Saturday, December 23, 2017

Rome: Paint and Sketch in a Roman Park with artist Kelly Medford

Rome:  Art in the Park with Kelly Medford





Several years ago I spent 2 days following Kelly while she painted in Rome.   She was gracious to allow me to shadow her while she completed a project of painting a picture every day!  see post at  Rome Italy through the eyes of a talented American artist.








I had an opportunity to join one of Kelly's sketching tours, Sketching in Rome tours while in Rome
to do several travel reviews.  Thinking this would be novel way to experience part of Rome I joined an enthusiastic group one very hot afternoon in the Villa Borghese gardens.

Kelly gathered the group and introduced herself and had each of us do the same.  This particular group was all women, all ages and everyone very accomplished professionals!   

As I found out later they were also surprising 'artists'. 




Kelly has created a wonderful art package for each participant.   This is a compact pouch that has everything you need to sketch and paint:  paints, water brush, pencil, ink pen and book of paper.





The notebook has several types of paper suitable for sketching or water color paints.


One pad offers sketching paper, watercolor paper of different textures.


Our first mini lesson was how to close our eyes and draw
an item we had selected.   This was harder than it sounded....




Our group watching a demonstration 

Our lesson for water color painting ................






If you have visited Rome before or perhaps just need an alternative to all the wonderful monuments, museums, churches, Sketching Rome Tours is a great afternoon alternative.   

As a solo traveler you will find a sketching Rome tours solo friendly and should find a friendly, social group.  

Each year Kelly offers wonderful painting adventures in locations out of Rome.  A perfect way to experience another city/country and expand your painting skills. 

Include this in your next trip Home to Italy.  
 
 
2018 schedule from Kelly's web page:
 
Rome will be offering urban sketching workshops throughout 2018 with loads of different topics and teachers. I will be teaching capturing the light of Rome through watercolor in September. This is a great opportunity to get out and sketch the streets of Rome!
See the full program and join in
https://drive.google.com/…/10AXDyay0S6O_2jX0CJ0w94VKNd…/view

Contact Sketching Rome Tours:

info@sketchingrometours.com                                                        
FB  Sketching Rome Tours
Twitter:  @SketchRomeTours
Online reservations at:  www.sketchingrometours.com




Sunday, December 17, 2017

Opera dei Pupi: an Italian tradition you can still find in Sicily











    Hundreds of eyes followed me as I explored the Museum di Pupi  (Antonio Pasqualino International Puppet Museum) in Palermo Italy.

An army of soldiers away the next battle

In 2008 The Unesco intangible heritage list of cultural traditions in danger of extinction, included the Opera dei Pupi, Sicilian puppet theatre.  Always searching for anything in Italy not listed in a tour book, Italian puppets of Sicily were on my list of must sees on my first trip to Sicily.

 
 
There are several locations in Sicily where the ancient craft is practiced: telling well-known stories with hand made puppets.  
 


The Kind and Queen stand with their guards

The Antonio Pasqualino International Puppet Museum building at Piazzetta Antonio Pasqualino, 5, Palermo has been re-purposed to a wonderful open space where the history of puppetry from many countries is celebrated with video examples of performances and original puppets.


But the heart of this museum features Italian pupi!   And they are everywhere.    Sorted by categories, just waiting to be called on stage, are soldiers, knights, monks, working people, animals and a few creatures that could easily slip into a horror movie!     You are able to walk among the racks of figures dressed in historic clothing  and they seem to follow you with their large eyes and ready to reach out and touch you.  


As you pass by or under one of the many hanging racks the pupi sway and their wooden feet or hands make a clicking sound that may make you walk a little faster. 


There is a full sized theater in the museum where shows are performed for school children and visitors.  I had to take a look behind the scenes to understand how a few handlers could manage a full production.   The space is very small with narrow boards running behind the stage on several levels.  Try to plan a visit when there is a live show to appreciate this art of storytelling.  



