Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Good Stuff

  The Good Stuff?
  It's just the moments that are so fun to reflect back on. Moments that I can't help but capture, not knowing why or when I might want to revisit for a blog post here and there.
  Random shots that, at the time, seem relevant in some way....Oh, maybe I'll do a post about textures, colors, city life...maybe flowers blooming...shrines? Sure, why not? Food...always!

  Then, as I go back through my thousands (true) of photos, I am blown away. Not by the pictures themselves (though I do have to pat myself on the back at times), but by the actual idea that I could possibly get my act together enough to follow through with all these 'ghost-posts'!
  Who am I trying to kid? I'll be lucky to get my 'Mirror Shots' and this year's 'Gnomes' on record before we hop back on a plane and leave again!
  And then the damn photos start all over....jeez. 

  So, though I had every intention to write a post today about everyday 'details', with photos arranged in groups of subject matter, I think instead I'll just throw these on out there, in the order they were taken, for the most part.
  I love every shot, and many speak for themselves. These are just random bits of any given day we spend in Italy, and I think I like this idea a whole bunch the more I sit here and poke away at my keyboard, dang it. 
  Plus, since I nailed down the rental car today for the next trip, I'm getting more and more excited, which is always the best way to get motivated and blog!

  Andiamo, i miei amici!! 


One of Mr. J's favorite art supply stores.

It's gotta be Remo, in Rome.

A favorite locally produced wine, here enjoyed
at Simone & Lorena's osteria in Panicale.

...and we are right where we should be.

Morning walk.

Dashboard wildflowers.

Johnny's dream ladder.

My dream garden fence.

Caught while Johnny was painting.

At the lake.

The morning set up.

My next Halloween costume.

A charming moment.

It's all about the gold stars.

It's all about the rust.

My head is in those clouds.

My other next Halloween costume.


A scene in Rome.

Another type of scene in Rome.

Sculpture at the lake.

A lovely herb garden.

Our walking sticks.

In a nearby borgo.

More dreams for my garden....

In a nearby church.

A scene at Lucia's.

It's all about the bees, baby.

A shrine outside of Montepulciano.

The massive wisteria in Tavernelle.
We visit it every year.

Me in love with my new camera's 'micro' setting.

Wildflowers that almost look fake.
They aren't....


...and roses....

....and some more roses.

  That's about it.
  Except for this sweetest little last picture, which was taken on our very last day, at the train station below Panicale.....

  Waiting for the train that would take us to the airport that would send us home.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Vernazzano And It's Leaning Tower

  Most folks know that my hubby, Johnny, is an artist. What many don't realize is that he is also a major history buff to the core. When it comes to history, anything and everything piques his interest.

  This makes for some fun and educational outings when we're in Italy. Johnny will go through loads of books and websites for the months leading up to our travels, finding new and interesting places to visit. Usually these places are within driving distance, so it can make for a good "day trip" adventure. It kind of blows my mind how many sites there are to see,  just in our small area.

  I'm not certain how he found out about this particular spot, The Vernazzano Leaning Tower, but I'm betting it was from one of the local interest books he picked up at the tourist info office in Panicale. 

  The tower is a bit hard to find, but with just a little effort, we figured it out. It's down this way, then go right, then up a narrow winding road...etc, etc, etc.
  The little group of houses at the top is charming, and it was easy to see the tower from the small road.

That tower really leans, man!

  We parked in the area next to the church. There wasn't a soul around, so we figured it would be ok.
  Plus, the church itself was nice....though we couldn't get inside. 

That dang Saint Lucia again, with her creepy plate of eyes!
She keeps popping up....

Here she is on an entirely different day trip.
Poor thing had her eyes gouged out before she was executed.....

  Anyway, back to the Leaning Tower.

  So, car parked, we walked around, looking for some way to get closer to the tower. Finally, I spotted a teensy-weensy sign that said 'torre' and had an arrow pointing 'this way', so we went for it.
  The path was somewhat dicey in places, but totally walkable. 

There was a small creek down below that sounded so sweet...

After going up and down a few times, we finally came to the creek.

  The path is narrow in spots, steep in other spots, and there are areas where it's really uneven. Just a warning....we had no problems, though it was damp, so it got a little slippery in a few places.
  When you come out at the flat area where the tower is, it's quite lovely. The day we visited, it was overcast and just a little drizzly, which made the mood perfect.

Pretty impressive!

  The tower is almost seventy feet tall. It's the remnant of an ancient castle that was built before 1089.
  In 1202 it fell under the power of Perugia, which then gained control of Northern Trasimeno.

Johnny wants to fix it, I think....

  The tower was further damaged by wars in the 15th century, and then a couple of centuries later, by an earthquake and the aftershocks. 
  The actual leaning was caused by water and erosion in the 18th century. The tower was then abandoned for almost 300 years. Poor thing.
  To avoid further collapse, steel reinforcement was recently added...

The wires and plates are used to help stabilize the tower.

I believe she's barely hanging in there!
I was amazed by the old ivy branches that must have been there
for decades before being cut to die off.

  The views up here are great, too. A different vista across Lago Trasimeno. I just wish it had been a clearer day. We'll have to return again, just for photos.

I thought the textures of this group of trees was pretty cool.
Looks like a cliffside, but it's all trees...

  This old rendering of what was once the town of Vernazzano is on display. The town has actually relocated to the more convenient valley below. I guess the other building on site was once part of the old village here.

At the base of the tower, another beautiful ancient structure.
I'm guessing it was an old church, seen below and to the left of the tower.

  We headed back to the car after kicking around the whole place for about thirty minutes or so. 
  This would be a nice spot to have a picnic, maybe.

The path back to the car.

  I'm not sure we would return, but it's well worth the effort to go see the tower, if you're in the mood for a walk in the woods.
  On the way back down the hill, I made Johnny stop the car so I could capture a photo of this roadside shrine....

I love a sweet shrine.

  Then I made him stop again so I could take pictures of the lupine field, red poppies and olive trees...
  A nice finish to a fun day trip.

Great color combo.

  I am looking so forward to finding more new, out of the way....and interesting places to explore the next time we head over to Umbria. There seems to be a never ending list, thankfully!