Friday, December 6, 2013

Italy: Those Wonderful Doors and Windows .....

I went a little crazy.  I was so taken with the uniqueness of the doors and windows along those narrow streets in the towns and villages.  There are no single family dwellings; residents live in apartments behind these very tall and very old walls.  Sometimes, behind these walls, are large courtyards. I wish I could have seen one. The doors literally open right on the street (as you can see in the last photograph).   Here are only a  few examples . I am thinking about perhaps painting some of them.  It occurred to me that even our very old homes are so much newer than these buildings and our windows and doors are now  quite standardized (ie; Anderson Doors and Windows).  I did not see any two windows or doors the same.  I am guessing there are not a lot of government regulations regarding the safety of decorative ironwork.
  How glorious are these !

Monday, December 2, 2013

Italy: Under My Feet ......

One of the first things I noticed about Italy was the walking surfaces.  Aside from the big highways between towns, the city streets and sidewalks were anything but large slabs of concrete.Virtually all the streets were constructed of small squares of granite with designs in white marble. I hope I didn't miss something extraordinary while I was walking around looking down!
Many of the designs below are from either Pompeii or Herculaneum.  When looking at just a small segment, it is confusing.  But, you get the idea, all ancient, all recovered, all really cool!
 ancient mosaic floor
 ancient floor
 ancient floor mosaic ! the pieces were so tiny!
 ancient mosaic floor with such a contemporary design
 a street in Pompeii, a very, very large ancient city.
 This is the surface we walked on almost exclusively.  All the streets, all the sidewalks, all the piazzas were paved with these small pieces, arranged in gentle arch-like designs.  It was very easy to walk on.
 Steps are everywhere as the villages are quite hilly, in fact most of them were built on the top of hills.  This was to provide protection and gave resident soldiers  an advantage.
 the use of this brick material was not as evident as the small granite squares.
 Here you can see a private courtyard in Sorrento, behind an iron gate, showing the ever present curved design with the white marble accents..  Very beautiful and very old.
 an ancient floor in one of the ruins. It would seem that the streets in Italy adapted their design from this!
 an intricate mosaic design in one of the ruins
a random walking area in the ruins