Monday, October 5, 2015

Umbrian Moments, Sept. 2015

  At home in California now, we will go back to normal life here….work, play, morning walks, garden puttering, visits to Mom & Dad…. The day to day stuff that brings to me the comfort of routine.

  In the back of my mind though, I will be thinking of the life that is more and more becoming the new normal, in Umbria. Two worlds that we live in, entirely separate from one another, and yet both have so much to offer. 
  I feel very fortunate.

  For the next few weeks, I will be doing my part to prepare for a show of Johnny's paintings which he did in spring in Umbria. It will be a good way to stay connected to both our worlds.

  Another way to stay connected will be doing this…writing and sharing photos here, on Live Pronto. I have so much to work with still…From the trip in spring, as well as the last couple of weeks in Umbria and Venice. 
  I look forward to slowly going back through and reliving some of these past moments.

  One of our favorite moments is when we just arrive, pick up our rental car, and make that drive through the countryside to get the first glimpses of Panicale from the valley….

The big tractors are always a bonus.

  Because we came just as the wine festival started, there were flags all around the village…this was fun to see as we found our usual parking spot.

The village colors. Three different flags for three different neighborhoods.

Rare for us to see so many folks around..
We are normally here in March, April & May..when it's pretty quiet.
Summer & fall are full of festas.

  We have to touch base with all of our favorite views..some just from the walls of town, others are favorites from places we drive to so often.

From just inside the walls.

Along one of our morning walks.

Below town, on a favorite drive.
We aren't used to seeing the hay rolls, though…or all the spent sunflower blooms.

  The biggest differences on this autumn trip include the light and the landscape. I couldn't stop taking photos of the freshly turned fields. All through the valley…the color combo of the soil and the blue, blue sky..I just loved. The soil was turned in huge chunks, adding texture to the views.

Just one of a bunch of my field shots. 

A perfectly beautiful day to visit a favorite nearby hill town,
Città della Pieve.

  When we drive around to go to the farmer's market, or the lake..or just looking for spots to settle in and paint…there are so many touchstone views that I now have taken photos of soooo many times.   Over the years, these areas haven't changed much at all, but seeing the very familiar scenes in a different season is a trip. Big change.
  We are used to the vibrant greens and yellows of early spring. In September, it's a whole different story…and just as stunning to me.

Heading down to Tavernelle for market day.

The color of the lake is different, too, as well as the fields.

  All the trees and shrubs are in leaf, so you get these distinct lines through the landscape, too. I love the new rhythm that this adds to the views...

Nearby, above Lago di Chiusi.

  We were excited to see all the olive trees in their full glory. Fingers crossed, the harvest will be a good one. Last year was a big disappointment, as the bugs got the best of the trees.
  From what we were told, it's looking ok this year.

  Speaking of harvests, another spot we love is just below town. La Saporita, where we buy apples, almonds, pears, and other wonderful produce. 
  The long driveway to the store front is always a delight, lined with cypress and umbrella pines.


  What was new for us, were the apple trees full of ready to pick apples. There aren't even leaves on the trees when we first arrive in March, but by late April or early May, they are usually in bloom.
  The espaliered trees are always beautiful, but with all the fruit…a real treat.

  There were pomegranate bushes all over the area, too. Of course! I have noticed them around as they just begin to leaf out in spring, but never really considered just how gorgeous they would be with the branches full of fruit….

  The farmers markets had the best of late summer produce going on, too….

So tasty, I ate some every day.

  Then there were the grapes. It was harvest time, and some of the vineyards had already been harvested, others were being done while we were there.
  A real joy to see the vines full of big bunches of ready to crush fruit...

  In fact, just seeing the vineyards themselves, with all the vines full of leaves, was so different. I drive to Sonoma every few weeks, so I'm used to watching those vines go through the seasons. It was such a trip to see them here, because we always see them just totally bare. The fields were green with the vines...

  So anyway, today was my first day back at work in the gallery. Lots of mail to go through, bills to pay, messages to answer…..the usual day to day stuff. I love my job. I feel lucky to be able to help our business do it's thing.

  But already my little brain is thinking about next time….

  The tickets are bought, the apartment is booked…I think it's just fine.
  A presto, Panicale. Non possiamo aspettare…..

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Grazie, T,P, & A.K.!!!!

