Friday, May 19, 2017

IT'S ALL COMING UP ROSES IN UMBRIA and TUSCANY

ROSES GALORE in UMBRIA and TUSCANY

This is a story that can be told in pictures taken on a drive through Tuscany's
Val d'Orcia  a few days ago and a walk though 'our'  Umbrian village of
Panicale this morning. Feast your eyes!




Roses with  Panicale in the distance.




Roses growing over  a small shrine.





Roses from Aldo's garden that he brings to Bar Gallo for all to enjoy.




And these roses can be found in the garden of friends here in Panicale.







Roses climbing a pergola. 
All I could hear was the buzz of bees!





I would love to have this beauty in our garden.


The sweet scent of roses compares to none.




The cool of white roses growing in the shade of a tree on a hot Tuscan afternoon.





Roses growing up a stucco wall with a hint of a view of the Val d' Orcia.




Roses draping over the Medieval wall in Panicale.




A dramatic backdrop of a palm creates a feather like head dress for  these roses.





When it is all about the right color combo, this gets it just right!





And the best part of the morning ..... finding roses  from James  on my desk this morning!
Sweet!






Monday, May 15, 2017

VENICE :An evening ride on Vaporetto 5.2


VENICE


"It is a city of mirrors, the city of mirages, at once solid
and liquid, at once air and stone."
                                                         - Erica Jong





At first glance, some twenty four years ago, I was enchanted
by this city that seems to float on water.
Descending those steps from the train station down to the Grand Canal I was again mesmerized.
Venice grabbed me and I submitted to it, as did James.

James found Venice to be in constant movement,  as he said, "it is continually swirling."
 The rhyme set in motion by the movement of water, clouds, people and boats.





There are only two ways to view Venice, by boat and by foot.
An evening ride on Vaporetto 5.2 from Zattere to St. Marks
allowed us some memorable views of Venice from the water.

Keep in mind, taking photos from a Vaporetto is not all that easy considering you are on a moving boat and that at least during the day these boats are packed with people. In the evening, after
the day tourists have left the city things are quieter.


(Note: in our experience the Vaporetto # 1 can be like 
mosh pit motoring during the day!)





"There is something so different in Venice from any other place in  the world, that
you leave at once all accustomed habits and everyday sights to enter
an enchanted garden."
                                                           - Mary Shelley



James and I, along with friends Tom and Shannon, disembarked at our destination
St. Marks - San Zaccaria Vaporetto stop. We were meeting up with a small
group for an after hours tour of the Basilica of St. Mark.



It was only 8:30 but the the square was quiet, the crowds had disappeared. The sun was setting, the water shimmered. It was Venice at its finest.

I recommend a private tour of the Basilica of St. Mark. Truly, it is the the only way to visit this slowly sinking wonder and see close up all it's splendor.
 Venice was once a powerhouse of a city, politically, artistically, and financially. It was the link to the East for merchants.
Here, all the riches can be seen. The weight and power of this building can be felt as
you walk through the doors.
The floors, as the water in the canal, undulate beneath your feet. Look up and all is gold.
Mosaics of gold layered in glass cover the domes and ceilings.  It is almost blinding in brilliance.
The craftsmanship and labor stunning not the mention the wealth it
took to complete this majestic building.
Lots of deep pockets!








Venice at times whispers and yet often roars.
Listen and let it wrap itself around you.


When visiting Venice do plan an evening / sunset Vaporetto ride,
to exeprience a 'different' Venice and for the romance.
You might feel as you are playing a role in a foreign film!








Tuesday, April 11, 2017

FIVE ROMAN ARTICHOKES { A Year In Painting}

JAMES APONOVICH
A YEAR IN PAINTING

La vita e breve
L'arte e lunga


As our planet makes its journey around a star we call the Sun, I make my own journey in painting. Each week I present some aspect of our shared life experiences through the medium of paint on canvas.


"Old men ought to be explorers."
-T.S. Eliot, The Four Quartets

____________________________________________________________




FIVE ROMAN ARTICHOKES


James Aponovich
Five Roman Artichokes
Oil on Canvas, 18" x 24"



When I arrive in Italy, there is a period of transition, usually about three weeks, 
where everything is left behind and I await new prospects. This time is not fallow, 
Elizabeth and I draw quite a bit  as I search out new subject matter to keep the brush moving.
Since we arrived in the middle of artichoke season......







copyright 2017 James Aponovich
all rights reserved



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

POSTCARD FROM UMBRIA {Panicale}




Panicale is in bloom! 

