plastic over so many buildings or parts of buildings.  But I took one anyway. :)

Notice the plastic around the bottom.  But isn't that a great old building on the right?

I thought I must really be moving into new territory and at the next intersection turned to look for the street name and was looking into the Piazza Maggiore.  Just from a different location that I had seen before.

 And good grief, here's more naked men, but they just seemed so dramatic for what appeared to be just a building.  Probably had been a palazzo in the past maybe - every building seems to have been.  And they really were this gilded gold. 

Now I was closer (too close to see the short leaning tower) so I took another one and when I saw it with all the tram wires crisscrossing around it, I decided to crop everything except the tower and then got kind of tickled when I saw it - just looks so sort of insignificant or something.

I passed this pretty church (at least I assume that's what it is).  Kind of run down probably but it actually really is this lovely creamy yellow and has the pretty decorations painted on it.

And this little area wasn't really a courtyard I don't think.  Although you had to walk through a little arched walkway to get to it.  It butts right up to a church and was so very peaceful and lovely.  And from an open window in one of the upper floors of the building at the back, came the sound of someone playing a beautiful piece of music on the piano.

Finally I was getting to where I thought the gallery should be and of course was seeing no signage saying "go this way" so I asked someone and they didn't seem to know what place or what street I was talking about.  Walked across to the next street so I could see what it was and found that all I had done was walk slightly past where the gallery is located.  Isn't it kind of amazing that you can walk past their most important art museum and not even know it?  But you can and I did. 

Decided to have a little lunch before I went in so I wouldn't get hungry and have to quit again.  And this is where I got in free because I was old. :)

I had passed up one thing that I was really tempted to take a picture of - I hadn't seen any signs but assumed it was "no photos".  But as I wandered through thinking "oh my gosh, more madonnas and babies and more crucifixions", I saw other people taking pics so I went back and took this one first just because it was so huge and so gold.  This would be from the 13 or 14th century because they had all their works categorized by age which was interesting.  I was amazed at how much gold was used this long ago - even on what appeared to be quite modest pieces.

This is the one I had wanted to take a picture of - well it's a portion of it.  And you can probably see why I wanted a picture.  Here it is a painting from the 1300 or 1400's and there he sits with a model of the 2 towers on his lap!  And the leaning one is already leaning and has had its top cut off.  Is it just my imagination or is he looking a little concerned about that leaning tower?  Neat-o!

It's very difficult getting pictures of the paintings because there is always light shining on them no matter where you stand but I took this one because it wasn't a religious one!  Please don't get me wrong - I have nothing at all against religious paintings but one does begin to long to see a picture of something else.  In this one, it's very fuzzy I know, but when you look closely (or larger) you can see this teeny-tiny dog on the table and another teeny-tiny one in the back room.  And the poor woman on the left hopefully complained to the artist about the strikingly black shadow (hopefully that's what it is) under her nose!  I kind of like how the man's got his hand on her arm, too - like he thinks she might try something foolish.  It doesn't look particular affectionate.

Same thing here - another family portrait.  The poor woman here seems to have a very flat head.  But it's a nice little group, I thought.  I forget what age we were up to by here but it would be later.  The collection ranges from the 1300's up into the 1700's.

And then I came across another wall-sized painting down at the bottom front of which was another model of Bologna - this one the entire center city surrounded by its walls.  Loving miniatures as I do, I really enjoyed seeing this.

I had seen this picture on the way in.  You go up a double curving staircase and on the first landing is this huge painting.  That's Christ in the center because he has a halo but I thought after studying it that surely it must be something other than the last supper because there were dogs wrestling, great platters of foods, etc.  Decided maybe it was the wedding feast where he changed the water into wine.  So on the way out, I took a picture of it this time - I couldn't get the whole thing in the picture - it really is BIG.  Then I went back to where a staff member was sitting and we managed to communicate enough for me to ask was it the wedding feast (ended up saying "vino to..." and was searching for a word for "water" (aqua, idiot!) and she knew right away what I meant and said "si, si".  So that's what it's portraying.  Looks like a good time was had by all.

The next three are of the incredible upper wall and ceiling painting over this beautiful staircase.

This first one is a portion of the trompe l'oiel  on the upper walls which is so realistic looking it's really hard to believe there are no columns and balconies up there.  I think it helps the illusion that the ceiling is so far away.

This is the center section of the ceiling.

