I’ve gotten to know the ancient island of Capri and ana Capri fairly well over the last ten or so years and love still getting a bit lost when I go off the beaten path.
A quiet, labyrinthine neighborhood, Via li Campi, away from the crowds of Capri Town.
I wandered without a map past schoolchildren as they walked home from school. I wanted to find a local place not marked by tourists.
This was probably one of my favorite afternoons. I like to get a little bit lost in old neighborhoods.
Every corner held a new surprise… usually just another curvy turn but still, it was a surprise.
This was a tiny apartment courtyard . I would love to know the history of these walls and stairs.
I could walk this path all day. There’s a quiet in the shadows I long for.
So many colors and hues over decades.
Further into the maze of private pedestrian streets.
One can hear the call of birds and the echo of footsteps on the rock.
Here the gardens are on the rooftops or behind high walls in private courtyards.
Ana Capri is a great place to buy the artisan handmade tiles. I brought a few back home myself.
I’m working on a piece I did on my favorite tile shop, an interview with the owners and a photographic tour of the shop. I should be publishing it in the next few days.
Trastevere is a charming neighborhood across the Tiber from the historic center of Rome. It’s a great spot to have lunch and spend an afternoon walking around, admiring the warm, faded colors of the buildings. They bake wonderful breads and cookies at La Renella and sell handmade chocolates at Valzoni to locals and tourists. My favorite book shop in Rome is The Almost Corner Bookshop, an all English language store filled with fiction and non-fiction dedicated to Rome and Italy, lots of great classic literature and the latest publications in English. I always pick up something perfect to set the tone of my visit to Rome – in March it was Geothe’s near perfect Italian Journey, which colored my walk on the Appian Way and walking through the Porta San Sebastiano. In October it was my favorite Odes of John Keats in a neat little volume, with a little Shelley and Byron, who all accompanied me on my visits to The Keats Shelley (Byron) House and for a prosecco at Caffe Greco and even to Keats tombstone in Testaccio.
Trastevere is not usually overrun with tourists and has a little bit of an off the beaten path feel to it. One can walk to Tiber Island for curious sights or the Giancolo (Janiculum Hill) for an alternate view of Rome or even to the residential neighborhood of Monteverde which boasts the lovely Villa Sciarra parks and is truly off the beaten path. I love the beautiful curves and colors of the architecture.
Trastevere has the chicest farmacia I’ve ever seen. Each little shop and boutique is delightful and covered with crawling greenery. The curb appeal and doorstep gardens of Italy are an obsession of mine.
The gorgeous overhanging vines and ivy of your typical Trastevere pedestrian street next to little cafes and restaurants.
The layers of stone and paint and greenery are lush all year long. I adore this section so much.
A charming respite to duck in when caught in the rain (as I was that afternoon)!
The main piazza of Trastevere with the cannot be missed church. A great people watching locale.
They even have the ambulatories in Rome to bounce one over cobblestoned paths. The green grows thick and spreads over garden walls.
Miniature terraces with majestic potted plants which grow as long as Rapunzel’s hair!
The place to see and be seen.
The exceptionally old exterior. “The Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere (Italian: Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere) is a titular minor basilica, one of the oldest Churches of Rome, perhaps the first in which Mass was openly celebrated. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s, The first sanctuary was built in 221 and 227 by Pope Calixtus I and later completed by Pope Julius. -Wikipedia
A close up of the pretty detail, with Occidental features like Egyptian palm trees and the gold leafed saints mosaics.
Man walking dog past a cafe – “Isn’t it a lovely scene?”
Coolest cafe sign ever. It’s always closed when I find myself in Trastevere unfortunately!
Yes, it IS a terribly romantic place to get lost in.
The requisite laundry shot because I never, ever, ever tire of those.
And a light blue vespa! It is Italy after all! It’s a requirement for any tour.
