Sunday, July 28, 2013
Because Portia is young and spirited (see previous post on spirited children!), I have to liken things to Portia in her cello practice so she really gets it. One of Richard Hoyt's latest corrections for Portia was that her thumb needs to be tucked behind the neck of the cello, not peeking around, so that her hand is curved like a C. So Portia's thumb became Bambi and if Bambi is in the forest (behind the neck), he is safe. If he's in the meadow, he's vulnerable and the hunter could show up anytime. Now all I have to say is, "I see Bambi" and she quickly tucks her thumb behind the cello's neck. Ah, the things we parents do to keep our kids moving in the right direction!
Thursday, July 4, 2013
|In La Spezia, before we boarded a boat for Portovenere|
After we finished swimming in the morning (and unfortunately missed out on the Mary Shelley museum because it kept such odd hours), we headed to La Spezia. We had a quick lunch at a stand near the port (our sandwiches were quite good, considering). I also got some pretty awesome pictures in La Spezia.
|Bianca (being the musician she is) like the name of this Piazza in La Spezia|
|Bianca and Portia by the port in La Spezia|
|Large anchor, anyone? (La Spezia)|
|Arriving in Portovenere|
|Lord Byron's Grotto|
|There were little alcoves built into these ruins. I wanted to climb in with a notebook and |
start writing poetry myself!
|Playing in Byron's Grotto|
|The Church of St. Peter and the square Spallanzani|
|Ah, sitting next to Mother Nature (Madre-Natura)|
We had to take quite a few stairs to make it up to the castle. There was so much to see, it took us forever to get up there.
|Lots of stairs to climb in Portovenere|
|Taking the stairs up|
|The view from Portovenere is just beautiful!|
|Still on our way up to Doria Castle (that's it in the background)|
|Bianca exploring the ruins|
|I love the reflection in the window|
|Bianca and Portia found some friendly Italian gatti (Portovenere is called Kitty City!)|
|The view was amazing!|
DOORS OF THE DAY
|In town of Portovenere|
|Isn't the knocker cool?|
|The doors to San Lorenzo Church (see statue above the door)|
|I love the foliage everywhere!|
|It's kind of a door-like opening|
Sadly, this was our last day in Italy. We packed up that night and headed out bright and early the next morning (about 4:30am) to drive to Milan to board the plane. As we were saying goodbye to Carro for the last time, I saw a firefly. I didn't know fireflies were in Italy! We were exhausted by now but still realized what we were leaving. Italy was as beautiful as I'd hoped.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
|Door from the reading room at the Laurentian Library reading room|
|Bianca liked the name of this little shop|
|Florence Cathedral door|
It was a little overwhelming to walk through the old city with all the tall beautiful buildings (not to mention all the tourists!). We started off in this little city corner.
Then we ambled in the direction of the rest of the sheep.
As I was reading in my Inferno book the night before, our narrator mentioned the Laurentian Library (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana) that contained a set of steps designed by Michaelangelo and the adjoining reading room that he also designed back in the mid-1500s. I thought, yeah, I'd like to see that, so it was our first real stop. And I have to say, it was my very favorite! The library is in this large building that contains also a large basilica, which we did NOT see.
|The courtyard at the Medicea Basilica|
|The staircase that leads to the Reading Room|
|The staircase designed by Michaelangelo|
The reading room above was also designed by Michaelangelo. There were these cool benches with book tables designed for people who were there to borrow the library's books. I guess the books were assigned to specific benches, so if you were done reading one book and ready to move to another, you had to change seats as well.
|The Reading Room in the Laurentian Library|
I LOVE cool ceilings and wow! this one was just amazing with all the carved, intricate woodwork! So perfect for a library ceiling.
|Ceiling in the reading room at the Laurentian Library in Florence|
It was about my favorite thing we saw in Florence and all because of that silly book I was reading. I also liked that not many other people seemed to know about it so it wasn't crowded with tourists like most of the places in Florence.
We wandered around for a while after, had some gelato (probably the best we had while in Italy!), and did I mention yet that I was in door heaven? It was hard to get anywhere with the many pictures I was taking in front of cool doors! (See separate blog for the amazing doors of Florence.)
Honestly, we just sort of went through the city stopping here and there. The outdoor stuff is just so amazing, do you really need to go in?
|I worked really hard to get the other tourists out of my pics, but look at all the heads lining the bottom of the photo|
We wanted to go see some other stuff, but the lines were snaking through the streets and who has the time to wait in those lines when you've only got one day in Florence? Eric wanted to go see the "David" but the line for that museum was way too long. We actually waited in it a while before we gave up. Is it uncivilized for me to say that I saw plenty of male nudity in these fountains, in which we did not have to wait in lines?
|Fountains in Florence|
|Bianca was not impressed with all the nakedness of the statues|
And of course, we saw the nice little replica of the David as well. I don't need David. Give me Michaelangelo's staircase instead any day. We wandered through this wonderful open building I wish I knew what it was, but maybe it's okay to just enjoy its beauty for what it is.
Eric finally got his souvenir for the trip. He wanted a pair of Italian shoes. We saw a nice pair in a window while we were walking around and spent the next little while trying some on.
Funny thing, though, as we made our way back through Florence, the huge line that had wrapped two hours long through the square to the Florence Cathedral was almost gone! We got into see the cathedral in a couple minutes. You had to be dressed modestly to enter the Duomo di Firenze (Florence Cathedral), which is why we had worn dresses that day. Speaking of which, in Italy, it's not called Florence--it's actually Firenze. The girls sat down and wrote in their journals (their feet were hurting already) while Eric and Mom looked around. The girls were sitting over a grate that was open below, which we later found out was the crypt because Eric and Mom went down there.
In the interior dome part of the cathedral is the Vasari painting and it is quite beautiful. It's just amazing all the detail work put into these beautiful cathedrals. I sat down next to the girls while they wrote and just looked around. There is so much beauty here.
|Florence Cathedral's dome ceiling|
Once while we were standing around, not sure where to go next, a group of Asian tourists was passing by. A woman put her arm on Bianca's shoulder and said something (we weren't sure what, but this wasn't new to us in the last couple weeks) so Bianca assumed she was asking her to move out of the picture she was going to take. But I don't think that was it, because then they started walking by and taking pictures of Portia. Maybe it was her blue eyes and light hair? It was funny, though, because after they passed, Portia asked, Why were they taking my picture? I told her maybe somewhere she'll be immortalized in someone's vacation pictures from Florence.
After the cathedral, we made our way back to the tram.
After the cathedral, we made our way back to the tram.
|Eric thinking, like Macchiavelli|