Category Archives: Italy

Amalfi in Monochrome

Amalfi in Monochrome.

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I keep adding images as the week progresses – tempted as I am to use colour, I want this post to be all about Monochrome.

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It  goes dark here so quickly, round about 6.15pm just as it’s time for an early evening drink.

So here is to the Hotel La Bussola – scene of a honeymoon 27 years ago; it’s still standing, and so is the hotel, out on the front, overlooking the harbour with our white Fiat 500 just parked outside.

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All these years on and the Amalfi coast is as beautiful as I remember; in fact more so; here are some images taken in monochrome this week; I hope you like them.

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Baveno, Lake Maggiore

Baveno, Lake Maggiore

Baveno, Lake Maggiore

Some images from the Italian lakes this week;  wake up and smell the coffee.

Baveno, Lake Maggiore

Baveno, Lake Maggiore

A tour day trip to attend a conference with colleagues from around the globe is a great excuse to visit the last of the Italian lakes to evade me to date.

Baveno, Lake Maggiore

View from the terrace.
Hotel Grand Dino; Baveno, Lake Maggiore

Baveno, Lake Maggiore is beautiful!

Don’t take my word for it; here is the official blurb from their tourism site.

Baveno, Lake Maggiore

Baveno, Lake Maggiore

Baveno is situated on the most panoramic point of Lake Maggiore; on the hills which slope gently to the banks and the blue expanse of water, with the beautiful view of the Borromeo Islands in front. Its beauty and peace, on account of its smiling charm and favoured position form such a restful and peaceful corner. In addition to its natural beauties, charming villas, picturesque alleys and gardens which diffuse their sweet fragrance around, Baveno offers the great convenience of all sort of accommodation, supplied with every comfort for the pleasure and well-being of their guests.

Every year in July in Baveno take place the music Festival dedicated to the composer Umberto Giordano who used to spend his holiday at Villa Fedora, today a public park.

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OK that’s eight and a half hours in conference, time for a few more snaps now and a gulp of fresh air….

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Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como is somewhere in Italy that everyone should visit.

I am going to show this beautiful place to you with some images from a trip I took in the summer of 2013

No nicer place for a rustic picnic

No nicer place for a rustic picnic

We spent a week here as part of a rail trip across Europe , that was booked with Great Rail Journeys,  all of these photos were taken on my Leica X2, which has now been replaced with something i can’t focus as well!

This was a special trip.

The notes below are from the very good goitaly@aboutguide.com written by Martha Bakerjian 

Lake Como, Lago di Como in Italian, is Italy’s most popular lake and also its deepest. Lake Como is shaped like an inverted Y giving it a long perimeter. The lake is surrounded by mountains and hills and dotted with beautiful villas and resort villages. There are good hiking paths, boat trips and water activities. Popular since Roman times, Lake Como is a top romantic travel destination and a great spot for photography.

Lake Como is in the region of Lombardy and is part of the northern Italian Lakes District. It lies between Milan and the border of Switzerland with its southern tip about 40km north of Milan. See location on this Lombardy Map.

Lake Como is a popular weekend destination for people from Milan so the weekdays may be less crowded. July and August are the most crowded months. Spring and Fall are the best times to visit as it is less crowded and the weather is usually pleasant.

anyhow, back to the trip – Lake Como is on the Milan to Switzerland line, and that’s how we arrived, the train stops in the town of Como itself and you can easily drag your cases down onto the lake-front, where there is a tourist office and plenty of hotels; we stayed at the metropole

What a great few days; Lake Como is beautiful, you need to get on a boat and visit the many towns and villages by hopping on and off, taking a picnic and your camera….

I hope you enjoy my snaps!
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The Leica store, Florence

I think I have found my shopping heaven; tucked away around the corner from the tourists and the Ponte Vecchio.

 

Leica store, Florence - as good as it gets?

Leica store, Florence – as good as it gets?

 

Subtle, discreet, tucked away and amazingly stylish, packed with amazing stuff but beautifully done in every way – very similar to a Leica M camera.

More later on this shop and its contents, after two visits I had to be led away like a small child on holiday, pestering the parents to buy something that was never going to figure in even the most lavish piggy-bank emptying holiday finance debacle.

We can still dream though, perhaps a second hand M9 and a 35mm Summicron 1.4 would be nice.

A great lunch in Fiesole, Tuscany

My thanks go out to Kevin Bell, a happy traveller and old mate who I bumped into at Gary’s 50th birthday party in Ilkley. It was Kev, who knowing a thing or two about Tuscany, pointed us in the direction of La Loggia Restaurant in Fiesole, a short bus ride out of Florence, up into the Tuscan hills in Italy.

The occasion – our 25th wedding anniversary, a spot of lunch with a tear in the eye, looking out over the scenery and reflecting on being the luckiest man alive  in Italy that day.

Mrs Broadbent

Mrs Broadbent

and Mr Broadbent

and Mr Broadbent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The food, the wine and the setting could not have been nicer, I would certainly urge anyone who is staying in Florence for a few days to take the bus into the hills and make the most of this lovely town, taking in a bottle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and a filet steak as well if time permits!

 

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187896-d716435-Reviews-La_Loggia_Restaurant_Villa_San_Michele-Fiesole_Tuscany.html

 

Florence is a place of great beauty

Florence is best served early in the morning, with a cigarette and a double espresso, around 6.50 am this morning to be precise, I wish I could communicate the sound and the smells, as the bells ring out across the city and the busy people scamper around below, you look out in wonder. The image will have to do the job.

Florence is a place of geat beauty.