 

On the main floor there are theater/puppet based items and books.  Unfortunately there was nothing in English on the history of puppets so of course I turned to the Internet.   There are a wide assortment of puppets.1

The history of Sicilian puppets is extensive.   Puppet performances in the open squares of towns and villages or near or in the local church, entertained and educated the locals.  

Sicilian puppets are string puppets that have a central rod and strings attached to a control bar.   Sicilian puppets vary in size, much larger than hand puppets.  They are handmade of wood, painted and dressed in the characters period clothing.   The swords and armor is fashioned from metal, embellished with crests and designs.   Sicilian marionettes vary in size, in “Catania they are nearly twice the size of those used in Palermo” while Naples puppets are a meter tall.3

"A major component of the Opera dei Pupi is the sword fights, jousts and battles."  "The skill of the performer is shown in the action of the puppet as well as the improvised dialogue for the repeated themes of each performance." 2   

Puppet theatres were usually family run operations.   The skills of creating puppets and performing were handed down from one generation to another.   As other entertainment venues became popular, the number of puppet theaters diminished.  The Museo Internazionale delle Marionette works to preserve the long tradition of Sicilian pupi theater.  

There are several locations in Sicily that continue the historic practice of pupi: studios that create puppets, where collectors or travelers can find a hand crafted puppet to take home.   With advanced planning you can attend a traditional puppet show that recounts one of the historic stories with the famous characters:  Goffredo, Rinaldo and Orlando or Agricane.   A knowledge of the history of Sicily would be helpful when attending a performance. 
 
For centuries stories have been shared with the audience through the skills of Italian puppeteers.    Did you watch a performance at a local festa in your town?

 
www.facebook.com/museoantonio.pasqualino, 1.  https://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Puppet, 2. Sicilian Puppet Theatre-Opera dei Pupi/Italy, 3.  Lifeinitaly.com/tourism/sicily/sicily-puppet-theatre.asp
Email: mimap@museomarionettepale 
www.museodellemarionettepalermo.it
Facebook:  Museo Internazale Delle Marionette Antonio Pasqualino
References
  https://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Puppet offers an extensive list of the different types of puppets from around the world.
Sicilian Puppet Theatre-Opera dei Pupi/Italy 
3.  http://www.historicgermany.travel/buy-products/best-value-packages













Italy Magazine shares "Rome Termini has a members lounge"

Just read on Italy Magazine that Termini in Rome now has a members lounge!

In the past 5 years this station went from a place you don't want to visit after dark to higher security, new shops, several restaurants and a food court with many options for travelers, locals or tourists.

full story click here:

Does anyone have a Italian Pass?



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Another opportunity to renovate a home in an Italian village


Ever dreamed of owning a home in a pretty Italian village? The news you've been waiting for has finally arrived.
You can now buy one for just over a dollar.
 
Ollolai, a destination in the mountain region of Barbagia on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, is selling hundreds of abandoned homes for just €1 ($1.2).
It's not the first Italian town to try the gimmick, but it seems to be the first to live up to the promise. It's also got the beauty and history needed to draw people in.
The real estate bonanza comes with a catch, though. The 200 stone-built dwellings up for grabs are in poor condition and buyers must commit to a refurbishment within three years -- which will likely cost about $25,000. 
Behind the sell-off is a plan to rejuvenate a community at risk of becoming a ghost town. In the past half century, Ollolai's population has shrunk from 2,250 to 1,300, with only a handful of babies born each year.
"We boast prehistoric origins," says Efisio Arbau, Ollolai's mayor. "My crusade is to rescue our unique traditions from falling into oblivion.
"Pride in our past is our strength. We've always been tough people and won't allow our town to die."
Read the full article here:
 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Lonely Planet tells about second entrance for the Vatican Museum

GREAT, future second entrance to the 
Vatican Museum!

A post from Lonely Planet announces plans for a second entrance for the Vatican Museum.   If you have waited in line for this amazing experience, you will appreciate the future plans for a second entrance.

Read the LP article second entrance planned for vatican museum