Italy Extravanganza~ Day XI, Part II

     Today is the day, ladies and gentlemen, that I have been waiting for. The day we reached Ravenna. This place was a source of power and a focal point of the reborn Roman empire in the West under Justinian. It wasn’t too last, because shortly after he took back Italy and much of the territory the Western empire had left in shambles, the Byzantine empire faced numerous problems of it’s own. That included a bout of the plague and renewed hostilities on their own borders. What they left in Ravenna was a remarkable mix of Eastern and Western art that is literally breathtaking. Photos do not do this place justice. If you ever have the chance, go and see it for yourself. True, I liked Milan and I love simplicity in art, but there are times where beauty overwhelms your own personal preferences and this place is really just that beautiful. I took a lot more pictures of it than I’m going to post, so as always if more pictures are desired in any respect, please let me know and I will consider an addendum post after the last official post, trees of Italy, is out. With no further rambling, let’s get this on.


We arrived in Ravenna in the early afternoon. I was so very excited that I about dashed off all by myself. Then I got distracted by this gate, specifically the stone work on each side of the gate. Not sure where my picture of the other side went.

Here is a shot of the gate from a little back. I went back to find my parents, who were often like stray sheep that needed herding.

I wanted a shot of thee wall to the right as well. It looked Roman to me, though of course the town is really more known for its more Eastern art and architecture. It is important to remember that this was a seat of power in the West for a long time.


Huh. I guess I did get shots of the other side.


Now that is cool. I hope you can tell I was pretty ramped up too see this. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this was the highlight of the trip for all of use. For me, I had been looking forward to it. For my parents? They would never forget it.

I was so excited that the streets seemed kind of magical to me. This town is a bit like Milan, to be honest. Nothing fancy, but it was such nice vibrant colors and the houses are just different enough to avoid tedium.

I’m not even sure what I’m looking at. Does every cause in Italy have a paint stamp on thing?


Yet another hammer and sickle.


This was the street that led to the church we were trying to get to. It was really depressing to see.


Hammer and sickle…and…alien wearing armor made of garbage cans? Ok, that was an interesting choice if nothing else. Also, is that alien on life support…from himself?


This was like…the alley where the graffiti artists go to argue with their spray paint.


Another revolution, and also one that “Luso Gay” with a heart next to it. So is someone gay for Luso or is this an insult? I’m confused.

The No Tav again and a lot of other things I couldn’t even begin to keep track of.

Here we have a very stylized hammer and sickle.


More of the same, but that’s not why you’re here, is it?


This is why you’re here. Just look at that design. The borders are so elegant, the center doesn’t ever repeat itself in any part, yet it still maintains a sort of symmetry. The designs are flawless, elegant, but certainly not over simplified. And this is the floor. And the whole floor is like this. Look beyond at the next design! And even beyond the lower borders of this picture. Dear God, this is the floor. This amount of attention and care was given to the floor.


One of the stone caskets inside the church, I believe, there were certainly plenty outside.


Sad faded paint. Even in a place like Ravenna. Especially because a place like Ravenna.

    Again, the floor! The design here is certainly simpler than the rest of the church in places, but it’s still the most awesome floor I’ve ever seen. How many times can I make a statement like that and have it mean something?


I wanted a shot from the floor towards ceiling for scope. In terms of sheer size, this is not the largest church I had been to. The monastery in Padova takes that award, for the huge ceiling and the massive pillars, but it’s still fairly large. And there is just so much art here.


This is, I believe, one of the side domes. I got sidetracked on my way to the main goodies, and who could blame me? This place puts more effort into it’s floor than some places do in the entire building.


There it is, the front of the church. It took my breath away. I stood there with my mouth hanging open like an idiot for about two minutes, literally.


This is the last shot of the floor. I promise.


A shot from a little further back for scope and to catch the light of the windows. Again, I had to stand here for a few minutes and just take it all in.


The ceiling above where the main altar iis. Hence the four evangelists and the lamb in the center.


The front piece of the dome. I’m still a bit overwhelmed by how beautiful the front of this church is.


This is the border going around the whole arch that separates the altar from the rest of the church. The apostles go from either side to the top where Jesus is the centerpiece.


Both sides of the wall were covered with scenes from the bible. Taking pictures was very, very difficult, so I am giving you the ones that turned out well. Any requests for more will require me to dip into the ones I wasn’t happy with, but some of them are ok. The details make it hard to get a sharp focus with my hands shaking so badly.


A good shot of the apostles on the left, along with part of one of the scenes, and a few of the Saints they added to the wall next to the apostles.


Another closer shot of the dome. I didn’t like the details in the first one, especially once I noticed the red and blue things above their heads.


And here it is, the most reproduced image from this entire church. And I only took one shot of it. This is the only shot of Justinian that I took the entire time that I was there. I’m ashamed. Still, it is very cool, even in this shot.


The best fruit of my efforts to get as many of the apostles in one shot as I could.


Eventually, I gave up and just tried for a decent shot of the whole wall. Thankfully, this one turned out alright. Detail shots were just not in my favor today.


The ceiling again, this time with the apostles and Jesus to the left. I actually sat down and leaned back on the floor to get this shot.


Another detail of a scene from the bible on the walls that turned out fairly well, overall.


Another shot of the wall, this time including a few bible scenes and the pillars over to the left.

Here I finally noticed the insides of the arches. And the lambs in the center with the cross. This place is a sensory overload, and I’m not even an artist.


I wanted one last shot from far back as I could get. You may think it’s not worth it, but take a look at the walls on the right and the left. Oh yeah. It was worth it.

I wish I could tell you this was the last picture of the floor. I really do. Still, the design here was worth a shot.


Ok, this is the last picture of the floor. Today. But seriously, this tile-work is amazing. How many hours must it have taken to not only design, but build and somehow make fairly seamless a floor that has so many different designs on it?