Wisteria draped along walls and not to outdone the lilacs add their perfume to the air.
Fruit trees flowering as we await the fruits from their branches in the weeks and months to come.
And yes, tulips are a colorful addition to walkways and gardens.
Lady Banksie roses are just beginning to share their yellow flowers with us and they
climb walls and pergolas.

This is a gorgeous time to be in Umbria!


Ciao from Panicale !



Sunday, April 2, 2017

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR / LA CELLA {A Year In Painting }


JAMES APONOVICH
A YEAR IN PAINTING


LA VITA E BREVE
L'ARTE E LUNGA




As our planet makes its journey around a star we call the Sun, 
I make my own journey in paintings. Each week I present some
aspect of our shared life experiences through the medium of paint on canvas.



" Old men ought to be explorers."
- T.S Eliot, The Four Quartets



________________________________________________________________



BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR
LA CELLE
THE CELL





I was never one for a grand studio, in fact I often described my needs 
as a  9' x 6'  'cell', just enough for me, an easel and a painting table.
Well, here in Italy it's my dream come true. It kinda reminds me of the
Monks cells in San Marco in Florence.
We are going soon.....I'll show you in a couple of weeks....and
a few words about the Mad Monk from Ferrara. 














Saturday, April 1, 2017

ROAD TRIP SOUTH ITALIAN STYLE- PART 2- Matera


MATERA ( Basilicata)


Behind these facades are caves that are believed to have been inhabited 
as far back as the Palaeolitic. These caves that have been created in part by nature with the rest of the work by human hands
digging into the rock on both sides of a deep ravine.  In the 7th and 8th Centuries, Monastic orders, like the Benedictines and Basilian monks lived with their followers in the caves along the ravine. This place speaks of the ancient past, yet, up until the 1950's people lived in these caves under cramped and unsanitary conditions when the  Italian government stepped in and moved the cave dwellers to more favorable housing.


 The amazing  city is eye-squinting brilliant in the morning sun. 'The Sassi', or Historic Center of Matera 
seems to rise out of the rock in layer upon layer of block structures, stairs and grottos . 
At times the city looks a little M.C. Escher like.






Things here have greatly improved for the residents of Matera. The homes, although most still have caves incorporated into them, have been revitalized. Tourism has helped to strengthen the ecomomy, Hollywood has used the city as settings for films and in 1993 Matera became a
UNESCO World Heritage Site.




















WAITING FOR THE LIGHTS TO COME ON.......


Back at our hotel we sat on the terrace, carved into the stone, waiting for the lights to come on over the Sassi.
Then it was time to walk to dinner...... the restaurant was in a cave,
but of course!





Taking A Trip To Matera....
We recommend:( with a thanks to Roberto & Giulia, and also to Aldo )


Soul Kitchen ( American name, Regional Italian food)






Monday, March 27, 2017

ROAD TRIP SOUTH, ITALIAN STYLE



ROAD TRIP SOUTH, ITALIAN STYLE.......Part 1


We were on another wine tasting road trip with our friends 
Paul ( a wine importer) and Betty. This time we headed south. On our first day our destination was 
 Roseto, a seaside town in Abruzzo and  as we later found out it was formerly known as Rosebergo...but that
 is a story for Paul to tell.




We checked into a lovely seaside boutique hotel, Mane, and were very happy to find there was Risorante Manetta on the premises since, as everyone knows, road trips can make a person hungry! After a long and superb lunch of local seafood, James and I tagged along with Paul and Betty to taste
 a few wines at the Orlandi Contucci Ponno vineyard.

After tasting a few newly bottled wines and getting more educated on the qualities  of wine and growing of grapes. The question put forth on Montepulciano d'Abruzzo grapes versus the wines of the Tuscan city of Montepulciano. Two different grapes, with the Abruzzo grape being the Montepulciano grape. Who knew?

