Chasing Beauty In Italy – print / e-book

My book is finally printed and turned into a digital e-book! Just in time for the holidays! Dedicated to my husband, Rian, the heart and soul behind our 20 years of Italia… who I lost this year. 
CHASING BEAUTY IN ITALY:
Fine art film photographs and travel memoir of Italian and Roman culture; and musings on the sumptuous art and beauty of Italy. Off the beaten path places to explore, fabulous recommendations, and tons of images.
The PDF of my book CHASING BEAUTY IN ITALY is available for sale now!!! – $10
(works on ipad, kindle, and EVERY online digital viewing including phones, tablets, and computers).
 
 $10 
(If you already bought a print edition I will email you a PDF in 24 hours or less)
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Capaccio, Salerno, Italia and her Grecian Marble of Paestum, a Greek colony of temples predating the Roman Empire

Capaccio, Salerno, Italia and her Grecian Marble of Paestum, a Greek colony of temples predating the Roman Empire
CLICK THIS LINK ABOVE FOR MANY MORE IMAGES AND VIDEOS OF PAESTUM.

ROMEPIX.COM/BLOG

I have selected several images from the original post on my other site, romepix.com.

The hamlet of Capaccio, found in the region of Salerno, located far down the boot in Campania, (about two hours or so from Sorrento), is a charming little town near the Greek ruins of Paestum.

There are silent stone churches with slants of light pouring into the shadows through stained glass and open windows shaped as doves and olive branches, each path of gold against black an evocation for peace in an undiscoverable darkness. Silence except for birds and echoing footsteps accompany you a foreigner in a foreign place. The solitude is universal in its unspoken language. You are welcome to sit and contemplate, or walk softly in cold corners under towering stretchs of wood and stone, somehow cradling us in its distance. A transitory connection to prayers whispered in the heart, undecipherable to human ears. How many gods have been called in how many temples on these grounds? Hera, Ceres, Athena, Poisedon, Christ, the Lord Himself, or the Madonna? Outside, a rush of sunshine, warmth on the skin, a grumbling in the stomach, a need to affirm we are still among the living. Fruit and pizza and coffee beckon across the way, and in a little shop in Capaccio we find local juicy figs floating in local honey, and figs woven together stuffed with regional almonds, in beautiful little packages we later brought home with us.

Just recently I gave Rian’s brother that last bundle we had been saving for the holidays… Rian would have wanted him to savor the taste of Italia, a place he’s never been, a place he never fell in love with as Rian and I had twenty years ago, and kept returning to. I gave it to him with Barolo and dark chocolate and champagne, I wanted him to taste a small glimpse into this magical world we had so long found ourselves enchanted with. He loved them. I thought of Rian smiling somewhere as if he could watch us somehow.

Bringing what we loved about this country is something we both so long felt driven to do. He would bring endless bags of chocolates and special Sicilian cookies for his friends at his office, and for family and close friends, after each trip back. Sometimes I would bring wines difficult to find in the states, or handmade liquers, and serve them at the holidays we hosted together for so long.

To share with others even a spark or a glimpse of the reason for our longing and our love for an otherworldy place, combined with tales of what we experienced and learned, kept us going until the next return. One day I suppose I shall return too, without him beside me as I wish, but with his ashes, with his memory, and with his energy still felt in the world, and set the remains afloat in the seas and lands he loved so deeply he broke through the mystery of Italia better than I ever could. And he took that mystery with him beyond. And here I am, as ever, in love with beauty I cannot dissect or take into me, I can only love from afar… as if in a dream. Perhaps life is the dream, and death a waking up? A return to the fold of everything seen and felt here through a veil.

There is that charming church write about above in the heart of the town of Salerno, and also a large cloistered monastery and cathedral, long with a fascinating museum of Clasiccal Antiquity, mostly containing the remnants (some vey much intact) of Paestum, a Greek colony in Italia pre-dating the founding of Rome. It is located on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Magna Graecia (southern Italy). The ruins of Paestum are famous for their three ancient Greek temples in the Doric order, dating from about 600 to 450 BC. It was named Poseidonia (Ancient Greek: Ποσειδωνία) but was was eventually conquered by the local Lucanians and later the Romans. The Lucanians renamed it to Paistos and the Romans gave the city its current name.

The Paestum, or “Pesto” temples are some of the most intact ruins on the mainland of Italia, and their being Greek in nature only lends to their charm and mystery. The pastoral setting of Paestum leads one to get a feeling for the atmosphere of another era, millennia ago. Everything is beautiful in the town and most especially in the large park where the Grecian marble stands against all odds of weather, war, and time. One can find shade under tall olive trees and smell hints of lemon trees in the air as they walk among the dead and the stone of a culture and a people who no longer exist, and yet we feel some mysterious connection to, even to this day.

TO VISIT PAESTUM (with stops along the way in the city centers)

click here: http://www.museopaestum.beniculturali.it/i-templi/?lang=en

PAESTUM IS LOCATED AT Via Magna Graecia, 918, 84047 Paestum SA, Italy

Opened: 1952

Hours: Opens 8:30AM (VARIES) to sunset, with special evening extended openings to view the ruins at night.

ProvinceProvince of Salerno

Phone+39 0828 811023

Below is the Aerial view of Paestum, looking northwest; two Hera Temples in foreground, Athena Temple in background, and a Classical Antiquity museum on right. The first Temple of Hera, built around 550 BC by the Greek colonists, is the oldest surviving temple in Paestum. The second Temple of Hera was built around 460–450 BC, is found just north of the first Hera Temple. At a short distance and height from the the Hera Temples, and north of the center, is the Temple of Athena, built around 500 BC. In the center of the complex is a Roman Forum, perhaps built on the site of a preceding Greek agora. North of the forum is a small Roman temple, dated to 200 BC, and dedicated to the Capitoline TriadJunoJupiter, and Minerva.