And beyond the church was the courtyard.


It had a lot of these. Not the lambs on either side. I say that because the next one is very different.


Much smoother in this one, huh? But the same style remains in the center.


Another of my favorite pieces of stone-work. Any help on the symbols, Miss. Cobwebs?


This is a smaller building off of the main church. And thus is the best shot of the ceiling I got.


This is the show that I had to try quite a few times.

Hey, everybody! I know what this is now! It’s the old testament tabernacle. I’ve read enough of Bede to have that image plastered in my head for a lifetime.


Finally managed to get a detail shot of this part. Many failures were required.


There were four figures on either side of the dome. I was unable to get a good shot of the other two.


And that is the church from the outside, I believe, on the way back to the car.


Heraldry with a dragon! Come on guys! Dragons are cool! Anyways, that’s enough for now. I hope you all are looking forward to the next post. Next time we start in on the Florence posts. I have to work on separating the pictures to figure out how many days it will take, but my guess is that it will be around four. After that, things will really start winding down. There was only one big day after that, so this little special feature is really starting to wind down. I do hope that you enjoyed it. I took so many pictures, and I’m happy I got some good use out of them. Next time, Florence~


Italy Extravaganza~ Day X, Day XI, Part I

After so long traveling from place to place I finally put my foot down and decided to spend a day doing nothing. You see, as fun as going around Italy like this was, it also remained quite exhausting. I took the day we were in Padova to sit around at a park. I read my first ever copy of Speculum and smoked my pipe, letting the warm sun hit my shoulders. It was amazing. Sadly, I was unable to enjoy it as much I would liked to, because I was dragged off to a museum. We realized at this point that the Italian transportation system is entirely funded by tourists as we never once saw an Italian buy a ticket. The time in Padova was well spent, so far as I’m concerned. You may ask, since I only did spend one day in this city, why this is two days? On the morning we left, I took some more pictures. All of Padova was in one folder, and I’m not turning that into two posts. This also allows me to focus entirely on Ravenna. Here then, gentle readers, is what you could say is beginning the end of these posts. But weep not, they will be good ones since Florence is just around the corner and that is going to be a very long series of posts.


This is my favorite shot of Padova. You would think it would be the park, but alas this is not the case. I never took a good shot of it that I could find. The paint on this mural is so vivid. Some of it has faded, such as the lady in the center, but the coats of arms and the leaves are still really vibrant.


The park is to the left. I’m really sorry, this is the park where I had an amazing epiphany about life, but I somehow took no pictures of it.


Coats of arms in stone  outside a church/museum we stopped at. I went and left with reservations.


I think that’s from H.P. Lovecraft. I could be wrong, but it looks like a drinking buddy of Cthulu.


Stop! In the name  of…safety…befoore…I’ll stop now.


Another interesting bit of graffiti.


And here’s the anarchy symbol again.


The same coats of arms in a different place in stone.


Slightly different coat of arms in the center, though it does still have the lion.


Would this be the coat of arms of the third son?


I really love coats of arms that h ave the huge helmets on top. Especially the ones that aren’t human.


I’m assuming at some point this guy was holding a spear. There would be more pictures of this place, only all the inside bits had signs up saying that photos, flash turned off our otherwise, were verbolten.


Another coat of arms with the helmet on top. Dear God, I could take pictures of those all day.


Since I was not allowed to take pictures inside, I needed to take pictures of any bits of art that I found outside.


I really did love the stonework back here. It wasn’t as good as Ravenna, but in places it was really quite beautiful.


Simple enough graffiti. This all seems to be in order.


No TAV and the anarchy symbol again. If anybody knows what these mean together, please let me know?

100_1516    For some reason, I really loved this bit of graffiti. Maybe it’s the expression on the bird, or the First Love thing. Either way, it was enjoyable to see.


It was kind of interesting how many times we ran into writing on the wall that looked like it was done in around five seconds with a permanent marker, much of which was political.

Those little red hearts are something I started seeing here. Again, I have no idea what these are but I found them in multiple cities. We ran into a lot more of these things too, and they all look like stamps. Anybody know what they are?

And in this one, there’s a green version of something else.

Hahahaha! Oh lord, this city and it’s graffiti.

And now there’s a darker red book. I have no idea, but I am very fascinated.

Another in the series of scrawls that are political. This one looks like it was done in either crayon or lipstick.

This was another of my favorite pieces. It’s true art that I found on a random street. The colors make it epic.

And here is another black book, I wanted to make the point that these things were everywhere.

Another heart and a red Euro. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to which stamps are together.

At the very bottom of that you can see a sign that says occupy your reality. This is another bit of graffiti that I found around a lot.

100_1534     Here is a black heart.

There were also these red hearts that say things inside them. This one also seems to be bleeding, though that may just be an effect of the stamp.

And here is another, just to show that these things were also in more places than once.

This is the church we stayed at. We didn’t stay in the church, there was a guest house, but this place is epic.

It was hard to get it all in one shot, I dare say that it was impossible.

A white skull? Not sure this  is the same thing, but it was fun.

My favorite kind of street shot.

A huge bit of political graffiti.

I wanted a close up shot of the hammer and sickle at the end, I actually did try and get it into one shot, the one above was my best attempt, but it was just too long.

We ran into this one on the same walk.

Another pairing, this time a black book and a red heart with the occupy your reality graffiti below it.

The ghost was kind of odd, because it seems like someone took advantage of another piece of graffiti already there to have fun with his own piece.

There was a sign put up outside a school, I believe. I liked it because they actually used a sheet as opposed to a wall.

This is the inside of the church for the monastery we stayed at. As the outside was, so the inside is just huge.

I found this lectern really fascinating. It’s just odd seeing one in three pieces, though the centerpiece is amazing.

This is an icon supposedly painted by Saint Luke, the evangelist.