Rome – where the masterpieces are both outdoors and indoors for your viewing pleasure and contemplation. This is why I love the eternal city. It is made up of a thousand moments of aesthetic joy.
These were all shot on my 35 mm film camera on a dull, grey, rainy afternoon and still the color and hues shine through the haze!
Just sequester me here to this flat with the garden-y window for a season or two… I will be happy. I’ll walk the streets in the morning, pop into churches and museums in the afternoon and sit Juliet style by this window at night.
I miss the village green,
And all the simple people.
I miss the village green,
The church, the clock, the steeple.
I miss the morning dew, fresh air and Sunday school.
And now all the houses
Are rare antiquities.
American tourists flock to see the village green.
They snap their photographs and say “Gawd darn it,
Isn’t it a pretty scene?”
In relation to my choosing the very British provincial music quotes is a 10 year old video featuring the song and the very amazing Lord Whimsy.
I have a wanderlust for all the beautiful and fascinating places in the world, especially art filled cities full of history and literary haunts.
In 1998, when I was 22 I first traveled to Italy. From the moment we stepped out of our tiny Hotel Genio and around the corner to the Piazza Navona, we knew Rome was going to answer our wildest dreams with an even greater beauty. I tell people who have not been there or who have been there and have somehow not appreciated the treasures of Rome: Rome is a feast of all senses, an open air museum, a celebration.
Rome is the place I love and crave and long for because nowhere else in the world can I wander into a church and see several Caravaggio’s against the backdrop of somber hymns and sit in a pew and admire his work in silence.
There’s the wild strawberries to eat on cobblestones from a market.
There’s the ruins at night, to stand above them and linger there for an hour, to feel transported back in time, very far back in time.
There’s wandering in the footsteps of Oscar Wilde wandering in the footsteps of Keats and Shelley. There’s Babingtons (there’s my anglo side which needs to be satisfied).
There’s Artemisia Gentileschi paintings scattered across Rome (and Florence and Naples) awaiting my worshipful gaze.
There’s Sundays in Rome, the greatest day, the only place you feel you should be in the world on a Sunday when you are there. Away from the awful pollution of the cars (my one pet peeve of Rome)… to roam on the Appian Way, to stop and eat somewhere or pick red poppies along the road.
Pizza at Bafetto. Pinot nero. Frascati. Tears of Christ. The view of Rome atop the Wedding cake. The Borgia rooms. Artichoke season. Hazelnuts. Pine nuts. Capreses. Prosecco. Oranges. Lemons. Olives. Trastevere apple bread and long lunches there and hours photographing the grafitti. Nuns walking through the city. Red domes turned gold. Unexpected art exhibitions. Villa Borghese. Penne alla’arrabiata. Porcini. Truffles. White fish. Fisherman’s stew. Capotoline Hill.
There are a thousand other moments I love in Rome. These are just a few.
I love the cemeteries of Rome. I live for all the architectural details. And the marble. And a thousand saints and angels and statues. And all the Renaissance art and intricate Pompeiian mosaics. And the ruins. Not to mention I have an almost inexpressible feeling of happiness in certain slants of Italian sunlight and shadow, with the scent of lemon and orange trees accompanying me on a ramble, content with a glimpse of a white dove on Palatine hill or brushing past an olive branch. Just fountain hopping at night makes me happy. I cannot tire of the umbrella pines and cypress trees. Or taking afternoon tea at Babington’s or daydreaming in 18th century splendor at Caffe Greco, where the English Romantics mused and drank at the same tiny marble tables.
Finding a room with a view. And following the Roman cats through the ruins! And trying to visit all nine hundred beautiful old churches. (Impossible). And the Borghese gardens and palazzo museums and the sound of water fountains and sculptures and Italian gardens and vespas and red roof tiles. And a hundred thousand other things I will try to capture on this blog. (And I love Naples & Florence & all of Italy, which will be featured some times, as well as related art exhibits, books, music & films)!