I am in Rome as I write this, but there is a lot more to come about the last 5 days in Tuscany, a lot more.

now I am in Portugal, and way behind with my blogging -I will start a new post for Florence, Rome and Portugal and have them all updated in the coming days

Florence is a place of beauty

Florence is a place of great beauty

 

Aida at the Verona Arena

This was what we came for, and even at 100 euros a ticket, I would say it was a great value night, all four hours of it!

Crazy night, fun, numerous wine and fag breaks and what made it special was that it was a gift from my lovely mum, and  I  know how mch it means to her and to my dad, they enjoyed this trip a few times and it was very emotional for me to be there and do the same, thinking of dad, who sadly left us at the start ot this year,

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light a candle to welcome the start of Aida

light a candle to welcome the start of Aida

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Churches, pizza, wine and shoe leather

OK, so time for a full on day being a tourist in Verona – that means wearing the skin of your feet, eating pizza and stopping off for the odd glass of vino between churches, shops and museums.

Basilica S. Zeno

Basilica S. Zeno

 

A great day, I would say – and I have the sunburn, ant bites and blisters to prove it.

Late night blogging at hotel

Late night blogging at hotel

Castelvecchio Museum

Castelvecchio Museum

 

 

a nice wine store!

a nice wine store!

2 slices = 4 euros

2 slices = 4 euros

2 big boys Piazza Erbe

2 big boys Piazza Erbe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were so lucky to stumble into the Verona Cathedral in Piazza Duomo, just as a string section, oboe and operatic singer were warming up with rehersal for a performance that evening – what a sound, a truly memorable and beautiful thirty minutes of music that stirred the soul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Within four days, we visited all four of the major churches open to the public – getting our six euro card stamped along the way!

The Lower Church Santa Anastasia, Verona

The Lower Church Santa Anastasia, Verona

The local tipple

The local tipple

Organ warm-up, Verona Cathedral

Organ warm-up, Verona Cathedral

news stand

news stand

a clown

a clown

nice

nice

bikes in Verona

bikes in Verona

doubleback alley

doubleback alley

Fiume Adige

Fiume Adige

Rehersal in Duomo

Rehersal in Duomo

More singing

More singing

lovely sound

lovely sound

tourists

tourists

Cloisters

Cloisters

Cloisters 2

Cloisters 2

more cloisters

more cloisters

Italian trains, wine but no wi-fi

just saying…

We spent most of the day yesterday on an a train of some sort, some good, some better than good, none as pleasant as a Swiss train though sadly!

Starting in Paris very early, we got a long way in a very short time t0 Lyon (250 miles) in 1 hour 40 minutes to be exact….

Once in Italy, although armed with waiter service and a nicer train, there was a lack of wi-fi even in first class, and a seemingly pedestrian pace to our travel – I could have cycled it quicker in fact.

So why then does it take a further seven hours to go as far again?

I think the answer is something to do with the Alps…who put them there?

cake

cake

Paris from Pompidou

Paris from Pompidou

Paris

Paris

Pompidou view 2

Pompidou view 2

Pompidou

Pompidou

Gare du Lyon

Gare du Lyon

all day on a slow train

all day on a slow train

first ice cream of the trip

first ice cream of the trip

Platform 4, not Platform 2

Platform 4, not Platform 2

S.Zeno

Big Amarone

Big Amarone

Verona at last

tourist

 

Verona, Italy

A long day on the train was rewarded with an evening stroll into the beautiful city of Verona – our home for the next few days

Verona Arena - the thid largest in the world

Verona Arena – the thid largest in the world

Shakespeare placed star-crossed lovers Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet in Verona for good reason: romance, drama and fatal family feuding have been the city’s hallmark for centuries. From the 3rd century BC Verona was a Roman trade centre with ancient gates, a forum (now Piazza delle Erbe) and a grand Roman arena, which still serves as one of the world’s great opera venues. In the Middle Ages the city flourished under the wrathful Scaligeri clan, who were as much energetic patrons of the arts as they were murderous tyrants. Their elaborate Gothic tombs, the Arche Scaligere, are just off Piazza dei Signori.

Under Cangrande I (1308–28) Verona conquered Padua and Vicenza, with Dante, Petrarch and Giotto benefitting from the city’s patronage. But the fratricidal rage of Cangrande II (1351–59) complicated matters, and the Scaligeri were run out of town in 1387. Venice took definitive control in 1404, ruling until Napoleon’s arrival in 1797.

The city became a Fascist control centre from 1938 to 1945, a key location for Resistance interrogation and transit point for Italian Jews sent to Nazi concentration camps. Today, as the city grapples with its changing identity as an international commercial centre, it has become a Lega Nord (Northern League) stronghold. Yet the city is a Unesco World Heritage Site and a cosmopolitan crossroads, especially in summer when the 2000-year-old arena hosts opera’s biggest names (including us).

Beautiful early evening

Beautiful early evening

some shopping to be done too - looks quite smart

some shopping to be done too – looks quite smart

The Arena - we will be watching Aida here on Saturday

The Arena – we will be watching Aida here on Saturday

Piazza Bra - where its all happening

Piazza Bra – where its all happens

 

Satup in bed now, listening to Aida – frantically trying to memorise two and a half hours of music, to get ready for tomorrow night down at the Arena, Verona.

It would seem that Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi  was born on the 9th  October 1813 and left this earth on 27 January 1901 – over 113 years ago; so how come he’s such a big deal?

Clearly he was an  Italian Romantic composer primarily known for his operas. I am advised by Wikipedia that he is considered, together with Richard Wagner, the preeminent opera composer of the nineteenth century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, I will be the judge of that after I have sat with a numb bum for four hours tomorrow night in the open air!

It would also seem that Aida was a runaway success – following the very first performance in Cario on Christmas Eve 1871, the opera went on to great critical acclaim and was performed around the world – and still is to this day, making it the second most performed opera in the world, after La Beheme.