As befitting a church of Saint Luke, you find the Ox in many places around the church.

Here is a shot of one side of the church, again to give you an idea of scale.

I really loved this design on the floor. Again, Ravenna is a better one, but this one stuck out because most of the rest of the floor is so much simpler.

And there is is, from the b ackk of the church. I was awed by the sheer size of it It’s kind of sad that the community itself is winding down here and they can hardly maintain the church. It’s so beautiful and the scale alone is honestly enough to take your breath away.

A side altar with a coat of arms in the front. I really love it when the older bits of art maintain their feeling and color. We’ve seen so many bits of art that have simply faded away from lack of care and overall neglect. This and the mural on the wall kept me very excited to find more art like it.

Last picture, writing at the parking lot of the monastery where we were staying. I’m sorry I haven’t been particularly verbose today, but like my trip I am getting quite tired as well. I need a bit of time to detox from the stress and relax. Thankfully, the trip is in the last stages now. Till next, time~

Italy Extravaganza~ Day IX, Part II

Here we are at Day II of our little sojourn in Venice. This may end up being a three day post, Day IX that is, although I am certainly hoping that is not the case. I took far too many pictures. By this point my camera was starting to complain. Every time I started it up, it would have a little pouting session where it was “loading” and then it would be ok, once it had a little sulk. To be fair, the Duomo in Venice is not something I took a lot of pictures of. It was enormous and beautiful, but the lines were absurd. And as is usual in Italy, you had to pay to go on. I suppose that’s reasonable, because you can’t expect the Italian state to foot the bill for keeping these structures in good condition, but naturally it was pricey. The reason we didn’t go in had more to do with the lines and the heat, though. Despite the month, it was unseasonably hot in Venice that day and at this point in summer, the crowds were too much for me. We ended up just enjoying a nice walk around the town. Here, with no further chatter, is the second post of Venice. Enjoy~


This shot down a narrow canal is one of my favorites over the course of thee whole trip. I think I have some pictures from the bridge of sighs, if anybody asks. I will have to locate them though.


More call stone pieces on the walls, Naturally, I needed a shot of them.


I’m not sure what building this was, but I regret not going into it.


The bird on the left shares the same texture quality I’ve loved in all the birds thusly so far.


More graffiti. This one looks a little nicer, but still very political.


Apparently this is the motif of Venice. Every city had a sort of graffiti climate if you will. This one sums up Venice.


Alot of graffiti in Italy, even and especially political graffiti had hearts somewhere in them. This revol also has an eye.


This is one of the other churches that we ran into. I wanted a shot that showed how interconnected the buildings were.


While the outside of the church was sort of fascinating I was less enthused with the inside. Being a historian of a much earlier period makes me a little uninterested in art that falls so far beyond the scope of my admittedly meager learning.


So I got some shots of the pieces that stood out to me so I could show them to Miss Cobwebs when I got back home and did this series of posts.


I likely missed a lot.


This shot has a very interesting angle to it. Not so much my picture but the buildings. I’m not sure what to think of them.


Yay~ Another old man face! I will never get tired of those. Also the fountain is cool.


Oh hey, look! Bob has been to Venice too! My local public restroom and Venice. Bob sure gets around.


Yet another Nazi graffiti bit.


Another great shot of an alleyway which I believe from here opens up into a wider space.


But really. Look at all these freaking people.There are so many people in these shots. It was a nightmare for me, which is why the shots are kind of lacking in terms of numbers. You’ll see what I mean once we get to Florence.


Butcher graffiti? Ok, now I have seen everything.


I really wish this wasn’t in Venice.


I really could not get enough shots of these buildings. The narrow alleyways were so inspiring to me. It felt like being swallowed up by the past.


This is the kind of shot I’m talking about. Barring the color of the paint on the houses and maybe the boats, this is an old city. For one brief, blessed moment you can throw yourself back into the past and look out over those canals, wondering what kind of life you would have lived in Medieval Venice.


I really, really wish this wasn’t Venice.


And here’s the heart with the eye. Looking back at the other ones, I wonder what this bit of graffiti supports?


This is the church we did not go into and dear God is it beautiful. The sheer size of it is awe-inspiring.


Look at the color and the detail under the arch! It’s complex but it never assaults the eyes. It has so much beauty packed into one place.


Every one of these shots represents a long and hard effort on my part to get the best shots I could. I had to stand fairly far back, which meant my shaky cam arm was becoming a nuisance here.


You can still see some blurring in these photos, and I really wish I could have gone inside. By this point, I think the trip was starting to wear on us all, however.


And this is the last picture I took of the church. I should have taken a picture of the lines but I was kind of distracted.


This was a very strange clock. It was the months on it, as i recall, and below that in the inner circle the Zodiac symbols. You may recall, as well, that we saw the same kind of thing in the Duomo at Milan. The zodiac, not the bizarro clock for time travelers.


Ok, so I couldn’t resist throwing in a few more of the cathedral.


If the lines weren’t so long, I would have gone in. Even the outside of the church deserved so much more attention.


Here’s the same winged lion.


A closer shot of the weird clock thing.


And this was the piece above it.


No, no. Not the gondolas. Look past the gondolas. Aaahhhh! Yeah, another really huge church.


I tried so very hard to get that figure at the top. This, sadly, was the best that I was able to do.


This is not the same church that i couldn’t help but add another shot of. I’m actually pretty sure it isn’t.


And there it is, the Bridge of Sighs. Not the one in front, the one behind it.


Hey, everybody! This is Venice! Just draw shit on the walls!


A much better shot of the Bridge oof Sighs.


This one was actually pretty cool. It was a bird made out of random things, words I think. Could be wrong.


This is not the same heart. I saw this in other places as well, after this.


We took a water taxi out, and I had to get a few shots from the canal to the ground.


