at the colosseum

In Rome, at the Colosseum

Italy Paintings and Adventures


Carolina Martinez
Artist and Elementary Educator

email: 68.carolina@gmail.com



Venice Paintings

Man walking his dog

man walking his dog

Venice lagoon

Venice Lagoon

Venice canal at delivery time

Venice canal at delivery time


Florence Paintings

Florence Carousel

Carousel in the Piazza de la Republica

gypsy violinist

Gypsy Violinist in Florence, Italy


Italy trip June 30 - July 10, 2008

I saw Venice, Florence and Rome. It was a delightful trip, and a source of much inspiration artistically. The color, the details, and the art on each building was fascinating. I feel like the life in Italy is rich in so many ways. The food has a freshness and an aroma that is very sensual and satisfying. There is diversity of food--so many flavors of gelato, sauces, fruits, pastas, pizzas, salamis to try. The appreciation for decoration and beauty are uppermost in importance in common buildings, churches, and historic sites. Even their wells and lamp posts are beautifully ornate. The people are kind and welcoming. They may be cynical at times about politics and the running of their cities, but they are encouraging of passionate discussion about all sorts of matters.
salami and proschiutto

salami and proschiutto

melon gelato

melon gelato

pizzas

pizzas

basil, oil, squash pasta

basil, oilve oil, and squash pasta


In Venice they create marvelous forms in glass. The environment in Venice is active, but quieter due to the absence of cars, and need to rely on watercraft (vaporetto boats, rowboats, motorboats, and gondolas). In the lagoon of Venice there is a lot of life, as well. In Venice the art of churches and museums held awesome (in size and emotion) Titians and Tintoretto, Caravaggio, and Giotto. In the prison adjacent to the Doge's Palace, we witnessed what it must have been like to be wrongly or rightly accused of crime, the pain of being denounced, and the cold and inhospitable quarters prisoners were contained in. On Murano, this glass is created. There are many showrooms and shops showcasing the variety of wares produced. The finest glass is formed by hand and layered with many colors, including infusing gold ans silver leaf inside. In Burano, they create intricate lace in clothing, handkerchiefs, and household objects like linens and pillows. In the Jewish Ghetto, they have preserved five beautiful synagogues, some as small as a prayer room, and one that can hold 800 people in the summer. The arks and bimahs were fashioned from cherry wood or marble. The curtains were gauzy and brightly colored. One shul had small frescoed scenes painted along the walls from the Bible. They have an amazingly sad pictorial Holocaust memorial, that has bas relief of the round up and torture of the Jews the Nazis found, and a memorial that is meant to look like a boxcar, containing the names and ages of those captured and deported to Auschwitz. But the glory of Venice is that most of its Jews were harbored and hidden by their neighbors and friends. My favorite food of Venice was fruit gelato, simple pastas with olive oil and basil, the fresh seafood and fish, fresh fruit from market stands, and the pizza with proscuitto and artichokes.

st. mark's

St. Mark's Cathedral

Venice

Venice

Rialto Bridge

Rialto Bridge

St. Mark's Square at night

St. Mark's Square at night


In Florence, the city is darker, from the dark steel and rich gray colored stone which the building are made from. Inside these buildings, however, is variety and vividness in color due to the frescos that line interiors of palaces, seeming to be wallpaper or paintings on walls. The pride of family crests is shown, and the statuary is beautiful and extremely realistic. The river has bridges that run across it, linking the two parts of the city. The buildings on the other side from the ancient city have views of green and luscious Tuscany. In the Accademia, we beheld the size and alive quality of David, superhuman-like above us. In the Uffizi it was awesome to stand a foot away from a Botticelli, an El Greco, a Tintoretto, a Michelangelo, a Giotto or Fra Angelico painting. My favorite museums were Palazzo Danzanti (with full wall frescos with canaries and peacocks, and a toilet that had drainage to the street) and Bargello Museum (with Michelangelos and Donatellos, sculptures of birds and people, and souvenirs from the Medici collection of artifacts from all over the Roman empire (Asia and the Middle East, and Europe), such as keys and locks, clocks, miniature statues and bas relief pieces carved from metal and ivory and coral, Persian carpets, armor and chain mail, jewelry from the middle ages, and icons). The food and drink to be savored in Florence is the fine gelatos with hazelnut and chocolate, mushroom risotto, gnocci, rich flan custard, torta de la nonna almond cake, and chianti wine.

Cecilia

Cecilia

her wine

a bottle of her wine

the fields

the fields


On the way to Rome we stopped along the journey to see Cecilia, a Rick Steves guide who owns a family winery. She served us a lunch of pizza (cheese and zucchini), salami, proscuitto, cheeses, and breads with four types of wine--a crisp white, a dessert white, a rose that was full bodied, and a white that was fuller and nuttier. We strolled her gorgeous grounds, played with her dogs, and took in the view of Umbria.

In Rome, the life was much more active--walking and taking the subway. Seeing the contained city of the Vatican was awesome, with all its customs and amazing art museum with all sides of the rooms decorated, as well as paintings, frescos, mosaics, and sculptures. The Sistine Chapel was awesome to behold, especially the touch of God and Adam. The Great Synagogue of Rome had a art deco inspired sanctuary with frescos on the ceiling, and 3 marble arks. They contained on the property a splendor of artifacts in their museum, including 200 beaded and velvet torah covers, draperies for the ark and bimah, crowns for the torah, marble arks from old synagogues, a grand chair for a bris, a tattered prison garb from Auschwitz, tallitot, prayer books, children's objects for prayer, ketubahs, and much to read on the history of the Jews in Rome. At the Borghese Medici property, the family left behind an elaborate garden which contains a Medici home, many museums, restaurants, and a zoo, along with a sand dog track, a children's area, an outdoor movie theater, and many fountains. The park is blessed with many types of trees and greenery, places to let dogs roam or children play soccer. And in the center is a serene lake where one can paddle boat, or stop to feed the ducks. In Rome we experienced heavenly tomatoes, pasta courses filled with pasta carbonara and lasagna and ravioli, fried meatballs, lentil soup, veal medallions, thin crusted multi flavored pizzas (even anchovy!), green figs, lemoncello liquor, and more gelato!

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