Thursday, July 22, 2010

More Art Inspired by Tuscany and Umbria

The colors and sensations of Italy linger long after I return home and had a direct influence on the work I did for a while. I am not sure if the light and colors of Italy ever totally leave your mind's eye. I did several series of monotypes based on my trips to Tuscany and Umbria. These three monotypes are titled (from the top): Harvest Time, Landscape Lambrusco and Tuscan Hills 2.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Art inspired by Tuscany and Umbria

The colors, sensations and memories of the lovely hill towns of the wine country in Italy linger long after I returned home. Tuscany and Umbria are in my mind's eye and these are from several series I did inspired by my travels there. I will be posting several more in the next few weeks.

From the top: Tuscan Hills 1, Merlot Fields, Exuberant Landscape. All are monotypes.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Traveling Around Tuscany- A Treat with A Twist!

Driving around Tuscany was a delight. The towns were near each other, the roads were clearly marked and each town had some special character and charm to discover. Here are four more of them:

Pisa is in western Tuscany and is know throughout the world for the Leaning Tower. Of course, there is so much more there than the world renown landmark. It has many historical buildings and manages to maintain its medieval appearance. It is also known for its excellent university which was established in 1343.

Terme is a popular destination for thermal spa tourism. The link will give you information about hot springs all over Italy. The bottom picture is from Terme.

Arezzo offers many artistic elements and original characteristics to visitors. There is an Antique Furniture Exhibition the first weekend of the month. There are also splendid landscapes around the area as well as Etruscan remains and architectural and pictorial works of different periods. Second photo from bottom is a scene from Arezzo.

One of my favorites, however, was Pitigliano, a very small town in the southern part of Tuscany. The Jewish Quarter of Pitigliano was settled by Jews in the 16th century when the town became a haven for Jews escaping the enclosed ghettos of cities like Siena and Florence. Even when the Jewish Quarter was enclosed in 1622, relationships still continued between Jews and non-Jews, and it was known as the liveliest Jewish ghetto in Italy. When Jews were emancipated in the mid-19th century, the ghetto population was about 500, accounting for a third of Pitigliano's population. Many of them left for cities, though, and by WWII none were left.

The parts of the ancient Jewish Quarter open to visitors includes a small museum, the restored synagogue from 1598 which was done beautifully, ritual baths, dye works, the kosher butchering area and bread ovens. It was quite a surprise to see a synagogue in a small hill town and a kosher bakery, even though it was not working!! Second photo from the top is the restored synagogue and top photo is one of the streets in Pitigliano. It's a wonderful town to visit- all the usual elements, with a surprise twist! Actually, the kosher bakery is the central window on the left.

Next post will include some of the art I created, inspired by this trip into Tuscany, a magnificent and multi-sensory environment!! Of course, the colors and sensory experiences of Italy are in my mind's eye forever and will always be there influencing me in some way.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Visiting Siena, Italy

Siena is one of Italy's best-preserved medieval towns, located in the heart of Tuscany. Built on three hills and surrounded by well-preserved walls, Siena is filled with fine examples of Gothic architecture and has one of the world's most unique piazzas- Piazzo del Campo (shaped like a shell with scalloped edges). Siena, with its uniquely preserved medieval architecture, satisfies every art lover and many others as well. From tiny piazzas shared by you and a couple of pigeons to stately 14th and 15th century buildings, there is always something to notice and admire. Limited traffic within the city center enhances your experience and adds to the feeling of stepping back in time into a medieval world. I also enjoyed the small shops around the Piazza for shopping and still have the pottery I bought there.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany is know for its exquisite landscapes, its rich legacy and its influence on high culture. It is regarded as the birth place of the Italian Renaissance and has been home to some of the most influential people in the history of arts and science such as Petrarch, Dante, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, Amerigo Vespucci and Puccini. The region has major art museums such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti Palace in Florence and other galleries in smaller towns and villages. The area also has a great culinary tradition and is famous for many wines, including Chianti, Vino Nobile de Montepulciano and Morelino de Scansano.

Six localities have been designated as World Heritage sites: the historic center of Florence, the historic center of Siena, the square of the Cathedral of Pisa, the historic center of Pienza and the Val d'Orcia. In addition, 120 natural preserves have been protected, making Tuscany and its capital Florence a very popular tourist destination with millions of tourists coming here every year.

In the next few posts, I will tell you about the towns I visited.