Another shot that really lets the past just swallow you whole. This city was such a joy. if it weren’t so crowded, I would have enjoyed it far, far more.


These are just houses, but they look so awesome. And I’m not even talking about the fact that they’re on a canal, though that does help, but because they just look so awesome. Yeah, I know, articulate. I like simplicity.


This building really intrigued me. I wish I knew more Italian. I wish I knew Italian. I would have been asking about every building. As it is, I will simply enjoy the mystery.


This shot is so very cool because of all the different art styles packed into it all at once.


I love the balcony and I think there may be a park or at least a grassy area right behind that wall.


The alleys in the canal look even cooler when I take a shot from the canal!


This is another church I really wanted to go into. Sadly, a couple of drive by shots were all I could manage.


I suppose this is the only way I could get it all into one shot, though. Please forgive the smudges. I was taking these shots behind the window as mere moments before another tourist on the boat dropped her camera into the canal. Another sacrifice to the canal gods, I guess. Well, next post will be a bit unique. We spent two days in Padova (or Padua) which was well known in the middle ages for it’s medical school I believe. I spent the day in a park, which I took some pictures of. We needed a rest, very badly by this point. The day after we came here, on the way to Florence we stopped at a place called Ravenna. Some of these pictures come on the next morning, which would make it Day XI but I’m going to keep them with Day X. That way, when I do Day XI, Part II it will just be Ravenna. Not that they would be easy to mix up. Till then~


Italy Extravaganza~ Day IX, Part I

Well, here we are. Venice, at last. To be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to Venice. To be sure, the city is beautiful and I’m grateful to have had a chance to go but this is the middle of the summer in one of the most romantic cities in the world. I have agoraphobia, which made it very difficult to deal with the crowds. This is one of the reasons why I didn’t take as many pictures as you might have expected here. That was the same at a few iconic places in Florence as well. As is becoming standard, if you want more pictures of something I will always be willing to do an addendum post once this is all over, if I have any more shots of the desired sight in question. There were two things that stuck out to me about Venice. The first was that, as was the case in all of Italy, the food was really expensive. That being said, this was a whole different level. We went into a bar at one point, which granted was a famous place, and getting three cokes was the price of a meal. The other thing was that I felt a tug in a city for the first time and my parents indulged me. For those of you who don’t  know what I mean, I like to think of it as a gut feeling, or instincts that I need to do something or go somewhere. So we went in the direction I wanted to go in, letting that tugging feeling guide me. It was worth it. Here, with no further delay, is the beginning of the Venice posts.100_1369

In order to get into Venice proper, that is the cool part you want to see, you have to park the car some ways away and then get a bus to just outside the city. It was not, after all, built with tourists in mind. This graffiti on an overpass caught my attention on the way into the city.


Venice is just amazing beautiful. Both my mother and father had been there before when they were much younger, though not together ironically. They went in the late summer/fall when the tourists are not quite so plentiful. I came in June. You can see the problems. Well, not in this picture.


A park! I wish we could have gone in. Of course, this is a park in Italy, so likely it would have cost us all our monies.


That is the Duomo in the background I believe. I really liked this shot, with the bridge and the canal going off into the distance. If only there were less people.


Another shot of the Duomo in the distance. Right in front of us is one of the “stations” that the boats stop at along the various canals.


I really like these shots of streets from the ground level. I like trying to give you the impression of really staring down the street and wondering what you’ll find next. If I had a video camera I would have recorded this kind of thing.


A co at of arms that has seen  better days.


I really wish I had the forethought to get some shots of the stalls that litter the city everywhere you go. Still, this second street level shot is really quite fun too.


Out of all the cities we visited, my favorite was Milan. I liked it because it felt like I had gone back in time to the 1950’s and was an extra in Roman Holiday or something. This is pretty close to that. It’s not bland, but it’s in no way overly ornate. I’m a fan.


This city has more huge churches than you can shake a stick at.


This wall is less than inspiring, though. I was surprised it was part of a church.


More graffiti.


This is the church we stumbled into thanks to me following my nose such as it were. The light that shines down through those windows makes the place so bright. As much as I love Romanesque architecture, I have to admit that the high arches are quite impressive. And it’s also very simple, yet not without it’s charm.


I really loved the windows. This was a very exciting find, and it was just off the beaten path enough that it felt like a genuine discovery.


One more to give a sense of scope of the building.


This is when I discovered the dome in the middle to front of the building. This is so cool!


One more of the dome. I think that I really liked how bright this church was because it lifted up my heart and we were so very tired that day.


A painting in the church. I believe this place had relics of St. Lucy in it. Not sure if this is her, but this place needs repairs.


And this was the altar where they put her relics. It’s pretty incredible, even though I was more interested in the ceiling. Yeah, I know. I’m just weird like that.


And here are the relics.


A shot from the back, again for scope and the sheer size of this building.


This was above the altar I believe, in the church we just got out of.


“Hey, take a picture of dad when he’s not looking in front of the canal!” “You’re weird, mom…but ok.”


I really love this shot of the building with the canal around it going off into the distance. Even the everyday buildings are so beautiful.


“Hey, take another shot of dad not looking in front of the canal!” “Is this going to be a thing mom.”


“Hey, take another shot o…” “He’s looking right at us, mom.”


And here’s another of those old man heads I love.


I think the best part of Venice really is just the everyday buildings. They’re so beautiful that I took far more pictures of them than I should have.


Damnit! Stupid canopy! I’m trying to take pictures of the buildings!


I wanted to go in that building. I don’t think we did.

Oh, I’m smarter than I remember being. Here is a picture of one of the many, many stalls that dotted Venice. In most cases I would have been mad, but they still felt like the belonged here.


One of the coolest graffiti pieces I ran into in the entire trip. It was tucked away in an alley and I had to stop and take a picture of it.


I just wanted the murals. No idea what building this is.