 Back at the hotel, we took a much needed walk on the beach promenade  to offset our lengthy car ride and luxurious tasting  of wines from the  Abruzzo region. We all agreed on pizza for dinner before returning to the hotel 
for a good night's sleep...




....The next destination was Puglia and a town called Alberobello.




You have to admit these small dwelling  called Truilli, are cute, as they recall storybook
tales.
It was in the 17th Century that these trulli were first built
in accordance to a decree  and to avoid paying taxes, it stated all dwellings must be built from the local limestone
without the use of mortar.




The flat sone stone, conical shaped roofs are left without the white-wash that coats the
body of the building. Some have symbols painted onto the roofs, for religious or mystical
purposes.





The 'Rione Monti' area is the most visited and touristy district with vendors selling
an array of cheesy trinkets and souvenirs, which takes away from what would be a much more
interesting visit without all this distraction.






These dwellings are unique and the countryside surrounding the town is a beautiful pastoral landscape with well crafted dry stone walls surrounding houses, olive orchards  and trullis. 

This area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and worthy of a visit.






Our visit here was rather short, since our real destination was Matera in Basilicata.
We all get back into the Guilietta .........
.........On to Matera.











Wednesday, March 22, 2017

THIS MAN WANTS TO HURT YOU {A Year In Painting}


JAMES APONOVICH
A YEAR IN PAINTING


LA VITA E BREVE
L'ARTE E LUNGO



As our planet makes its journey around a star we call the Sun, I make my own 
journey in painting. Each week I present some aspect of our shared
life experiences through the medium of paint on canvas.



"Old men ought to be explorers"
-T.S. Eliot. The Four Quartets

_________________________________________________________




THIS MAN WANTS TO HURT 
YOU





James Aponovich
Detail, Oil on canvas
Untitled


His name is Scotty but they call him Suds. That's because he drinks too much.
He likes to hurt people and he became pretty good at it.
He was a Boxer, a Champion once, Lightweight Division, now his brain is broken.
He goes from bar to bar where  they give him free drinks.




James Aponovich
Untitled ( in progress)
Oil in canvas, 32" x 24"


We'd better go now
We don't belong here.





Copyright 2017 James Aponovich
all rights reserved








Monday, March 20, 2017

PRIMAVERA IN OUR UMBRIA GARDEN


PRIMAVERA 

Today is the Vernal Equinox.  I know that in New England 
there is  deep snow and damage from high winds, resulting from a recent storm. Here in Panicale it is truly Spring, and as as we much
love our home in the States, we are very content to be here in our other home.



The lilac in the garden is leafing out and the flowers are getting ready to burst.
I planted a few pots of sunny orange and yellow pansies, a combination that I am particularly
fond of.
James and I make more than a few visits to the local nursery!








This enormous rosemary grows just outside the door. There is also sage that is in competition for the biggest herb here. The thyme, oregano, Roman mint and chives we planted last year returned, so we only needed to plant parsley, marjoram, and a different variety of sage. We are waiting on the basil until the nights warm up.





To balance all of the yellow and orange we needed some blue and purple.
Complimentary colors, it's just a natural for artists!







I filled several of the pots with geraniums since they will last into the heat of the Italian Sun.
The pots create a pretty edge along the yard.
There is an olive tree along with four fruit trees. There is an apricot, plum and an apple, the other is a mystery.



But, what I didn't show in the above photo.....



Our freshly washed laundry hanging out to dry ! Life is not all
cappuccino, wine and art here! This is a multi-use garden!




The sun rises on this side of Panicale making a good place for a cup of morning coffee, that is after a cappuccino at Bar Gallo. And, in the evening we occupy those chairs for glass of wine or apertivo before dinner.


A View Up Our Street



There is wisteria along the wall that will flower with a beautiful perfume later in the Spring, and in a short time the trees lining the Viale Margherita will be green with leaves.
Umbria is agricultural. The fields that surround Panicale are green, bright Emerald Green. The trees will soon catch up. The almond trees are flowering, soon the apples and other fruit trees will blossom. The wild red poppies won't be denied their time to be headliners in the coming weeks!



Spring in Umbria is a glorious show and we are happy  and fortunate
to be here once again to witness and enjoy it.


Welcome Spring!