Saturday, November 11, 2017

All Around

 Tower at Vescovia   Blair Pessemier   Acrylic/linen  14 x 9.5"  35 x 24cm

 Umbrella Pines Vescovia  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/canvas  8 x 20"  20 x 50cm  

 Oranges on Blue   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/newspaper  16 x 24  40 x 60cm  
 Calabrian Oranges    Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/newspaper  16 x 24  40 x 60cm  
 Oranges on Bronze  Laurie Fox Pessemier   10 x 24" 25 x 60cm
Blue and Orange  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/paper  8 x 14  20 x 35 cm

Monte Cimone First Snow  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic/custom house paper  8 x 14  20 x 35 cm  

I have been busy as a bird dog with an American guest here these past seven days.  I forget how easy it is to speak English, and my lungs feel weak from chatter.   I haven’t written a single word all week, and find myself at Saturday with no artnotes to pick from.

Fortunately, I’ve visited a passel of cities for inspiration:  Vignola, Modena, Bologna, Florence and Orvieto.  Each city is distinct.  I would have to say Bologna is the city where I could most easily live (were it not so polluted), and Florence is the most fun to visit (it’s polluted, too).

It is amazing those two cities are just an hour apart by train or car; yet so vastly different.  Bologna is full of color, with pink, gold and orange loggia-d streets.  It was the intended home of the Catholic church before the Vatican.  At the last minute that decision was made and the half-finished cathedral gave way to the educational heart of Italy.   

Florence is all Renaissance and square, punctuated with wildly striped churches of white and green.  Florence was the “business” city, run by the Medici family.   So many buildings there make me think of banks: rusticated ground floors with iron-gated windows; smoother first stories and refined details on the third; an occasional terrace on top.   We visited Brunelleschi’s dome of the Duomo, delivering a goose-bump inducing vista both inside and outside that church. 

A friend suggested while in Florence, we eat at a restaurant owned and run by friends of hers, “by Santa Croce, you can’t miss it”.  I only had the name, FrancescanoVini, and believe it or not we found it on a side street (Borgo dei Greci, 7r/Piazze dei Perruzi), completely by accident.  I am terrible at choosing restaurants, and at the absolute stage of exasperation we walked in and it was the right place.  The charming family, including the 9-month-old bambina, made us feel utterly at home.  Hooray:  the best beef in chianti we ever ate, and my pasta with clams and cherry tomatoes was delicious.

Blair and I rarely eat “out”.  Not spending money on dining makes our bohemian lifestyle possible; plus I love to cook.   I was thankful for this very good recommendation.

We had less dining success in Orvieto, but had, in past, eaten well there, too.  Orvieto has a very lovely church built of black and white stone, and has that elegance found only in the very early Renaissance.   There is something about the restraint of the early Renaissance I like more than what was to follow – the church in Orvieto actually has a wooden roof.  I like to see Romanesque roots and vestiges of the medieval.

Today there is snow on Monte Cimone and snow is predicted to 550 meters (our altitude) for Monday.  I am happy to be back in Rocca Malatina, with its clean air and coffee with friends.  On the way up the hill to home, we passed the stand of a Calabrian selling oranges, and bought 3 kilos for 5 Euros. We will paint them, make marmalade, and enjoy the flavor of Italia.    

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