Oh yes! That bridge griffon is awesome. Really, I would be guessing the bridge has to do with one of the four evangelists so holy lion on the bridge. I could be wrong, though.


Such an awesome shot, straight down the street.


I can’t read that from here. but it must have caught my eye for some reason.


As funny as it was to see Spirit right there, the rest of it is kinda ugly to be honest. It made me sad to see that in old Venice.


I believe this was part of a building that had a bank in it. Even the bank had such an epic building.


Very small random church we ran into. I have no idea what to make of this.


And I have never seen that symbol before.


If it’s a church, it’s in a very Eastern style.


I wanted this one because those steps lead up into a square and I wanted a wide shot of the buildings.


     And here is one last shot of a street with some stalls. Look at how many people there are! We didn’t even go into some places because the lines were too long and it was, quite frankly, too hot overall. Well, that’s the first Venice post. Until next time.

Italy Extravanganza~ Day VIII

Here we are at Day VIII and I have some good news and some bad news. Which this is for you all depends on how much you like these Italy posts. Firstly, as much effort as I put into streamlining the posts we still have a long ways to go. Most of this is due to Florence and our extended trip through the Pity Palace, as I like to call it. That means Florence could easily be ten posts, if I decide to not put too many pictures in each post. That means we could be going well into October, which is bad news for other projects I’ve had going on. Today was kind of a sad day, in terms of the trip. I really wanted to get another up close view of a castle. Well, sadly this is the best I got. The castle had a small city in which had been gutted to make room for some taverns and a bed and breakfast place. The church at the top was quite nice, but nothing too special. The view was great. but my camera was not at all up to the task of taking these pictures. We also went to a city by the sea, so I took a few photos there.


This is the view of the caste from outside the walls. I like how the tower is part of the wall, but it has a nice aesthetic to it overall.


I had become quite fond of seeing these trees around. It seems like they appear a lot in or near castles.


What the hell is that lizard doing!?


Yes, here is the picture of the lizard biting the other lizards tail. In this picture he seems to have given up. That didn’t last long, honestly.


I was really fascinated by this keyhole window. I couldn’t get a good shot out the other side, though.


This is the only one like this in pretty much the entire castle, church included. Again, Miss Cobwebs, does this count as a theotoko? I don’t know the eastern side of art nearly as well as I should.


I also really love taking pictures of streets like this. With Venice and Florence being right up ahead, you should be very excited by this prospect.


I’ve seen those metal bands on towers and castles all over Italy. if anyone knows what those things are for, for the love of God tell me.


The one shot from the top I liked. I raced up here to get it, but my camera was not up to the task.


Here is the door to the church. It’s the first time I’ve seen one that looked like this out of wood. Granted, a few millennial doors were as well, but those were rare cases too.


Naturally, I made sure to get all the four evangelists.


I really think this was one of my favorite sets. They’re simple. but they contain details that other versions lacked.


For some reason, getting shots of them was quite hard. I think by this point fatigue was starting to set in and so stopping my hands from shaking was taking a lot of effort.


But these were entirely worth the effort.


This was a church in the seaside city we went to. I made my parents stop so I could get some shots of the icons on the outside. This was one of the cooler ones.


Why did I take this picture? The face in the alley to the left. It’s pretty awesome.


A very cool cross that is fairly easy to miss at first glance.


Another Nazi graffiti.


My first shot of a city by the sea.


More graffiti. Hey look! It even says Triest on it. Which I believe is the name of the city in question.


Another of the icons that turned out very well. My picture thereof, that is.


The last icon I took a picture of from this church. Sadly, we could only delay for so long.


Another very nice example of ecclesiastical heraldry.


I’m not sure why, but I sure saw the anarchy symbol a lot while I was in Italy. I’m surprised it hasn’t shown up yet in posts.


I don’t know what this is, but it’s very cool.


One more shot of the town from the distance to round our today. I hope you are enjoying the posts of Italy so far. I was quite excited to share them with you, and remain so, even if I expected this to be wrapped up by now. At any rate, next post will be Day IX and that will begin our trip through Venice. Miss Cobwebs has kindly promised some art, so likely we’ll be seeing that after the last Venice post is up.

Italy Extravaganza~ Day VII, Part II

     This was an unexpected pleasure that we ran into. This small, not even worth being on the map town had an amazing museum and a beautiful church. I don’t think we even came here for any specific reason. I could be entirely wrong, but this was a place that we just ran into. Today I shall show you a bit of the town and the museum in the town. The church, sadly, I never thought to take many exterior shots of. The bridge leading into the town was very pretty, but all I wanted shots of was the dry riverbed. Here, without any further pointless rambling, is the second part of Day VII of our trip out of the mountains.


     I thought I would start us off with the museum for a small change of pace. The art is simpler, a lot of it comes from a much earlier and simpler time than the art we had seen to that point.


     The lion couldn’t be bothered to sit still for his portrait. Either that, or we’re missing part of the sculpture.


     I can’t put my finger on why I like this so much. The stones are simple, the book is sort of elegant, but altogether the picture just really works.


     One of my favorite pieces from the entire museum. My favorite piece is further down.


     Oh, how I love these faces. Each one carries such an odd combination of passiveness and expressiveness that it is so hard not to laugh every time that I see them.


     I needed to step back and get this all into perspective. The two headed statue, that looks like an owl up there, the guy with the big head and the beard.


     I really liked the details on this tree. What I’m liking even more is that I think I get what this statue is getting at.


   I was right!? Numbers are very important.


     I really wish we had the rest of whatever this was a part of.


     Whenever I see birds in a museum that contains artwork from early Christianity, I tend to hope/assume herons.


     So every single bird I saw, I had to take a picture of it.


     I’m not even sure I want to know.


     This really has been a tour in humility for me. Most of this art, I have no idea about what it is, what it was for and it’s been so long I don’t remember anything I read at the museum.


