Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Alas, it is time leave Rome. We walk down the steps at the American Academy for a taxi to Fiumicino airport for a flight back to the United States. However we are already planning a return trip to Italy, and as usual we save some euros to assure a future trip (tradition or superstition?)

The Roman Forum
Pliny (23 CE), the naturalist, philosopher and author was sent to Rome to be educated. Rome is a city that captures the heart and imagination. It is ancient and that can be felt throughout the city, especially here at the Forum or at places such as the church of San Clemente.
Rome is magical, just walking through the streets of the neighborhoods such as Trastevere or entering Santa Maria Sopra Minerva to find masterpieces like the Lippi fresco in the Carafa Chapel. Then there is romance, a visit to Piazza Navona to admire the great Four River's Fountain by Bernini, followed by a glass of Prosecco in a tiny bar off the square.
Food in Rome is about pasta, fish, artichokes and whatever is fresh. Thursday in Rome is always gnocchi!

Passing the Colosseum in Rome's morning traffic. It is about 7am, traffic is light.
Arrivederci Roma! (for now)

Hello New York!

Still Life with Bearded Irises, James Aponovich

We arrive in New York for a show that James is having at David Findlay Fine Art.

A installation photo of three Aponovich paintings at the gallery.
The show features still life paintings with flowers from our garden and landscapes inspired by Italy.

We meet our daughter and her husband, along with a few friends at the gallery to see the show. We are very pleased with the show and gallery.

Time to head downtown , James has an idea for a New York lunch!

Katz's Deli
Katz's is the oldest deli in Manhattan. It is classic, a place where the meats are still hand sliced.

A New York Experience....eating at Katz's Deli on Houston St.
A Rubin on rye, a corned beef on rye, pickles and a platter or potato pancakes, an American treat!

Ana and Chris manage to hold the sandwiches together for that first bite!

A return to Italy? No, a salumeria in Little Italy where we are on a mission to buy guanciale. We find it here. We look forward to making Spaghetti Amatriciana when we return home.

The Salumeria in Little Italy
After lunch we walk through Little Italy and Greenwich Village. We stop for a refreshing and delicious frozen yogurt with fresh fruit at a place Ana suggested, Pink Berries. After a stop in the park we head back uptown.
We are meeting friends for martini's at the King Cole Bar (St. Regis Hotel) to give a toast to James and his exhibit. The large mural of Old King Cole that spans the length of the bar was painted by Maxfield Parrish from our home state of New Hampshire. It is a marvelous mural, and the martini's here aren't bad either!
On to dinner at Shun Lee Palace, and then a good night's sleep at Hotel San Carlos.

Sunday Morning Manhattan

Looking up......always looking up. Here we are looking up to the Chrysler Building. We agree this is our favorite building in NYC. We walk to Grand Central Station in hopes to have pan roasted oysters at the Oyster Bar but find it closed. After touring the building we head towards Central Park, with a stop at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

The Chrysler Building

Finally a visit to Rockefeller Center to see the Paul Manship sculptures. The use of space here is quite dynamic. The incorporation of art into this public space is very interesting, art was part of the original design, not an after thought. We agree this space is captivating.
A fun time in NYC with family and friends!

So it is time to return to our studios, garden and kitchen.

David Findlay Fine Art
41 East 57th St., NY, NY

Katz' s Deli
205 E. Houston St.

San Carlos Hotel
150 E. 50th St

King Cole Bar/Lounge (at St. Regis Hotel)
2 East 55th St.

Shun Lee Palace

Thursday, May 20, 2010


There were very few rainy days while we were in Rome. The day we went to Tivoli and Hadrian's Villa it was overcast and misty. A perfect day to keep most tourists away!

The grounds of Hadrian's Villa covers an area about one third the size of Central Park, in other words it is vast.
The villa was the Emperor Hadrian's summer get away from the heat of Rome. Hadrian ruled the Roman Empire for 21 years from 117 Ad. until 138 AD.

Water was everywhere, from reflecting pools to fountains and bath. The villa was thought to have been sited here because of the access to water from the Roman aqueducts , it also happened to be land owned by his wife Sabina. To this day Rome has very pure drinking water.

The ruins are beautiful in their monumentality. They were once all faced with marble, mosaics or frescos.

James is to the right looking at the interior of the small baths.

The exterior of the large baths.
Service to the villa was supplied by 5000 servents. The servents used a series of underground passages to move themselves and supplies around the complex.

The Large Baths

The interior of the large baths. It must have been a remarkable sight when the mosaics and frescos adorned the walls, ceilings and floors.

The Canopus and Serapeum

The dining hall! Imagine waterfalls and hundreds of dinner guests .
This is possibly Hadrian's symbolic interpretation of the Mediterranean , the Canopus and the Serapeum.
Hadrian was very interested in Egypt and the design elements of the villa are a reflection of that.

A view down the pool looking toward where it is thought the Emperor sat and dined in a secure spot.

This is the group we are with from the American Academy. It seems like we were always looking up! The scale here is grand, and our guides John Pinto with Corey Brennan (center) made the villa come alive . They were able to convey the original grandeur and power of Hadrian and his villa.

The view the Emperor Hadrian saw while he was dining. Behind him was a massive waterfall that he could control.

The Pescheria, or fishing hole! Guests could fish for food or entertainment from the half circle cut outs along the sides .

Professor John Pinto, the leading expert on Hadrian's Villa. A man of great knowledge and energy!

A view of what is thought to be the main garden area. Again there are waterfalls and a small "river" running through the center of the formal garden. It appears that the garden was laid out in a geometric plan.

Another view of the garden shows rows of bases where columns may have sat.

The Naval Theatre
Finally, the hidden treasure. A small circular island surrounded by a moat. Theory holds that it was a lap pool for Hadrian. Again we hear about maintaining security of the the Emperor, the moat provided that element. This must have been truly beautiful.
Key words from this tour are; Hadrian, Sabina, Antinous, grandeur, power, order, security, columns, dining, detail, artistry, baths, and water, water and more water.

Friday, May 7, 2010

What happened?????

A new blog was posted, but due to jet lag, volcanic ash or simple human error it landed after Pizza in scroll down to find PIAZZA DELLA ROTUNDA.
A visit to one of our favorite places in Rome!