A contemplative wintry misty autumnal drive two years ago that remains in my heart. I love where I live. New England. My region in Massachusetts and the very nearby surrounding towns and villages. Covid lockdown for several months compounded with 2 and a half years of grief makes me long for long drives and photo walks again. Stay tuned.
Circe in the moment / Napoli
It’s the moments that flicker past your half-closed eyes — like blinding patches of sunlight you can’t help but look directly into — for that sweet temptation of pain that’s warm and bright and just stinging enough to feel more alive, more wild, to feel right now — but you turn away before you burn because we all want to see again eventually, we need to see clearly the far off promises of beautiful experiences something just within reach, a blue horizon haze of blue and gray and green … some imperceptible breath away from the first day of the rest of your every thing. Every thing that will make it all worthwhile. That will make you worthwhile.
That will make you before we’re all undone in the shadows. ———
Napoli is a metamorphosis, a beautiful growling animal built by Circe’s hands, singing songs to travelers who love a little doom and gloom with their beauty.
Death becomes her.
Autumn In Rome, Italy.
Autumn In Rome, Italy.
Persimmons and Cupolas.
Church bells ringing in your ears awaiting the final hour.
The sun turns steeples and domes from cream-cracked marble to a slow-burn deep gold.
Everything shines in this orange hour, a last flash in the pan, you want this fire and this flame, you want the flush and the heat before stillness and sleep… and indigo creeps in and this gold turns orange, turns pink, … turning into navy and finally violet skies before disappearing into black velvet.
The shadows of the city reappear out of the cracks and crevices and pockets like Victorian roustabouts on a silent crawl looking for trouble, somewhere, anywhere, always, trouble waves them over since time immemorial.
The outline of the city is a different joy to behold in the evening.
Families make way for the lovers under the gas and electric lamps.
The Eternal City never feels the same way twice in a night where life is always on the cusp of being tasted, of being taken. Roma feels like ten centuries in one burst, a slow, deep, long kiss before dying.
ornate decoration in roman churches
The art and architectural details of Roman churches seem to outdo each other especially in the baroque refurbishments. Note the fleur-de-lis in golden mounts. The eyes of the viewer are invited always to raise their gaze up to the ‘heavens’ as they sit or wander around the churches.
The columns and marble stripped from ancient ruins and baroque chandeliers in the interior of the enormous and stunning S. Maria in Aracoeli located in the eternal city of Rome on the ancient Capitoline Hill. Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara coeli Scala dell’Arce Capitolina, 12 Roma, Italia. Gothic architecture and Romanesque architecture. Possibly built on the grounds of the seat of the augurs of Capitoline Hill. Ancient built on Byzantine built on Middle Ages built on Renaissance built on Baroque. The last mural pictured: Central fresco by Pinturicchio (1486) The Glory of St. Bernardino Bernardino holds a book on which is written PATER MANIFESTAVI NOMEN TVVM OMNIBVS (“Father, I have shown your name to everyone”), the words the friars were chanting as Bernardino passed away on Ascension eve, 1444.
Visit in the heart of the Eternal City.
“Chasing Beauty In Italy”
My “Chasing Beauty In Italy” BOOK
(The Second Edition, 2019 is available now!)
THIS IS MY LOVE LETTER TO ITALY
(& to beauty, art, history, architecture, nature, slow travel, cuisine, & Romanticism!)
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THE TYPE SETTING AND THE ART AND DESIGN OF THE BOOK HAS BEEN COMPLETELY REVAMPED TO FEEL LIKE AN ART BOOK GUIDE TO ITALY.
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CHASING BEAUTY IN ITALY:
RICH COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS OF ITALY AND ITALIAN CULTURE:
LANDSCAPES, CAFES, RESTAURANTS, HOTELS,
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AND SHARP ART REPRODUCTIONS
ALONG WITH TRAVEL ITINERARIES,
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IN BETWEEN MUSINGS AND MEMORIES OF ITALIA.
Read BOOK SAMPLES AND EXCERPTS: https://www.romepix.com/blog/
My first novel length book on Roman Italy; exploring 20 years of love, passion, art, and loss chasing beauty in the eternal city and (all over the cultural hot spots of Italia).
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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.
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
Hours: Opens 8:30AM (VARIES) to sunset, with special evening extended openings to view the ruins at night.
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 Triad, Juno, Jupiter, 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.
Additional Cultural and Architectural and Art History and Archeological sources:
(The Museum of Paestum with images of the artifacts and art.)
(Paestum – The Temples)
(The Walls of Paestum)
Valentine’s Day in Rome in the Villa Borghese and at the Spanish Steps!
One of my favorite and most romantic things to do in Rome is to stroll through the Villa Borghese parks and gardens to one of the most elegant and sensual villa art museums on earth: The Galleria Borghese.
The Renaissance and Baroque gardens of umbrella pines, cypresses, palm trees, flowers, hedges, and exquisite lemon, orange, and magnolia trees surround the gorgeous villa, bringing one back into the past glories of Roman country estates, free and open to the public for generations.
The parks were private gardens for the aristocrats of Roman society until they were opened for the 19th century Grand Tourists. In 1820 English Romantic poet John Keats himself strolled through these same hallowed grounds before he succumbed to tuberculosis in his rooms at the Piazza di Spagna. Goethe mused through the art collection of the Borghese’s a generation before that, recording his impressions of the palazzo and of the art in his grand book, Italian Journey.
Portrait of Young Woman with Unicorn is a painting by Raphael.