     Another mandatory bird photo.


     They have something similar to this at The Cloisters in New York City, and I saw a few others like it in terms of style in Milan.


     This lion looks very sad.


     Ok, now we’re getting to the good stuff. The tile work in this museum was unbelievable. One of my favorite art pieces from the entire trip was one of these tile bits. This one is also really nice. It’s just a pattern, but it’s not so busy that it makes your eyes hurt and the leaves on the outside are so beautiful.


     Even the colors and this basic designs really captivate me. I wish we had the entire design, and this was just for the floor.


     And this, I would be willing to bet, is an evangelist lion. Hence the wings.


     Another bit of text, in this case it looks very strange to me.


     I’m trying to remember where this coat of arms was. I don’t think it was the church, the streets had some wonderful little things just laying in out of the way places.


     A stone wall I couldn’t help but take a picture of.


     A former prison tower in the town that connected to the museum. Or what is now the museum. The yellow part in the center is the connecting bit.


    Shots that appear to have entirely left this modern world behind are rare things. Even this picture of this winding street doesn’t quite escape, after all there are the two bike trails in the middle of the street.


     A monastery in the town. I wanted this shot not only for the tower, but also for the lovely thatching on the side. The colors are quite nice, though I’ve forgotten what the material is.


     A slightly more ornate theotoko than I am used to seeing. Please correct my spelling, Miss Cobwebs, if I am off and also this is another pieces I wanted to show you.


     Another very beautiful street.


      A shot of the town from outside the town.


     Another shot from outside the own, trying to get more of the town and the mountains into the shot.


     This is the mostly dry riverbed. I really wanted to get a picture of this shot at many other places, leading to a few additions to my “trees of Italy” post.

Another closer shot.

And here I wanted to get a shot of as far down the river as I could.


     And here is is. My favorite piece of art in the entire trip. If you would like to see more pieces from this museum, or if there was anything from previous posts that you want to see more of, like mountains, please comment here or on any of the other Italy posts and I will consider adding another post for the request in question once the main posts have wrapped up.

Italy Extravaganza~ Day VI, Part II-Day VII, Part I

     Not really much to say about the post today. I’ll be showing you the last couple of pictures of the monastery we were staying and another sweeping mountain vista that I ran into while we were driving around. Today was quite annoying for one major reason. On the way to the one place we went to day, a place where Mary supposedly appeared (not sure if it’s an approved apparition site or not) we passed by a truly bizarre statue on the road. It’s hard for me to remember the details, but it was really quite unlike anything I have ever seen before. Sadly, on the way back down there was a car behind us so we could hardly stop on the windy mountain road too snap a picture.


    Here is my favorite coat of arms in the whole monastery. It’s in color, it’s in stone and it’s an actual shield shape. This is so very awesome.


     Another shot of the courtyard to give a bit of perspective to where all those wonderful coats of arms are to be found.


     Here is another of those sad, sad faded paintings. I really wish I could get these restored.


     Here is a picture of my father’s camera. He has a picture of my camera. His is way better. In the background is more of those faded paintings.


     Another shot of some of the coats of arms. For some reason. Why did I take this picture?


     This is the parking lot, outside the cloisters. To the left is the abandoned building near the front of the property.


     This is the other side of the parking lot. I really like those small trees we saw in a couple of places. There were similar ones in the courtyard of the castle. You can see the mountains in the distance.


     Somewhere over in that direction was a do not enter sign. I had to settle for a picture from this angle showing the rest of the property which is in serious disrepair.


     Here  is the side of the wall. I was really interested in how easy it would have been to scale the wall. The place is hardly on the scale of a castle, but it wouldn’t have been facing the same kind of siege. This is the kind of fortress that remains a thorn in the enemy’s supply line. You can’t be bothered to take every stronghold like this.


     I ignored the sign. I really wanted to get this shot of the towns spreading off into the distance.


    And also I really like taking pictures of mountains. MOUNTAINS!


     Those little towns just stretch out as far as the eye can see. This whole valley was so breathtaking. I never got a picture that captured it quite right.


     This shot is from the top of the mountains. I really loved taking shots from here, but sadly most of them were pretty wretched. And my camera took a dirt nap here.


     Goodbye, mountains!


     I’m starting to think we may have seeped into day VII, but I will keep it part of Day VI. This is a small town we ran into that was epically awesome. The name escapes me but here is the church for today. Another really cool coat of arms.


    Wonderful millennial door. Not the most ornate I saw, but very nice.


     More faded paintings from a bygone era inside the church.


     Panned up a bit to get that little one in the same shot.

I wish I could remember who this was, he was either the bishop or the patron saint of the church.

I was starting to despair of finding anything I really liked in this church until..

Good lord, look at that coat of arms  Even in this state, the colors are so vibrant. It’s a shame that pillar is there.


     This is the most epic coat of arms I have seen in this entire trip. Again, for a painting with faded paint the colors are still quite vibrant and the coat of arms itself has survived quite well. For once I remembered to take a perspective shot before getting into the details too.


    A little closer shot of the coat of arms itself. I love this one in particular. The hand on the left has two stars above it. The right is not overly simple, but not too complex either. In the closer shot you can tell that the original color was a wonderful sky blue.


     The closer still view gets us the two stars. Is that a peach on the right side? I hadn’t even noticed it.


     This is the other coat of arms in the church. Sadly, it has seem better days. The canopy survived with such lovely colors, but the coat of arms itself is missing chips of paint.


     Very happy, however, to see how the tassels survived the journey to today.


     Good lord, how much of this was lost? Though the coat of arms seems fairly plain, we’re missing the lower half so it’s hard to tell.


     And here is the third coat of arms, kind of the other end of the spectrum honestly. The entire setting is gone but the coat of arms survived alright.


     Part of the picture had books and scrolls or other papers. Made me very sad that the rest was missing.


