Sunday, October 31, 2010
Now isn't that wonderful? Helping the needy. Who'Da thunk?
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1 YEAR AGO: Truck Or Treat
2 YEARS AGO: Spooktacular
3 YEARS AGO: Isn’t He Comcastic?
4 YEARS AGO: Trick Or Treating With All Ten Toes
5 YEARS AGO: Happy Halloween!
Saturday, October 30, 2010
But really, did you expect anything less? She even makes armpit hair look sexy as hell.
Friday, October 29, 2010
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1 YEAR AGO: He Parks Like A Girl
2 YEARS AGO: Out Cattin’ On Halloween
3 YEARS AGO: The Bridges And A Cowboy
4 YEARS AGO: What Happens When Time Falls Into The Wrong Hands
5 YEARS AGO: Me
Thursday, October 28, 2010
The bridge is made of stone and brick and is immediately recognizable because it has two colors. Some experts have said that the bridge represents continuity of an ancient path and that it's built on the foundations of a Roman footbridge.
The locally produced guidebook I purchased said that in 1138, the monks of Agnano owned a mill here. And the interesting etymology of the town name, comes not from the nearby castle on the "poggio" (hilltop) but derives from the Latin "paucis" which developed into "Poci" and "Poce" and eventually became Pogi.
Another little interesting tidbit about the bridge...
It was extremely narrow; less than five feet, ten inches wide. Our van barely fit between its walls in order to cross it. This caused a high level of anxiety among the occupants of the van and during one crossing, the driver of the van (not Ed) managed to scrape the side of the van on the stone of the bridge.
Ultimately, we found another way out of the village.
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1 YEAR AGO: It’s Here! It’s Here!
2 YEARS AGO: U.S. Route 287
3 YEARS AGO: Room 328
4 YEARS AGO: This Could Be The Day You Have A Date With Destiny
5 YEARS AGO: Go See It
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
It's beautiful from the outside, but when you step inside, prepare to be blown away. This is the nave. And it's stunning. It's overhwhelmingly stunning; you just don't know where to look. The black and white stripes of marble create a fantastic effect. A delight for your eyes. It's impossible not to stand and stare at the stripes on the columns; some of them placed there 795 years ago. The thought that someone not only designed, but placed those pieces of colored marble, layer by layer, is kind of inconceivable. I can't even stack coins without getting bored and giving up. What I really enjoyed was touching the marble. Cool and smooth under my hand, I knew I was touching the very stone a workman almost 800 years ago also touched. Astonishing.And as your eye travels up each of the columns, your eyes will come to rest on the cathedral's dome. The hexagonal dome is topped with Bernini's gilded lantern and the coffers are painted in the trompe l'oeil style in blue with golden stars. This was done in the late 15th century.
The main altar was astounding. Well, to me, not so much the altar itself, but the artwork behind it. So much beauty. Seemingly endless ceilings...but not really, because when you get to the top of this one, there's a beautiful stained glass window.
Pipes for an organ, that I'm sure emitted the most beautiful music ever heard...And then, there is the pulpit. Made of Carrara marble and sculpted by Nicola Pisano over 700 years ago. This pulpit is considered his masterpiece.
It was difficult to get close to the pulpit because it was roped off; but the floor was there for the taking. According to Wikipedia, "The inlaid marble mosaic floor is one of the most ornate of its kind in Italy, covering the whole floor of the cathedral. This undertaking went on from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, and about forty artists made their contribution."
Look at that floor. I wanted to get down and slither on it. Each area contained so much detail. And although it's marble, I kept thinking of my brother the "tile-guy", wishing he could see not only the beautiful detail, but the vastness of it. It covers the entire space of the Cathedral. From what I read, the uncovered floor can only be seen for a period of six to ten weeks each year. I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I'm thrilled that I got to see it. This was, by far, the most beautiful Duomo I saw while in Italy. I propped my camera up on one of the (hundreds of years old) statues to take this picture of Eddie and I. It's rare that we get a picture with both of us in it. It's a little dark and I didn't have a tripod, but it'll do. One of the last things we did before leaving the church was to visit the little corner where you can light a small votive candle. This plaque hung next to the box of candles. I lit several for my family and friends. The best translation I can find, using online translation, is this:I do not know how to pray
I do not know what to say
I do not have much time...
