Thursday Doors May 31: Rocky Mountain High

Two weekends ago, I traveled out to Denver Colorado to see an amazing concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater. For those of you who don’t know of the theater, it’s about 10 miles outside of Denver, in an open air natural HUGE rock structure. While I have a couple photos in the mix, google it as well to get aerial and other views. Simply spectacular.

Otherwise, it was a whirlwind weekend, with only a bit of time to venture out in the city. Which means of course, DOORS. Mixed with some fun and funky art. All in all, a great city, great adventure, and great concert.

The concert was really a top three for me, which says a LOT. Above & Beyond are not just DJ’s, but musicians, humanitarians, and fully ingrained in their music and show. I could weep that I missed their fully orchestrated acoustic gig at the Hollywood Bowl. Next time for sure…

For Norm’s Thursday Doors Challenge.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Triple-take Trastevere

So given the small world that it is, it only makes sense that both The Daily Post ‘s own Michelle and The Mexi Movie ‘s Manja both share in this weeks collage challenge – like, exactly share! Seems this spot in Trastevere had a way to lure in three lovely photographers 🙂

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: Collage

A brief taste of Lucca Love

Lucca is the smallest portfolio of my photos, in having had only part of a day to visit. As anyone who’s been there could probably agree with, our brief stop left me stomping my feet out of frustration for wanting to see more. Alas, there’s always next time, this I am certain of!! And now, even looking back and sorting through photos, I see exactly why I left wanting more.

Lucca is a charmer – a Tuscan town, an ancient wall surrounding it’s loveliness. Present day, that same wall graces a delightful rampart, where heavenly Tiglio (Linden) trees beckoned us forth. If you’ve not been graced with the fragrance of a Linden tree in bloom, well, I surely can’t begin to describe it here. Perhaps like the blending of honey and lemon peel  – and well, even though that sounds wonderful, it still leaves no room for actually strolling under them on a warm summer day – what a glorious experience. The Linden clearly defined Lucca for me, that day.

And so, I give you, Lucca.

 

Il fuoco di Firenze

I will concede – Firenze is a way more cool word than the English plain old “Florence.” And furthermore, Florence was an unbelievably amazing city. I hadn’t anticipated anything other than love for it, given all that I knew about its history, architecture and art art art – many of my friends who had been to Italy told me it was their favorite Italy destination.

As expected, I took many photos. So, I’ll chunk it out in two or three posts perhaps. Though, some of what I shot is already in my Street Art and More Street Art (Clet Abraham art) posts. So pop over to those as well for some Firenze love 🙂

For this round, I’ll just dare you to not jump on the first plane out, with a look at my favorite highlights.

 

Michelangelo’s David – as much as it’s pretty much one of THE main tourist attractions – was truly just stunningly beautiful artwork.  I was teary eyed upon first seeing him.

 

Thursday Doors, July 6: A tale of two Italian towns

My last two hill towns of Italy left me with a sense that surely nothing could surpass them (though, my friend Manja tells me that’s just not so – I’ll have to believe her, for now 🙂 … )

Orvieto and Civita di Bagnoregio, the last of my Italy destinations, dished out a lovely assortment of doors (and more).

For Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors challenge

Please – ignore the sign and enter!

If there’s one thing that Italy does to a person who’s just visiting for the first time (most likely every time), it’s that She leaves you utterly salivating for more. Please, just a few more days to explore and enjoy and bask in that Italy glow.

Even something as simple – and charming – as French artist Clet Abraham’s hacked street signs, scattered across the streets in Florence… that sort of thing will do it to you. And while I saw many in my Firenze travels, I found after coming home and perusing the internet, that there were many, many more whimsical (and not-so whimsical) quirky artsy signs, not only in Florence, but all over the globe.

You can read a super interesting interview of Clet here. And, check out the ones I was able to capture in my travels, below.

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Our fav gelateria in Florence – Grom – happened to help me find this sign.

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I only recently noticed the second sign 🙂

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I spy keys, too.