     Here is another really cool coat of arms. I really liked the dog tied to the tree.


     Angry moon!


     This is the other side. I was quite sad to see it missing the top, but thankfully his partner on the other side survived.


     Plaque at the back of the church. Again, I was quite happy to get such a close shot of one that had such clear writing on it.


     And here is the text, for those of you Latin scholars out there.


    Another of my favorite kind of coat of arms. The colors and the stone, it’s so nice to see the colors are still fairly vibrant too.


     This coat of arms at the back had been through the ringer, though.


     It makes me really wish that the top left had lived on. I really want to see the complete coat of arms.


    And here is a shot of the whole church is perspective.


     And here’s one more. This is just a parish church, as well. I don’t think this was a cathedral. Till next time, everybody! This town also had an amazing museum in it. Get excited. I demand it!

Italy Extravaganza~ Day VI, Part I

     I know you all are raring to go for more pictures of mountains, but I think today we should slow things down a bit. The former monastery we stayed at was incredibly cool, and the first day I was there was not the time to take pictures. We had been riding around in the car all day and by this point in the trip, I was starting to feel the dreaded effects of fatigue. By the end of the trip I needed a vacation from my vacation. The first full day we stayed here, therefore, I went nuts and took a ton of pictures. I may attempt to cull some of them if they feel they’re getting too dull. Around the outside wall in the courtyard was the coats of arms of all the former abbots of the monastery. I naturally took pictures of them in groups and then one by one. I am quite fascinated by medieval ecclesiastical heraldry. Here too, the coats of arms are not in stone, and not faded so one can clearly see the color of the hat and tassels as well as the number of tassels. The number of tassels indicates rank, ie bishop, archbishop, cardinal or abbot, and the color represents either cardinal or bishop, I get hazy on which the green or the red is.


     This is one one side of a set of coats of arms. The monastery had a few of those faded paintings that I liked getting pictures of so much. The coats of arms themselves are in need of some repair as well. The ones that had been restored were sadly the last and latest set.


     This was one of the other faded paintings. I would have liked to have gotten closer to get the text, but alas my shaky hands were not going to cooperate.


     The first set. The way these coats of arms were done was honestly quite ingenious. Each set of three was set into an alcove that was under some shade and further recessed in, which protected them from the sun.


     You can see that getting this shots was not easy. We do get the different colored hats here.


     You may have noticed that some of the coats of arms repeat themselves a fair bit. Also, remember the one on the far left.


     A lot of these were apparently redone later on, though they need retouching, but thankfully they kept the original style.


     Another example of coats of arms being repeated.


     Now these are an example of coats of arms getting a little more complex. The one on the left has aspects from previous coats of arms.


    If I’m not mistaken, the motto of each abbot is below the coat of arms. And there are the tassels on these, but they’re covered a bit by the coat of arms. The shield type is very different too.


     And here the coats of arms are getting still more complicated. Not the central coat of arms, I don’t even know how I would break it down. Clearly this is not my area of expertise.


     One of the reasons I took closer pictures is that I really wanted the writing. I didn’t think I would have time to get it done, at first, but then I found out we would be delayed and so I took my time to get it done right.


    The rope on the bottom left was holding a sign up having to do with the monastery. Don’t know what it said.


     One of the coats of arms that really needs a little care and attention.


I didn’t notice the door that seems to cut into the coat of arms. Putting a door there was a terrible idea.


     This is the view from my window. Hey, everybody come and look! Mountains! And there are the towns in the valley.


     Mountains as far as the eye can see. This is one of my favorite shots of the mountains and the clouds.


     This was inside the refectory. The paintings were on both sides of the door on the way in.


     The other side of the door. The colors have sure faded a lot.


     And a perspective shot to get all of it in at once. It makes me really wish that someone had taken the time to save this. It must have been stunning back in the day.


     Dedication in the stone.


     The monastery, as one would expect, had a beautiful chapel. This is a shot of the ceiling above the altar, as best I could get since it was roped off. Note all four evangelists. I’m not used to seeing them so prominently but in Italy this was a common theme.


     Remember I asked you to take note of that coat of arms? Here it is again above the altar.


     Here is a nice design on the floor. I could have showed you others, but this one was the best and it stuck out to  m me.


     A distance shot of the ceiling above the altar, showing a bit more of the painting on the front of the wall there.


     The other coat of arms worth noting here. We’ll see it again, I believe, when we go back to the closeup shots of the coat of arms.

I’m still mad at not getting the shots of the four evangelists at St. Ambrose in Milan.

I wish I could have gotten better shots, but I could hardly get any closer than this and my hands were shaking pretty badly that day.


     I am very happy that at least inside the church the artwork seems to be maintained and this picture is much more clear and sharp as well.

100_1127     This eagle is a little weird. It had me wondering if it was intended to be a heron, but what sense would that make? A heron is a bird often found in church paintings and symbolism, but we’ve had the angel, the oxen and the lion, why put a heron here? So it’s a weird eagle.


     I think I may have said this before, but doesn’t this just make you wanna cry? These paintings need some real attention. Just because they aren’t famous doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth preserving

Hey, look! You can see the tassels here! I don’t know why, but I am so fascinated by these. I do really like the older, more simple coats of arms too.


     Here is the middle coat of arms, also red hat. I think the green is for bishop, though I can’t remember. Sadly, I can’t read the names in these pictures.


     Honestly, maybe part of the charm of these older coats of arms is in that is shows its age. It comes from a time before sharp lines.


     A blue hat? Is it just me, or is that hat blue? It also looks like the tassels have been consumed by the red tassels on the next coat of arms.

And here the center one, you can actually see his name on the lower bit. I can’t read it from here, and again the tassels are getting eaten by the next coat of arms.


     In case you were wondering, I think the answer is yes. There were multiple members of one family who were abbots at this monastery.


