Monday, June 29, 2015

Rome cafe with naked bodies

       Rome café with
Naked Bodies.....

While shadowing painter Kelly Medford on a painting adventure in Rome in December we decided we needed a café to warm up.   Kelly suggested one just a few streets away.
The crowds of Christmas shoppers had not clogged the streets yet so we arrived at the bar in no time and before it was crowded.

Caffè Canova Tadolini
 Via del Babuino 150A

       Before I could even ogle the pastry I was taken aback by the statures and pieces of sculpture.  They were EVERYWHERE, on the walls, as free standing statures on the floor, suspended from the ceilings.

The other patrons did not seem to notice!  But I suppose they had visited the café before.
Kelly and I ordered beverages and a dolce.  

My warm pear tart was superb.  Kelly was more modest and had something that did not call out to me.   Of course the cappuccino was good and had it’s own signature froth design. And the flat ware was gold!

The bar area was small so we drank quickly to give room to the next wave of patrons….   I may never come to appreciate drinking coffee quickly.  I enjoy sitting and sipping for 15 min or more, but that is not the WAY in Italia.  The warm and dark interior was a perfect backdrop for row upon row of sculpture and carvings.

Sculptor Antonio Canova's workshop, in what was the artists' quarter of the Tridente back in the 19th century, is now a popular place for a cocktail and a bite to eat.   " the magnificent sculptures have remained, allowing you to enjoy your drink and admire the artwork at the same time"

 Sculptor Antonio Canova's workshop, in what was the artists' quarter of the Tridente back in the 19th century, is now a popular place for a cocktail and a bite to eat.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Italy: Small Towns, Amazing finds Orvieto

Orvieto, Italy
Photo from Wikipedia web site
The Cathedral of Orvieto is a large 14th-century Roman Catholic cathedral situated in the town of Orvieto in Umbria, central Italy (Wikapedia)

Located between Florence and Rome on a train route qualified Orvietto as a town I would be able to visit.    Riding either the small orange bus or taking the funicular from the train station, you are quickly in the heart of Orvietto.  

The Duomo or cathedral has much to see but the day I visited there was a wedding so non guests were restricted to where we could wander in the church.   

No matter, I was fascinated by the exterior carvings.  Some of the history of the reliefs can be found here.


The carvings on the freeze running across the front of the cathedral is so detailed you could spend hours looking from face to face.   This was one day a guided tour would have been most helpful to explain the origin of the subject matter.   The lower portion of the carvings is covered by plexiglass in what I expect is an attempt to stop visitors from touching or tracing the faces of the 'souls on their way to hell'

Even with a telephoto lens it was difficult to obtain clear photo but every time I return to these photos I find a  new detail or expression on one of the faces of the dammed.

On my next visit I shall ask for more information and perhaps they will lend me a ladar.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Away from the Tourists in Venice

Locals who fish each day, park thier small boats near their homes

                                                                       The reflections are often best view

Taking a break 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Florence: Hotel Number 9 Be treated as Family

On my extended trips of more than 8 weeks I try to find hotel comfort every few weeks to offset apartment living or the convent hotels I frequent in Italy.   

Both of these choices are great but staying at Hotel Number 9
in Florence was a fabulous adventure.............

A quiet entrance on a street close to the central market,The Medici Chapel and the Duomo

From the moment I walked into the living room (lobby) of Hotel 9 I knew this was different
 from the other 4 Star hotels I have stayed.

I was asked to make myself comfortable while the staff checked me in.
I was offered cold water on a very hot day and this was wonderful

The property is part art gallery with wonderful paintings and sculpture throughout.   This fountain captured my attention

Soft lighting and colors add to a tranquil mood

                                 new restaurant, Le Muse, is open for breakfast and dinner
Outdoor patio for guest to sit and enjoy

The restaurant/bar was annexed recently with some innovative ideas.
I am sorry I did not stay for dinner

May be the BEST part of breakfast at Hotel 9 was a complementary chair massage!    Of course I tried this and would have signed up for a longer treatment at the spa attached to the hotel, but I had another city to visit and people to interview.

Wifi in the room was GREAT and there is a computer station in the 'living room'

When I returned to the hotel during the day, I was pleasantly greet each time

I will be sure to search for the Hotel Number 9 for my next trip to Florence, Italy

As a solo traveler I am often given the least desirable room.   Solo rooms at the Hotel 9 are not huge but the amenities were wonderful:

A bright well appointed room
One of the most comfortable beds I had on my 70 day trip!
The bath is very well appointed, even a bathrobe to use!
Fluffy towels and more than the one solo travelers are given
The mini bar is stocked and I was told to 'help myself' !
Upgraded soaps and shampoos in the bath
And best of all, the room was QUIET.....

On my next visit I plan to stay more than one night
Enjoy the spa next door
Sample the dinner menu
Relax in the outdoor patio

I look forward to returning to Hotel Number  9!

Firenze Number Nine Hotel and Spa

Firenze Number Nine 

e, Italy
+39 055 293777  

Pia Sander Pedersen, CEO:  "Number Nine opened its doors in August 2012 in a newly restored 17th century palace.  Direct access to the most exclusive gym in Florence is just one of the many privileges awaiting you at Number Nine." *

I often stay in 'better' hotels in the off season.   Since I travel on business I am always dragging a bag and carry a back pack with computer, cameras, and other equipment.
I have found it very interesting to see how I am greeted in different establishments.  An example was the hotel in Verona.   Another 4 star hotel with a bad attitude.

Never judge a client by what they are wearing.  Some of us just took a 5 hr train trip to reach your hotel.   And you NEVER know how wealthy someone is by their dress and you NEVER know their social media reach when you give good or bad service.

*From the Florence Number 9 brochure

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Naples: Art in the Subway

My first visit to the Art in the Naples Subways       was in October 2014 with Tina, a member of 

I returned this summer to visit the stations with 
some colorful art designs

Each station I visited had a particular color scheme and design.   Most had brightly lite escalators

One of my favorite stations made me feel as if I were traveling under the sea.   It is so gripping that I                                had to be sure to hold on as the steep escalator took me under the dome.

                               And in another station the floor was the art and had a movement to it.
                                               Again, be careful the art can be disorienting.

                                                   The art continued on the stairways.

  Another favorite is this crayon colored walls

Another stop was a history mural

This station makes you think:   train rails over shoes, briefcases, hats and other human paraphernalia