a secret garden to the sea

There is an overgrown but perfect secret garden path behind an old villa in Sorrento we stumbled upon one day, and we followed down the rambling, winding trees and shrubbery and lemon and olive trees and blossoming flowers and into the shadows of green.

The further in we wandered, the thicker the growth grew. And yet everything was lush and cared for. Nothing dead, nothing abandoned.

We could smell the sea and the sun rays in the air, carried through cracks in the dense thicket. And so we followed the salt and the promise of blue until we reached the top of a cliff cut thousands of years ago, overlooking the crashing sea and rocks. The birds cried and dove for fish and soared the bright skies. We were alone in our own little paradise. It’ll be ours forever in memory.

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.

“Chasing Beauty In Italy”

My “Chasing Beauty In Italy” BOOK

(The Second Edition, 2019 is available now!)

purchase here:
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(& to beauty, art, history, architecture, nature, slow travel, cuisine, & Romanticism!)

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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)

A Love Letter To Rome … Italy photo & book shop is online now! I ship worldwide! Beautiful images of Italia in handmade packaging & surprise gifts.

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Thanks, Rebecca ❤️🏛

Rome laid out before you from far far above the rooftops

Take an elevator ride on the “wedding cake” and see the Roman gods’ view of the Eternal City. 

The ruins are laid out before you betwixt cupolas and Renaissance rooftops of villas and apartments like dollhouses.

Hints of the past stir some ancient feeling in you you never knew you possessed until you saw Rome from a mount.

The sign of greatness and the sign of a fall and all around you the beautiful noise of life that will not stop long enough to extinguish itself into the remains of dust it lives among.Rome lives among the shadows and the bones and the blood and the ghosts and the stone and the picked away marble because it is the heart and the remnants of the past are the nervous system which still courses with life from that heart center of a slowly dying immortal, entombed in the blessing and the curse of a memory which feels like a dream.

Church bells ring and ring through the city when the golden hour colors everything and there’s time for one last sun-glow walk and one last smile exchanged like kisses on the mouth, not the cheeks.

I will remember you even if the imprint of my self is swallowed up in the city of too many stories and too many lights and too many songs to find a memento mori for me in some nook or cranny when I’m gone.

And so I have Rome written on my soul should I be able to take it with me.

Bury me not in the earth of the place I love but burn my ashes to the sky so I may float like some augur of another time, a shadow to pass over a new face with her own love flashing on her face as she falls in love with the Roman sky at sunset, as she dreams to be remembered somewhere somehow in the eternal city, to leave her mark somewhere and to be known and felt by some future stranger intoxicated by the same love for the same city and the same ringing of bells and the orange becoming purple and the golden lamps flickering on and the smiles becoming kisses, not on the cheeks, but on the mouth. 

the renaissance Boboli Gardens of Florence Italy  

The Palazzo Pitti is a large villa museum built in 1458 for a Florentine banker near the river Arno, in the heart of Florence, Tuscany, Italy, and is sumptuously laid out with antique furnishings and priceless works of Italian paintings and sculptures. It contains nearly 500 Renaissance  and baroque frescoes and masterpieces by Artemisia Gentileschi, Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Fillipo Lippi, Perugino, Correggio, Peter Paul Rubens, Andrea del Sarto, Fra Bartolomeo, il Rosso, Canova, Verrochio, and Pietro da Cortona, among many many others. I am writing a piece about these incredible collections, accompanied by photographs, and the background of some of the most important and beautiful works to see if you can visit. It’s highly recommended for serious art or palazzo fans.Surveying the grand grounds and estate from a distance as visitors have admired the beauty and harmony of the Boboli Gardens for centuries. The house and land were bought by the de’Medici’s in 1549 and they filled it with their incomparable art collection, second only to their nearby famed Uffizi Gallery and residence. Napoléon even used this as his main living headquarters in Italy in the late 18th century. The exterior courtyard where horses and carriages would draw up. Paris and Helen of Troy.Themes of alchemy and the occult mingled with myths of classical antiquity in the natural caverns decorated to enhance an atmosphere of enchantment.Far away seashells and coral encrusted on water formed stalactites. Sea nymphs and faeries and aristocratic crests.The prisoners in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.The fascinatingly carved and decorators part natural, part artificial cavern the Buontalenti Grotto in the Boboli Gardens is a fascinating place, is encrusted with seashells and stalactites, housing mythical, fantastic, and allegorical elements, as well as symbols referring to esoteric subjects. The Grotta di Buontalenti (also known as Grotta Grande or the Big Grotto) was built by Bernardo Buontalenti between 1583 and 1593, and commissioned by Francesco I de’ Medici.