The beautiful Galleria Borghese is home to part of the Borghese art collection curated by the Cardinal Scipione Borghese (nephew of Pope Paul V (reign 1605-1621).
The Villa was commissioned to be designed and built by the architect Flaminio Ponzi, partly based on sketches by Scipione, as a “villa suburbana” on the country edge of Rome. Scipione was one of the first patrons of Bernini and collected many pieces by Caravaggio, including The Sick Bacchus, Boy With a Basket of Fruit, and the poignant Saint Jerome Writing.
The Borghese collection also includes the breathtaking Bernini sculptures of David, Rape of Proserpine, and Apollo and Daphne, – and the Tiziano masterpiece, Sacred and Profane Love.
Other maestros are Raffaello “Lady With A Unicorn” (purported to be the Lady Giulia Farnese, commissioned by Pope Alexander aka Rodrigo Borgia), alongside countless pieces by Rubens, Barocci, Antonio Canova, Coreggio, Dosso Dossi, Domenichino, Veronese, Lorenzo Lotto, and Parmigianino.
Sacred and Profane Love by Titian. c. 1514
I love the gorgeous architectural details in stone and in fountains and statues lining the entrance of the Galleria Borghese.
Remnants of the past play out as well in “ancienne” statue fragments and the fountains outside the museum’s grand entrance.
The walk to the Galleria Borghese always has that lazy Sunday feeling, surrounded by Roman families and visitors enjoying the greenery and fresh air. Young and old lovers can be spied kissing under a tree or lying on a picnic blanket enjoying the sunshine and the sounds of songbirds above them.
There are homages to temples, gods and goddesses, Greek Tragedies and Comedies, and to Rome’s storied past in the “Romantic era ruins” among the pleasure walks and dreamy Umbrella pines. As you approach the museum you feel you are in for something really special… and are not disappointed in the great architectural reveal.
More architectural details by Flaminio Ponzi and Scipione Borghese create a feast for the eyes, before entering the villa with a ticket… for the Roman antiquities and Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces, … in room after sumptuously decorated room.
Tickets are recommended bought IN ADVANCE, online or at the ticket office down the stairs. To enter the museum, proceed up the stone stairs to the stunning Classical Antiquity portico where they will take your ticket.
You don’t want to miss this experience!
After an afternoon stroll and a few hours in the museum, head to the Pincio at the Golden Hour (an hour before dusk) and watch the sun set over the cupolas and ruins and houses behind the glittering Piazza del Popolo.
The golden and orange light eventually turns a deep violet, and there is an enchanting glow about Rome at its most magnificent! It is a heady, Romantic vision, and every one seems to be under a collective spell of beauty and the feeling of immortality in Éros in the Eternal City.
This is one of the best, most beautiful, and unforgettable days you could spend in Rome. It could be the most romantic Valentine’s Day of your lives. Rome seen and felt like this is truly writ on the heart for an eternity.
You can eat at the romantic nearby Casina Valadier for sweeping sunset views and aperitivos or an early dinner – they have a Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu for lovebirds.
Looking for something quicker? Walk a short distance to the late Renaissance church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti, (French: La Trinité-des-Monts).
Pop into the sanctity and quiet beauty of the French Roman Catholic church and you may luck out with a choir of nuns singing en français classical songs of devotion while you peer at lush murals, sculptures, paintings, and the altar.
Light a candle together and head down the famed Spanish Steps just outside and whisper a snippet of a Keats ode into your beloved’s ear outside of the Keats Shelley (Byron) House Museum (worth a visit if you’re there earlier when it is open!).
Stop for a late tea at Babington’s and try their Rome in Love Tea inspired by the Paolina Borghese sculpture and Female Beauty at the Borghese, or enjoy some cocktails or champagne and light fare – offered in the luxurious comfort of their 125 year old tea room. It’s a cute British afternoon tea room with Italian flare.
Looking for something sexier? Cross the avenue and stop in at the nearby Romantics’ saucy hangout, the Antico Caffè Greco, decorated in 18th century red satin and marble decor, for drinks and desserts.
The Santissima Trinità dei Monti at the top of the Spanish Steps from the Via Condotti.
Gregory Peck’s apartment in Roman Holiday where he brings Audrey Hepburn in the film.
If you’re still in the mood for a short early evening walk hand in hand past the glamorous shops and passersby, head to the most romantic street in Rome, the charmingly low-lit, ivy covered boutiques and artisan art shops, boutique hotels, and restaurants, Via Margutta (made famous by Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday!) I love the vegetarian restaurant created by film director Federico Fellini, Il Margutta! They have many vegetable creations, handmade pasta and smoked cheeses, and a vegan and gluten free menu, with exceptional organic wines, mocktails, and delicious desserts, including house made gelato.
Casino Valadier’s LOVE ELIXIR
€25 per person.
La Grande Cucina S.p.A.
Piazza Bucarest, Villa Borghese
P. I.V.A. 05901701002
Tel (+39) 06 69922090
Fax (+39) 06 6791280
Il Margutta’s San Valentino 2018
GALLERIA BORGHESE (english site)
Via del Collegio
00186 Roma, Italia
tel. 39 06 67231
map by Guilbert Gates
Antico Caffè Greco
Via dei Condotti, 86, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Babington’s Tea Room
Piazza di Spagna, 23, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
And Happy Valentine’s Day from A Love Letter To Rome… to everyone lucky enough to be in the sexiest and most romantic (and Romantic) city in the world, Roma, Italia! May Cupid’s arrows always find you when you least expect (but need) amore!
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Thanks, Rebecca ❤️🏛