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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 02, 2010

Thursday Continued (and it goes on for awhile!)

So, there I was on the Corso Vanucci, ready for the next adventure.  But before I got started on that, the buildings just looked so beautiful against a (rare) blue sky that I took this picture:

I have to say, I'm really happy with this picture. :)

And then I just took this one of the three guys over the door.  The originals of these statues are in the Galleria Nationale (which we will get to in a bit).

I had picked up a booklet (I may have mentioned it before) from the Tourist Information place that outlined 5 "itineraries" and they all kind of start out right around the Fontana Maggiore so I decided I would try one of those.  I didn't plan to do the whole route, because they are long, but there is one that takes you by a site where they have excavated a Roman mosaic from way back and I thought that sounded like a goal.

First on the route was the Palazzo dei Priori which was built, added on to, extended and who knows what all, starting in 1293 and 1297 (the left section) and the right section being added in 1335.  At least that's what my booklet said, but a diagram which is in the entryway to the National Gallery and which I couldn't read showed more than 2 sections.  So, I found this link for anyone who wants to look at it and you can decide what you think after looking at my pictures which I tried to take in sections following the diagram..   http://www.perugiaonline.com/perugia_palazzodeipriori.html.

Here is the diagram:

Now here are the pictures I took trying to get the sections shown in the diagram:

The darkish pink section...
Then the section beside that...
 If you look real closely you can see where the tower was incorporated into existing structures on either side, which I believe is confirmed in that link (although I'm already forgetting what it said!)

The blue section...
And the end white section.
Then you turn the corner and face the north side of the Palazzo.  I think the way my booklet describes the sequence, the earliest section was the first photo and the way the link does, this stairway side and balcony side were the first two sections,  but I suppose, really, who cares? 

The bronze griffin and Guelph (and I don't know what a guelph is but this is apparently what it looks like) are copies of the original bronzes which are in a picture later on and the two huge chains hanging down on either side of the entry were taken by the Perugians from the gates of Siena after a battle in 1358.  I find all this "ancientness" fantastic!

And while I was on this side of the Palazzo I took this picture. If you noticed the crennellated top on the view above, here's its shadow.

So, then I searched out the three guild halls mentioned in my guidebook.  First one I found (just a very small sign and a closed door that I opened) was the Collegio della Mercanzia (the Merchants Guildhall) which is basically just one small room, but absolutely stunning.  Everything is wood, all the walls and the entire ceiling.  There is a lot of inlay work, a lot of carving, and beautiful, beautiful wood.  It was apparently done sometime during the 15th century and is probably as beautiful now as it was then.  Here are the pictures:

This didn't do well at all but they shine such bright lights on everything that it's a little more than a point and shoot can handle. 

This was some of the inlay on the (I guess) podium.  I don't think it would be a pulpit since this isn't a church...

A close up of one of the long inlay panels on the podium

This inlay is in the center of each of the trefoils that cover all the walls.

And the absolutely stunningly gorgeous ceiling!

And this was over the entry door, I think - at any rate it was up high on a wall and only appeared once.  The griffin is everywhere in Perugia - the major symbol of the city.

And I was just about to leave when I saw a door opened in one of the walls - if it was closed, you wouldn't notice it.  So I peeked in to what was apparently an office-type space with this glass paned door that went into another area.  Such a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and it's just in a storage room type space!

I also found the Collegio di Cambio (Exchange Guildhall) which was another stunner - this one entirely covered in frescoes, both walls and vaulted ceiling, but I wasn't allowed to take pictures of it.

Then I went into the entry of the National Gallery to inquire about tickets, hours, etc., and took a few pictures of that entry area:

Those aren't steps leading up to the window - just tiers of block - I took it cause it shows how thick the wall is.

 Just a corner in the entry-way - these arched ceilings are everywhere in Perugia and I love them.

This last one is a picture of the the original (1271-81 date) bronze Griffin of Perugia and the Guelph lion.  Pretty magnificent aren't they?  And I know that I read somewhere about the holes in them but it must have been in one of the guidebooks I left at home cause I can't find anything about it here.

Across from the Palazzo is the Logge Di Braccio commissioned in 1423.  There were originally 5 of these arches. 

Now somewhere in this kind of messy pile of stone below the first arch on the right, is the base of the non-existent bell-tower of the early cathedral and a stretch of an Etruscan-Roman wall of travertine marble blocks.  I couldn't quite figure out what was where although I think maybe the base of the bell tower starts where the patterned wall of the cathedral ends and comes out to a point and then back towards the rest of the wall.

