Friday, May 20, 2011

Ahhh Italia!! Part 2. . .5/20/11

I took more than 500 photographs in Italy. . .only 22 had my husband and I in them. . .the rest are all of architecture, fashion, design, antiques, gardens and landscapes, food, cathedrals, religious artifacts and ruins, so while I cannot show you all of them, here are a handful for your viewing. . .
My hubby and I at the very top of the Duomo in Florence. I am very claustrophobic and the climb up to the Duomo's peak is more than 450 steps, with a passage so narrow that only one person can fit at a time and in some areas it is so steep, it is actually like climbing a ladder. I started to panic a little at one point, because I felt like I was in a concrete coffin but I pulled it together and made it to the top. . .
Inside the Duomo it is breathtaking. . .the height alone is astonishing.
Ponte Vecchio in Florence is one of the few bridges that has shops built on it. . .it's famous for selling exquisite gold and silver. Some of the jewelry shops on that bridge rival Kate Middleton's fabulous engagement ring!!
An exterior view of the Duomo's incredible detailing.
They say there's no pizza in the world like the pizza in Italy. . .the proverbial "they" are correct but once you've had it for ten days. . .anything but that sounds good.
A beautiful stone staircase in Tuscany. . .the simple steps and gorgeous growth around it felt so inviting.
We stayed at the Hotel Savoy in Florence, which was literally a stone's throw from the Duomo. . .good thing because I was mesmerized by it and all of the country's grand cathedrals actually.
We stopped for a day in Chianti, a small Tuscan town responsible for it's namesake wine. Interestingly enough, on Mother's Day here in the states my cousin served, unbeknownst to him, a wine native to that very town.
Italian markets feel so authentic. . .I sat there looking at all this fresh produce, wishing I could cook up a yummy meal!
A spectacular Roman arch on Palatine Hill, the birthplace of the city. Look at the detailed carving. I never ceased to be amazed, then and now, at the incredibly time-consuming work displayed across the entire city, and country.
And amongst all the ruins and crumbled stone of Rome, life grows and blooms beautifully.
Sure, the Sistine Chapel and the David are incredible, but THIS is a random sculpture on a random no-name bridge. . .this city is bleeding gorgeous artwork!
The interior of one of the Vatican Museum's rooms. Nearly every room was breath-taking like this one. There is an old saying that one can live in Rome for a thousand years and never have seen the whole of the city. After three days there I can assure you I believe it entirely.
You may recognize this architecture. . .it makes a cameo in the film The Tourist, starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, which was filmed here in Venice.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Garden Flattery. . .5/19/11

I was so flattered a couple of weeks ago when I received an email from a woman who works for a website called House Logic. She said one of her editors (formerly of Better Homes & Gardens) was searching for photographs of great alternatives to grass in a backyard when they stumbled across my blog. Apparently they liked the gravel and landscaping we did in our backyard recently and asked permission to use the photograph as part of a series of "alternatives". I was incredibly flattered to say the least. . .

Here is the link to the website. . .
Just scroll through the 12 pictures. . .La Vie Abondante is photo # 8

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ahhh Italia!! Part 1. . .5/9/11

If you have been checking La Vie Abondante lately and wondering if my fingers were broken, I assure you that they are not. I have simply been in a whirlwind of travel and household abnormality the last month and a half. My husband had some much needed time off of work and with that time we opted to travel a little.

We took two trips: one with our babies (3 and 1 year olds) to Florida and one with each other to ITALY!! I have always wanted to go and with two small children and a husband whose busy schedule doesn't permit long getaways it seemed I'd have to wait until our kids were in college to do so but alas a window of opportunity appeared and off we went. . .for TEN days!! It was fabulous and beautiful and delicious and relaxing but ironically we missed our babies so much that by day seven we were ready to change our flights and come home early. . .we didn't but we thought about it. . .that counts, right??

That said, here are a handful of photographs of a few Italian things I thought were worth sharing with you all. Many many more to come. . .
Venezia!! This city is so remarkably unique. Apart from it's lovely landscapes and architecture, there are no main streets! Or rather they are all made up of water canals. Travel is by foot or by water only via vaporetto, water taxi or gondola. What an experience. . . it's the city where the world gets, what else, Venetian glass!!
Walking around Venice there are masks and festival-wear galore. . .the city's tradition of debauchery dates back a few hundred years. . .here are a few masks I thought very interesting.
Toscana. . .ah, the Tuscan countryside is magnificent! Not only were the vineyard's wines very tasty but the views were breathtaking. This is in Chianti, about an hour outside of Firenze (Florence to us non-Italians).
Under the Tuscan Sun. . .quite literally.
A beautiful arrangement of flowers sat at the top of a hill outside a cafe. . .so lovely.
I thought this green vine growing so beautifully and evenly across a power line extended over the street was so neat.
And a flower carts full of colorful blooms was irresistible of course!!
The Fonatana di Trevi (famed Trevi Fountain) was spectacular!! Probably one of my favorite sculptures! It's size is astounding and the detail is just beyond words. . .we stood there for forever. legend has it that throwing a coin into the fountain ensures you will one day return to Rome. . .here's to hoping my coin trick worked ;)
Him I had to photograph and not because he was famous but because he is exactly what I envision as the "quintessential" Italian man. From the clothes to the haircut, perfect unshaven face, classic shades and relaxed lifestyle.
Il Coliseo Romano (Roman Coliseum)
Enjoying gelato in Rome
The architecture and detail of Italy's cathedrals, relics and ruins is absolutely astounding. . .especially when you stop to consider how many hundreds and hundreds of years ago they were built. Look at this ceiling!
And this one!! The Sistine Chapel was magnificent but not necessarily more so than others around Rome. . .
Here is a Madonna in one of the Vatican's rooms. . .she is surrounded by immeasurably beautiful works of art.