Sunday, August 23, 2020

Italian street shrines

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Pietre Dure: the art of hard stones

Florence offers a  view into the ancient art of
Pietre Dure

Not a painting.    Stone Art

   Museo Opificio delle Pietre Dure

Via degli Alfani 78 - 50121 Firenze
Perhaps more familiar are the artistic techniques of mosaic, using small pieces of cut stone or marquetry, applying pieces of wood veneer to form patterns and pictures, but Pietre Dure is celebrated in Florence.
The museum is housed in a renovated, historic building that wraps around a central garden.   The traditional floor plan was altered exposing a 2 story gallery from the entrance of the museum.

Without the large crowds in other museums, you can enjoy your visit at your own pace.  There was no tour offered and the signage is mostly in Italian.  However,  in every room there were laminated information sheets for visitors to use as they examine the pieces in each room.   

But you may be too busy marveling at the colors and intricate designs on the tables, bowls and vases to read the descriptions supplied.     The walls are covered with stone 'paintings'.  From a distance they appear to be painted figures, animals and lush forest scenes.  But everything is created with very thin pieces of stone that fit together like a puzzle.

Some of the typical motifs used

The second floor houses the ancient machinery and tools that are used to create Pietre dure art. A  film explained the process simply and described how designs are created, patterns made and stone cut to fit exactly into each pattern.  The museums' You Tube posts gives you close up, color views 

For details on this detailed process another  You Tube  video covers  the process from selection of each stone, cutting and fitting into the intricate pattern to the final touches.

You get see the tools employed in the cases as well as stone samples.

This wooden vice holds a very thin slice of marble.   A wire saw will cut out the next design
piece that will be added to the outline

Most walls are covered with works that appear to be paintings but are ALL completed with different colored stone to create each piece.  The work is seamless with no indication that it is not one single piece of stone.

Check with the museum for open days and times.

 Museo Opificio delle Pietre Dure  Via degli Alfani 78 - 50121FFirenze   

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Museum of the Liberation of Rome

Museo storico della Liberazione, Rome  another unique experience to discover- beyond the tourist sites.

The museum recording the liberation of Rome from the Nazi occupation is housed in a non descript apartment building not far from the Basilica of St John Laterna.

Here you will find records of the Italian Resistance in 1944 during the WWII German occupation of Rome 9/11/1943 to 6/4/1944.  

Exterior of via Tasso 145, Rome  photo from web site

At this location the SS detained and tortured captured members of the Italian Resistance.  Since 1955 the former cells and offices preserve original leaflets, posters and documents that create the record of events during the occupation.    Photographs, recordings and some films from this time are on display throughout the museum.

Historical Museum of the Liberation Struggle of Rome Prisons


The staff member on duty the day I visited.  What stories he may have to share

The museum layout uses the original apartment floor plans    Your audio guide takes you through the rooms on each of the 3 floors.  Tour at your own pace there is much to read and learn in the 19 rooms.   

                      What goes through your mind if you have been captured by the Nazi's
                                                 and brought to this stark building?

The rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors during the time the SS occupied the building,  'housed over 2,000 citizens, soldiers, partisans, who were detained, interrogated and tortured'. 1    In several cells you can see the prisoners faint messages scratched on the walls.


Many of the rooms have documents, photos, posters and art work from the occupation.   Most of the descriptions and details are in Italian but often there are short notations in English.

Photos and details of detained prisoners are carefully displayed.   
Their ultimate fate is listed for many of the detainees.  These are all sad rooms.   

 Several examples of prisoners' clothing and 
  personal property are on display


                                                         Bread, Peace, Freedom

                            Black and white photo from public events and a few of mass gathering 
                                                  for Hitler or Mussolini were fascinating


Not far from the Termini train station, close to the basilica of St. John Lateran

The museum offered free admission and welcomes donations.  
Several books and publications are available for purchase.
Check with the museum on access to the research room and materials.

Consult the museum's web site to confirm days and times open.
museum web site
 Phone: +39 06 700 3866
Address:  Via Tasso 145, Rome

Sources for statistics and dates:   www.itww.museoliberazion;  Wikipedia; the Museum Narrates by Antonio Parisella