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Gems of Italy: Swoon-worthy Cinque Terre, +1

When I first discovered we wouldn’t be staying in any of the five dreamy villages of the Italian Riveria region the Cinque Terre, I was a little disappointed. Levanto, a town just north of the “fifth” town, Monterosso al-Mare, isn’t technically part of the Cinque Terre. But, as our trip had gone, and how Italy had not disappointed even one iota, Levanto – I quickly discovered – was the place to stay while visiting this ever growing tourist attracting Italian coast.

Between lazily swimming in the Ligurian Sea, hiking the cliffside trail between Vernazza and Corneglia, and gazing upon cliffs of grapevines and olive trees – oh, and eating the out of this world local seafood/food – our two days in the Cinque Terre and Levanto were utterly magnificent.

As a side note, it’s incredibly difficult to discern which photos to post, as I took so many throughout Italy. Cinque Terre was no exception to this dilemna!

Our first stop, the northern-most of the 5 villages, Monterosso al Mare.

Monterosso al Mare

 

Monterosso al Mare


North of Monterosso al Mare was our town of Levanto. We arrived late in the afternoon, and for dinner had one of the best meals there, a delightful Tuscan feast of local seafoods (and rabbit, and pesto that the chef made for us as a demonstration beforehand!)

 

Fresh mussels, anchovies, calamari, crab, bruschetta, pasta with pesto, risotto with porcini mushrooms. Profiteroles and limoncello. A very memorable meal.


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Levanto

 

Morning in Levanto

We were up very early the next morning to get the train to hike the trail from Vernazza to Corniglia. The train here runs thru tunnels to connect the 5 towns, and beyond, and was built in the late 1800’s – fascinating when you see the engineering feet required to do so!

 

A few pretty pictures in Vernazza while walking to the trail head entrance (above).


In about 2.5 miles, and ~60 flights of stairs later, we would be in Corniglia – just in time for breakfast and more beautiful views!


Leaving early gave us the narrow trail mostly to ourselves. We were told it can get quite busy, and my hike mates Paulette and Charlie were early birds like me; we made for pretty decent hiking partners 🙂

 

Looking back at Vernazza as we ascend the beginning of the trail. Stunning!


 

Some highlights from our hike (above).


 

The olive tree nets (sprawled out when harvested) sure looked like hammocks to me!


 

Corniglia in sight! Fortunately it was mostly downhill from here 🙂

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A well deserved breakfast in a little village in Italy. Who could ask for more? And the coffee – every cup, everywhere, was wonderful (my usual, cappuccino). Also, I discovered Spremuta d’arancia – wonderful fresh-squeezed orange juice. That too became a ritual for me in Italy!


Lovely Corniglia

Heading down to the train (about 1/2 way there), which we took back to Levanto. I believe for those coming up, it’s about 33 flights of stairs 🙂  We’d already paid our dues on the other end!

Back in Levanto, enjoying a lovely evening by the Mediterranean Sea.

Volterra: Ancient Times and Fairy Tales

While it’s not easy – or even necessary – to choose a favorite place in Italy, I may have to put Volterra on the top of my list. Coming off of our first stop of Rome, and the city-esque crowds of tourists, Volterra was an incredible respite. And, an amazingly gorgeous hill town that left me teary-eyed from the overwhelming charm and history.

Volterra, historically, is a walled hill town dating back to at least the end of the 8th century BC. What’s amazing is, it’s believed to have been continuously inhabited since that time. AMAZING. This is a place where just being and sharing space with the beauty and history settled into my soul in a gentle, healing, humbling way.

Much of my pictography in this post is meant to convey Volterra in a simplistic way. The irony of simplistic is, here it is charming and beautiful, no matter where or how one ventures in this lovely classic Italy hill town.

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Panoramic view from Volterra, beautiful Tuscany

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Under the Tuscan Moon

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Early a.m. view from my room window

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Ombra della sera, “Shadow of the evening”, Etruscan museum. The statue represents a nude male, 22.6 inches tall, with very elongated body but head in normal proportions. It is estimated by archaeologists to date from the third century BC.  Quite humbling.

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Wine cellar, the wine tasting fantastic.

Roman Theatre, excavated in the 1950’s, built in the late 1st century BC.

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Volterra Cathedral

San Giusto, Volterra

Cute Italian dogs and cute Italian men 🙂

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Etruscan Arch, entry into town

One of many, many quaint streets in Volterra.

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Beautiful everything here.

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