After all that, I set out to continue my walk in search of the Roman mosaic.  And, of course, found things that I HAD to take pictures of along the way such as:

An arch which is like something out of Alice in Wonderland - you just walk through to the other side and continue down the street and through a "real" arch.  I think this is a "wannabe" arch...

And here's an arch over a public fountain, I guess you would call it -- they have these lots of places and I see people rinsing off their hands sometimes.

I'm calling this and the next one the Mama Mia series.  I just wish I had been quick enough to get a better picture (particularly the tattoos running down the side of her leg!)  Ain't she somethin'?  Sparkles on her dress, lacy anklet socks, white short legging coming down below her skirt...now this is how you should dress if you're going to Italy!

I thought this was pretty much a classic Italy shot.  As was this one:

I didn't find some of the things I was supposed to be finding on this route, and half the time wasn't sure I was still on the route, but I did finally come to the 13th century acqueduct:

But there is a staircase on either side, and I was pretty sure I was supposed to take that rather than walk the acqueduct, so I did.

I was moving along well and even came to the street the book said I would, and then the instructions said, and I quote: "at the bottom of the steps, proceed as far as Via Santa Elisabetta and then left as far as the Roman mosaic."  Simple enough.  At the bottom of the steps, I DID proceed to Via Santa Elisabetta (at least I thought it must be cause I couldn't proceed any further).  I asked someone, and yes, it was the right street.  So I turned left and started down it and went a ways, and a ways further and started stopping people saying "Scusa, Roman Mosaic?" and pointing to the picture.  No one knew...finally I saw a young man and thought okay, one more time.  I showed him the picture and "oh, yes - it's right here" and he turned and pointed to the building we were standing beside which was a modern building, absolutely covered in grafitti and posted notices, and dirt - windows were filthy, etc. I wish I had thought to take a picture of it.  But he went over and pointed into the filty windows and I went and looked and sure enough, there well below street level was the Roman mosaic.  Not a sign ANYWHERE!!!  But he showed me the entrance door and in I went and got my pictures, darn it.  It's a very nicely laid out excavation, with many explanations of the work done to get it to its present state and in English even.  But no clue outside that it's in there.  Weird...

To the faithful who have reached this point, there are only two more pictures.

I stopped and had, of all things, a gyro sandwich at what I imagine is pretty much a student hangout and it was really tasty and cheap!

I then retraced my path up all those stairs and took these two pictures:

You need to hone in on the yellow building at the bottom of the hill and particularly the red car.  There's still more to climb.

Now I'm about 15 steps away from the top of the staircase (with still some upward bound road to climb after that) and you can just see the red car down there at the bottom.  And that's pretty much what walking in Perugia is like!



rosanna said...

Yes, Perugia is stunning, I love it to bits. ave fun and do not overtire yourself. Rosanna

Christopher said...

What a successful day out... terrific pictures, and that all-wood room is simply amazing! The ceiling alone is a marvel. Very nice pictures to share with us... love that long staircase with the man in the suit.

January said...

The mosaic was pretty impressive once you found it - did it say what was going on with the harpist and all the animals? I too love the all-wood room, not too surprisingly. Wouldn't it be nice if everything were always so gorgeous?
Glad you had such a pretty day for your trek!

jfalls said...

Love, love, love the photos! The sky is so blue and the buildings so gorgeous. Love the ceiling photos and the statues. But I gotta say, my fav is the Momma Mia series!

Hi! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hi! said...

Just had a nice note from Heather which sounds like a comment to me, so here's what she had to say:

Hey Mom,

Sounds like things have been on a nice upswing since some of your earlier
posts and I am glad to hear it!

I love, Love, LOVE, your photos from Thursday - in particular the ones of
the gorgeous wood ceilings! Ah, Italy - they just don't build more
beautiful structures....

I can't wait to hear all about your truffle hunting experience Tuesday!
Miss you and love you much.


Hi! said...

Don't worry - nobody made a nasty comment - I deleted one of my own cause it had a mistake in it. Here it is corrected:

I didn't even think to say anything ABOUT the mosaic - I was so impressed (or not) with its situation! But my book says it depicts Orpheus, enchanting the surrounding animals with his lyre. And it also says it's the remains from a vast hot spring spa from the 2nd century A.D. And it also says (aren't you glad you asked?) that Perugia's earliest settlements go back to the 9th century B.C. and that from the 6th century B.C. onwards, the town began developing into "a harmonious fusion between town and hillside...reaching its maximum expansion in the Middle Ages." It goes on but this is probably about as long as a comment should be. :)


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