And this isn't the best picture ever, but it's pretty much the entire ceiling - incredible, no?

The next four are all of the same building that I came to walking back from the gallery.  I call it the building of many parts cause it had little towers, dormers, porticoes, I don't know what all, and I wish I could have found a way to get some of that captured.  But that's why there are four pictures - I kept trying! :)
Coming to it from behind




This made me think when I saw it that there must be more to zamboni than an ice smoothing machine or whatever it is zambonies do to ice.  So I looked it up and found that Anteo Zamboni is an Italian hero because he tried to assassinate Mussolini.


This is a picture of the plaque in the Piazza Maggiore which honors him and once I found the plaque, then I had to try and find out what it says which led to looking up Anteo Zamboni only to learn that he did this when he was 15 years old.  There was a parade and he shot at Mussolini and missed and was immediately captured and hanged on the spot.  15 years old...

That was my sightseeing for the day.  I had to do my packing, of course and wanted to work on my blog some more.  Had been working on that for a while when all of a sudden a little sign popped up "you only have 2 hours left before you run out of time".  This after I had just been there in the morning and the guy had got the new card properly inserted giving me another 30 hours!!  The frustrations of Vodaphone.  The store was closed Sunday so I couldn't do anything about it but I know that what happened is the girl told me the first time I went that it wasn't working anymore because I was out of time, even though it was showing I had 4 hours left, so I bought the new SIM card.  So, for whatever reason, Saturday night the computer was obviously still using those 4 hours and I was getting close to running out.  In other words, the new SIM card was a waste of money - I didn't use one minute of it.  But don't worry - I stayed happy - just ticked at Vodaphone.

And that's it for Saturday.  Sunday will be very short because I gave away all my secrets in that e-mail I sent to everyone when I got to Florence. :)

Right now, I'm going to go find me a bowl of ribollita soup and a glass of red.

Ciao!

7 comments:

Christopher said...

What a nice day out...
I remember Mas here telling me about the towers in Bologna (I think he spent a semester in study there.)
Pity about your Vodaphone situation---perhaps there is a "deactivate" step you're meant to do at night, or else it stays "on" all night? Or maybe data useage uses the hours faster than voice useage? Glad it hasn't slowed you down.
That painted ceiling is just fantastic... reminds me of a similar grand staircase in the Hermitage!

January said...

The upper wall/ceiling in that museum is something else! I'm glad you were allowed to take some photos. And how neat that they have all the paintings of the city itself. Did you see who the person was with Bologna in his lap? Maybe a bishop or patron saint or something?
Fun, fun, fun!
Looking forward to seeing you soon!

From the Editor's Desk... said...

I DON'T know who the man is holding the model. I'm assuming he is a pope or maybe a cardinal - don't know if a bishop would be important enough for a large painting, although maybe. There was nothing in English, but I know I read about either this painting or the other one with the model somewhere because it mentioned that the painting provided the best representation of the city of Bologna in the "?" century. That being said, I'd assume they were talking about the OTHER model in the other painting because it does show the complete city. I've searched on line and can't find a picture of either of the paintings.

Chris - no, when I go to look at my usage for the Vodaphone, it shows the date as starting on October 1 (which is when I bought it - so that's the original card's data. I HAVE the new card IN my Vodaphone, and maybe what happens is if I used up the last minutes from the old card, it would then somehow switch automatically to using what's on the new card. Perche no?

A domani!

Mom

January said...

It's Saint Petronious! He was Bishop of Bologna in the 400s! Here's a link to the Wikipedia page about him...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Petronius

I feel better now :)

From the Editor's Desk... said...

What in the world did you use for a search term? But even though they don't show that particular picture, I bet you're right. And maybe he's got that look on his face cause he's wishing his model was as complete as the one in the other painting!

Thanks for finding that - I feel better too. If I'm going to give tours in Italy, you'll have to be my assistant. :)

jamie said...

Breathtaking! That is all I can say. I can't imagine the time and talent that went into all of the architecture and artwork! Love, love, love the "Bishop" with the model! You have taken some incredible photos. I'm proud, and a little jealous...
Miss you!

J

From the Editor's Desk... said...

Jamie - it's about time you said you missed me you skunk! Or about time anyone did, actually! I sure miss everyone and am looking forward to settling back into the "old routine". Next trip I'll have to remind you that you're allowed to just actually write every now and then and tell me what's happenin'. :)

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