Winding labyrinthine hedge walkways to get lost in or sneak into for a stolen kiss.A brilliant blue heron rests in an artificial lake. Naked trees promise a boast of riches at the first bloom.Wild iris and flowers of delicate violet and pale lavender dotted among tall wild grasses of rolling meadows.Oranges a reminder of the beautiful year round climate of most of Italy.I was there on an overcast early spring day before the beauty of the garden really bloomed but shall return their in autumn to take photographs of the richer, fuller gardens. The little wildflower meadows and orange trees and statutes were lovely against the grey sky and ornate fountains (turned off in the cold) but I long to see this place teeming with color and fullness after the long hot summer, as autumn turns the leaves Amber and gold. I get that chance this early October.
Watch this highly interesting and gorgeous historical and visual tour of the Boboli Gardens by Brit and garden expert, Monty Don. Boboli Garden — Tour of Italy – Florence

Italy and England 

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There’s old Winston Churchill watching Big Ben, in Westminster, London, in March 2014.

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An anglophile’s dream: the omnipresent iconic red telephone box.

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Wandering around Portobello Road, in the Notting Hill neighborhood.

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The street art / grafitti is like The Sex Pistols and the Bbc all rolled into one.

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Tea at Sherlock Holmes and Watson’s house was quite amusing.

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Enjoyed searching for british china tea cups and white darjeeling on a half deserted faire.

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After wandering the many lovely garden parks of london wound up at  Buckingham’s Gate.tumblr_n2din7vCpZ1qznevxo4_1280

Making the pilgrimage to John Keats house at Hampstead Heath, London, after years of visiting the flat he died in, and laying flowers at his grave, in Rome.

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A room with a view…over the Thames, I was always excited to wake up to (and to raise my glass to) Big Ben.

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Saw the beautiful La Boheme set in 1940s Paris at the Royal Albert Hall.

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From the window of “221 b Baker Street, London

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From the beautiful garden of John Keats home, where he fell in love with Fanny Brawne and wrote some of his greatest poems.

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From the cloisters of Westminster Abbey. I do love a cloister.

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You have no idea how deep my anglophilia goes because I am always going on about Italy but these signs gave me a profound joy.

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This sign is so British it hurts.

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One of those moments in London an American or most foreigners savor.

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Always, a pilgrimage, a  beauty, a joy. John Keats forever. English Romanticism forever. B3-yzpZIAAIuVOk.jpg-large

Down the cloistered hall… like a dream of English classics, literary characters dancing in my head, London, a city looming in my brain of larger than life characters and eccentric, wonderful stories and frightful tales.

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The heartbreakingly beautiful dream of Italy view from my dreamy Sorrento hotel room terrazzo.

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Walking along the Appian Way on a quiet, car-free Sunday in Rome or along the Renaissance Via Guilia, I am forever excited and in awe over the small beauties and signs of the ancient world in this magical, mysterious city open-armed to the world.

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The architecture and cafes are familiar but I feel and live Rome anew each visit. There’s always something new to discover or a passion to stumble onto. Life is in the moment. It is heavy with the past, it is so alive it smacks of the future, but it is so wildly, lightly felt in the now, in the moment, Rome is like dreaming awake, feeling everything. Everything!

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Finding new off the beaten path cafes was a big favorite of mine in Italy this year. Always in search of the quiet moments and the hidden corners of Rome. This cafe was in Trastevere where you can sit and sip espresso and gaze at a Baroque Madonna painted onto a church exterior wall.

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I love the Eternal City because it has so many layers of history and love and unknown stories and marks of time and beauty in decay and new life bursting forth in a macabre, colored, brilliant celebration in Roman life today.

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Took a boat around my favorite island and swam in the Tyrrhenian sea on Capri, a place which invokes everything beautiful, lush and ancient about Southern Italy. There’s nothing quite like it.

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Returned to a lot of the same pleasures of the past, freshly squeezed oranges and lemons, under the Italian sun, by a Neapolitan woman who sings all day as she flitters around her Kiosk on the gorgeous Via Tragara.

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A return to Pompeii, the fascinating buried city with Vesuvius watchful in the distance.

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Meeting new friends abroad 🙂

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Long walks soaking in the sun and the past.

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Architectural details in half-obscured gardens of small villa art museums (full of amazing Renaissance, ancient and baroque Italian art)!

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Being the foreigner in a city you fall into like a comfortable affair.

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The moments you can’t anticipate but happen upon in the most beautiful of happenstances.

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My favorite spot on earth for the golden hour, on the Pincian Hill in Rome. This is before the view of the Popolo.

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A typical Roman street, wrapped into the mystery of fragments and pieces of history.

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The beauty of being overwhelmed in Rome.

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Cafe life in Italy, a class of wine or a coffee, a little treat, there is nothing like it. Another layered moment captured, to be savored and remembered palpably.

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On every wall there is a reminder of death and a reminder of love, the eternal kind, of love that lasts, and of life in the hand too.

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Rome, a city to return to, one that keeps its shutters open to the world, long enough for an unforgettable peek.

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Since that first moment I arrived there, now, and always, for Roma.

For traveling, for seeing the world, for meeting new people, and for being at home in the world.

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Here’s to 2014… and here is a cheers to 2015 and a new year of adventure and experience and chasing beauty!