I offer this light and
a bit of my love.
a bit of my time.
a bit of myself.
This light that shines
will be my
That will continue
as I leave this
And for a moment, I was grasped by that childlike faith and left my candles flickering as I left this beautiful place.
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1 YEAR AGO: If I Had A Horn, I’d Toot It. I Do Have A Blog Though.
2 YEARS AGO: We Are THAT Good
3 YEARS AGO: Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures
4 YEARS AGO: Alabama’s Greatest Showplace
5 YEARS AGO: Half Nekkid Thursday Virgin
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
After we drove our rental van to Pisa and parked at a suggested site, we took a short ride on a bus over to see the tower. When we got off the bus, this was my first glimpse...a teaser for sure.
As soon as we walked through that arch, we saw the Baptistry on the left, and the first thing I noticed was this part of the building. It looks like it's leaning, doesn't it? But no, that wasn't it. Does everything here lean?
But as you move closer and get on its other side, you can really see the incredibly obvious lean. The tower, or campanile, is freestanding. Its only purpose, to be a bell tower. A bell tower that began leaning immediately after the start of construction in 1173.
That's when the Leaning Tower of Pisa was born.
On the way up, I turned around and took a picture of this guy going down. He stopped at one of the landings to take a peek outside.
Look at the detail of this marble. I felt fortunate to be able to not only climb it, but to be inside, as the tower was closed to visitors for ten years while they worked on strengthening the structure. The marble walls at the base of the tower are eight feet thick!
I had a fan that I bought in the gift shop to keep me company as I continued to make my way up into the tower. I'd climb and fan myself. Climb and fan. Climb and fan. Of the seven people in our group, only five of us climbed the tower. Look at the beautiful worn marble on these steps.
Here I am, cresting the top of the tower, just a few steps left before I was at the very top.
I climbed an icon! And forever, until the day I die, I will be able to say, "Yeah - I climbed to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa."
How cool is that??
I suppose there's a reason they call the area on which the tower stands, Campo dei Miracoli...
Field of Miracles.
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1 YEAR AGO: I Need A Thing That Ain’t No Big Thing
2 YEARS AGO: Race To The Head
3 YEARS AGO: Eddie Fresh From A Nap Friday
4 YEARS AGO: Forever Yours
5 YEARS AGO: Blur
Monday, October 25, 2010
The heart of the town is the Piazza del Campo best seen in this aerial photo (which I didn't take) and was teeming with people, as you can see in this picture (which I did take)...
And the Red Cross for when that horse breaks free and tramples you...
Sunday, October 24, 2010
These names were coined because of the bronze statue of a wild boar (Cinghiale), which is the focal point of the market. The Fontana del Porcellino (Fountain of the Piglet) boar was cast by Pietro Tacca in the 17th century after an antique original, which can be found in the Uffizi Gallery.
Legend has it that if you rub the well-polished Cinghiale's snout, it will ensure a return trip to Florence. When we were there, we met a beautiful young girl who was there with her Aunt. She told us that she rubbed the snout last time she was there, just six months before, and therefore her return trip convinced her it worked! Based on that, Ed and I rubbed away!
Pizza looked more beautiful than it does at home. We didn't eat at this joint, but there were several others that we couldn't pass by. Pizza there is goooood.
Took a picture of the view from the bridge...
And on the way back to meet the group, we came across this pretty little store...
I didn't buy any gold, but I did buy a few things at the market and really the best part of walking around, for me, is the people watching. It's the best bang for your buck.