     I really do like this coat of arms. The light at this point had gotten a little better for taking shots, as well.


     Here you can tell the coats of arms are changing. The tail is getting longer and the lines are getting sharper and more shadowed.


     But again, this may come down to the fact that some of these may have been more restored than others.


     This was my favorite one, other than the coat of arms with the moon. The colors and the yellow chalices are so cool.


     This really is kind of a shame. The coat of arms is so simple that it clashes with the style.


     And the irony is that the coat of arms right next to it maintains a simpler style and looks better for it, despite the more complex design of the coat of arms.


     And here you can actually read the name below the coat of arms and find out whose coat of arms it was.


     I remember these coats of arms being older, so perhaps they used a kind of throwback style? I would have figured the art to be more ornate by this poiint.


     It was very gratifying to get the names to come out clear.


     As much as I hate to admit it? These later coats of arms really are pretty awesome too. They have a lot going on, but in some cases like this they harmonize fairly well.


     This is my favorite coat out of the newer ones. The colors work together so well.


     Another very simple one.


     I’m not really sure what is going on in this one.


     That heraldy has rules in fortunate, because it means that I get to see my favorite colors together a lot.


     It seems like this coat of arms needs a little love and care.


     Simplicity defined here.


     Ok, what is this? Once you get into the point where you’re splitting up the coat of arms into so may pieces, it’s just a mess.


     Even in this simple quartered coat of arms, look at the top right? Why is that there?


     Simplicity carries beauty with it, especially with a canvas that almost demands it if you will.


     I don’t know how this applies to ecclesiastical heraldry, but I do know that Italian heraldry developed very much in its own way.


     At least this one has a more sensible lower part. And no, I can’t remember the technical turns.


     At least it’s nice to see they restored the tassels a bit here.


     As much as I prefer simplicity, this one is very cool The way the drew the eyes to the top was quite nice, and the left panel we’ve seen in previous coats of arms is done more simply here.


     And here it’s even better with the simpler lower panel.


     This still makes me so sad. This coat of arms finds a nice balance between the ornamentation that became popular as time went on and the simplicity I love. Someone save this coat of arms!


     These are the last three that are the newest that have been worked over.


     Even though one of these is cut off by the door.


     The door, you monsters! The door!

100_1169     And here, to wrap up for the day, is a shot of the courtyard.

Italian Extravaganza~ Day V

     Bad news, everybody! Today we leave the mountains behind. That’s not to say we didn’t get back into the mountains later on, but from this day forward we started heading south in a big way. We stayed at a former monastery on day five and six, and I took a lot of pictures from my window there. I may be able to locate a picture of the bathroom. For those of you who haven’t been to Italy and had to use the bathrooms, they are quite different. They’re smaller to the ground. In this case, the toilet was so close to the shower I had to bend my knees out of the way so as not to hit them on the edge of the shower. So, without any further ado, welcome to the Italian Alps.


     Here is a candidate for my “Trees of Italy” post. The castle in the background was worth a shot.


     Here is the castle again. This is one of those many times that I wish I could have gotten closer to the castle. It looks like a really great one.


     These mountains are just huge. I found it difficult to get all the mountains in one shot.


     This is a better shot of this part of the mountains. At the bottom left is a house to put the mountains into scale. It’s true what Cobwebs said, it is very hard to get shots of the mountains.


     This mountain. I can’t take enough pictures of this mountain.


     I like this picture, despite the sign, because it shows the mountains trailing off into the distance. I’m quite thankful that it was a clear day. The rode wound through the mountains like this and


     This is an old Roman wall that we passed.


     Taking pictures of this wall was a huge pain because we were going around a curve in the road. This was the best shot that I managed and I couldn’t help but get the motorcycle in the shot.


     This wall was so epic On the left, you can see the very edge of more mountains. I like to think of that little door that you can see in the bottom right as a sort of guard post. Granted, this is pretty high in the mountains. I would hate to have been posted here.



Another great shot of the mountains. Does anything else need to be said? Mountains!




    Yay, mountains!


     This was a town we passed on the way. I wish I could have gotten better shots of it, but this is the one that matters the most. That pathway leading up the city proper is so cool. It’s a very medieval town but they have that pathway. Also, check out the house on the right. The yellow one.


     I really needed to get these shots. The mountains were finally in the distance enough that I could give you an idea of the scope of the mountains. As cool as driving through the mountains was, it was a lot longer trip. That being said, look at how flat the road is here.


     We went to dinner at a small place near where we were staying. You can see the vines outside the hotel in the foreground. The mountains in the distance called to me, and so I needed to get up and take some pictures.


     As the day got closer to a close it meant I could get better detail shots of the mountains in the distance. Not gonna lie. I was very depressed to realize that in just a day or so we would be out of the mountains for good.


     I wish that we had been there a bit later. It’s hard to tell in this shot, but the whole valley ahead of us is dotted with small towns.


     As I took these shots a storm rolled in. I wanted to get a few shots of the mountains covered in cloud. That was fairly hard to do in such a way I liked.


     The monastery is to the left of us. I just had to step out for a bit and take a picture of the clouds. That and the mountains in the distance made for an amazing shot.


     And I finally got my mountains vanishing into the clouds shot. You can see some of one of the towns in the valley from here as well.


     There we are. Look at all those towns stretching out into the distance. I actually took a lot of these shots, but I only kept a few. The rest were too blurry to consider.


      One last shot of the mountains to tide you over. This one I am particularly fond of.


     This is a shot of the monastery from the outside. This place was also a fort to defend against invaders when it was in use. The thick stone walls made it a fairly defensible place, though any determined attack could have taken it.

100_1087     This is the front gate. The building to the right is no longer in use and has seen better days. The place actually still locked. Not the front gate, but the gate to the Cloisters. I will post pictures of that next time.