  We always wanted to take a gondola ride through the back canals of our neighborhood…but never got it together to do so.
  Thanks…and we mean Grazie Mille to our pals Tom, Pat & Anna Kate..we did it! What a lovely and generous gift….
  Here's how it went, dear friends...


  The gondolas haven't been on the Grand Canal because it's been so windy, so we had a great cruise through the Dorsoduro area, where our apartment is. Really cool! 
  The gondola had a few moments on the Grand Canal before heading into the side canals, so we had the best of all worlds...

Despite the nasty winds, we went for it..
No gondolas on the Grand Canal, but we wanted the side canals anyway..less traffic!

Happy Johnny

Happy Janelle...

Our sweet Gondolier, Roberto.

  We had a blanket and a bottle of wine..Perfection!



Perfect time of the evening..the light so gorgeous...

The colors flying in the wind...


Some bonus time on the Grand Canal because of a traffic issue! Yeah!!



  A super nice gift from some awesomely nice friends..Thanks, Bassett Clan!! We toasted you all the way!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Venice Moments: 9/27/15

  I am really loving taking photos while we are just walking around, on our way here or there…or while we are taking a break, or having a bite to eat…just the regular moments that happen in a day, here in Venice. 
  Especially with my new camera. 
  I will keep the old one, just because I am that kind of gal. My old camera was a trooper. A real work horse. It survived so many trips across the pond, as well as just around our neck of the woods. 
  What can I say…sometimes I just sort of get attached.

  Anyway..I am still in the 'learning curve', tumbling around with my new camera. It has a fancy-pants touch screen, all sorts of doodads and what-nots…I really have no idea of it's potential yet. But I am slowly figuring it out, and having some big fun as I do so.

  Yesterday we spent a big part of the day viewing artwork at the Arsenal venue of the Biennale. I hope to continue posting some art related stuff over the next few weeks…But this post is all about nothing much…just the in-between stuff.

  We did a bunch of walking around before and after all the art….

Early in the morning, the street where the apartment is.
No one about yet, so it's nice and quiet.

   The colors of the buildings are so gorgeous, and they seem to just blend beautifully. One of my favorite combos, below, is nearby, so we pass it almost daily...

  We walked through Piazza San Marco to get over to the other side of the island where the Arsenale is. On the way, we had a bit of fun just poking around.

Johnny giving the lions some love.

The Campanile

I love the clock tower the most.

I want our bedroom ceiling painted
with this blue…and also the gold stars.

  After several hours cruising through the Arsenale section of the Biennale, we took the long..and I mean really long…way home.
  The walk included several stops for resting to paint, drink a bit of wine and munch on this and that. My kind of long walk home.

  Along the way, there were things to see and photos to take.

A sweet spot way over there somewhere...

A little break that includes wine... and work, for Mr. J, at least.

Making it work.

I love my friend the Hedgehog….

Not exactly a hedgehog, but a cool dude nonetheless…
Some street art, Venice style.

 So, of course it's beautiful…It's Venice, for god's sake. 
  Therefore, I must include some pretty shots of prettiness we came across whilst winding our very long way home yesterday evening….

Tasty reflections...

Perfect light coming on after a cloud filled day…
This is looking towards the cemetery and  Murano from the Fondamenta Nuove.

  There are always stunning canals and bridges to take shots of..


The sweet time of the day.

Another bridge, another reflection.
I will never get tired of this.

  Since we walked all day, we were thinking some canal side cicchetti might be just what we needed for an early dinner break.
  We had walked past this place the day before, and it looked promising, so we made a point to start heading into that general area again.

  I am so glad we did. I will not even name this already super popular bar, because I want to get an actual seat/table next time.
  We ended up sitting on the steps of the canal while we had our dinner…no big deal, but a table would be nice some day. They have tons of vegetarian options, so we just had the kind fellow behind the bar fix up two mixed plates that we could share.
  It was great.

Fried zucchini flowers, along with all sorts of veg goodness.

Like I said…I wouldn't mind a table next time…just a thought.
It was big fun, in all honesty.

  After chowing down in a grand way, we took the still long walk home. It took forever, but we needed to walk off that dinner. 

  What fun to just eat, drink, walk miles and miles…See good art, make good art…even play dominoes. I'd say that this has been a fine adventure so far.
  Weather permitting, we'll keep up the pace.

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