To the far north-east of the forum one sees an amphitheater, recently many parts of Paestum have been reopened so vistors can wander through these structures and lands, even walking withing the open aired temples. It’s a wonderful experience.

Source: Wikipedia & me.

VISIT THE PAESTUM MUSEUM SITE FOR ALL THE ARCHEOLOGICAL INFORMATION AND IMAGES.

http://www.paestum.org.uk/museum/

Additional Cultural and Architectural and Art History and Archeological sources:

CLICK HERE:

https://www.romeartlover.it/Paestum5.html

(The Museum of Paestum with images of the artifacts and art.)

CLICK HERE:

https://www.romeartlover.it/Paestum.html

(Paestum – The Temples)

CLICK HERE:

https://www.romeartlover.it/Paestum2.html

(The Walls of Paestum)

the beauty of temporary light

VENICE; I was a young fiancée of another century when we took a nighttime gondola ride in the pitch black sweetness of air passing under bridges with sounds of an oar splashing into water and an aria from our gondolier breaking the velvety waves. We had our whole lives before us.

IMG_4063We’d be in Sorrento right now, checked into our hotel, he’d go for a swim, and I’d check the view from our room. I’d see his flash of green eyes from the veranda, smiling up at me. We’d have buffalo mozzarella and bread for lunch, and go in search of a cafe. If only he had lived.

I have had a surprisingly good two days after a month of utter dark hell, and a year that changed me forever from a loss I’ll never replace… but I am really ok but still wanted to share this. Life is so surreal. It isn’t fair for any of us. But for whatever reason I am temporarily filled with the light of what we had. Even on a day he should have the italian sun on his face.

I’m working on my book the last few days and listening to Scottish Celtic music and thinking about the vast enormity of deeply explored passions and interests of Rian and myself together – especially deeply explored by him like an ancient scholar seeking wisdom and beauty in equal measure whilst I was always the sucker for beauty before wisdom… some days and some nights, oh especially the nights, I can’t seem to bear beauty… but right now I can, especially when the flashes of beauty and wisdom remind me of what cannot be destroyed… the imprint of his energy and the memory of his shining green eyes.

neither feast nor famine

Think I’m finally figuring things out. Isolation is the best thing for me because it forces the pain to the forefront to examine it. The more alone you are the more you are forced to face your two dimensional character traits and mutable feelings. Nothing about the ego or the persona, especially, is staid. Only by forcing an unquiet mind in constant flux to be still, to be quiet, to be alone, to turn within to disperse with the surface needs and the demands and to get into the dark of the self will someone like me ever have any kind of spiritual or intellectual progress.

The more I fashion my day to day life in a solitary manner of exercise, meditation, brutal honesty about my motivations for everything, and work, the more I’m forced to endure the pain of reality. The longer I do this the more of a habit I form until the practice becomes second nature.

The pain and void almost are becoming pleasant, the way fasting too long becomes more pleasurable than sating yourself once you get used to it. Time to fast on distractions, not feast on them nor feast on others. 

shadow snake

The purest moment you’ll have in life is when you are utterly completely alone because you only have yourself to face or to run from. Let’s see what you’re made of.

The final hour is upon us even if it takes a few decades to kick into that last slow motion fall into the ending we all meet. Perhaps when our eyes give up we can’t see the landing, perhaps our ears deafen at the sound of stopping, maybe the electrons and pulsings are disconnected before they cease dancing.

Maybe it is the eternal dark and not the light that is the reward. Begin in the muffled dark, end in the soft slow void, returned to before we had the pulp and the strain.

Why is darkness bad news? Why is light hoped for? What is sleep but a dive into the shadow of our selves for a respite from life?

Love is an expression of living but letting go is the only way to die, whether we cease being or we are born again as someone else, forever shifted and strange and new until the next ending and the next.

The snake eats itself to create a perfect circle.

The body teases life and then does a disappearing act. We only play at this life for awhile. We only touch the earth a few moments before waving adieu too soon to make our bon courage good-bye seem believable.

Life is the big escape from the inevitable. Refuge is a fairy tale you tell children so they don’t go mad. Revealing too much about Death is giving away the game before it is played. No matter how many times you play, you never play the same hand twice, even as we repeat the same circle we always have and always will.

Perhaps love and hate are formed in memory and perhaps the slipping away of remembrance is the relief we cannot name. Whether the light or the dark awaits us, whose to say they are not one in the same?

Listening to Wagner’s Parsifal at 30,000 feet in the air

You amaze me. You ensnare me. Your soul overpowers me. I want to be sublime to you. Sublimate myself and love you in a beautiful and high manner for the rest of my days. I could write you a thousand sonnets and sonatas, and still not encompass the breadth and depth I feel for you. You came a moment before the death knell and I will love you more than any woman before you has, I will be more alive and more courageous than any of my predecessors, and you will be my greatest masterpiece. I want us to play each other like notes in the only harmony that is befitting of us… somewhere betwixt a duet in summer and a quartet in autumn. Do you know all I’ve seen and known and learned and tasted and felt and above all else, dreamt, before you… the man above all else? Do you know what we crawled out of both of us to reach this precipice. I just ask you… no I demand … if you really truly want me for your bride and your worshipful wife, your girl, your lover, your champion, …just love me… really love me.

You know I’m a Romantic then and I’m a Romantic now and this is how I’ll love you if you want it… this is how I know how to love, this is how I’ve always wanted to love, and needed a man, a soul, a mind, a heart, who could take the enormity of my feelings.

Sorry, but I’m a Romantic like Novalis or Keats or Byron or Shelley and I will tell you the truth until my last breath and … I love love love you .