It was extremely hard for me to walk through the Vatican Museum. Glorious art surrounded me from all angles; ceilings, wall, floors. I kept stumbling around and running into other touring visitors. “Mi scusi” was my most common phrase. I was glad that I was tall, so I could look over the other tourists. At times when I stopped to create a photo, I felt like I was a lone tower in the middle of a stream of wandering people.
I thought I would change my post’s focus today. It has been almost two months since our Italy trip. Time passes by so very, very fast!
This image is the main dome in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. I am looking straight up trying to create a steady image. My legs are wobbly and I am getting a little dizzy. Mary comes to my aid and places a steady hand on my back as I lean farther back. I am able to hold the camera still and push the shutter. Whew, I am glad that is over!
The first time I was in St. Peter’s was 16 years ago. We had only a little over a half hour to explore the Basilica during our tour. This time we were on our own and had as much time as we wanted. We spent almost two hours wandering in awe.
My mind is back in Florence, reminiscing on our recent trip to Italy. Standing near the main stairs leading inside the Duomo, my knees and whole body felt weak under the grandeur of the awe inspiring cathedral facade. It was difficult for me to stand still enough to create a steady image.
Being a small town country boy, I stand back and wonder. It is hard for me to comprehend what it took to create such a wonderful piece of architecture and art: the patrons, the designers, the political battles, the financial resources, the workers, the time it took to build, the people for whom it was built. I imagine and dream, then pause and enjoy the wonderful gift of what was created centuries ago.
The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Flower, commonly known as the Cathedral of Florence (Duomo di Firenze), was constructed during the height of the Renaissance. The first time I saw the Duomo was on a Mediterranean cruise with a group of college and Doyletown, PA friends. I had never seen anything like it! We only had a few hours in Florence before we headed to Pisa and then back to the cruise ship. I wish we had the whole day just to explore around Florence. This time we had two and a half days to see the sights. It still wasn’t enough. I am already looking forward to our next trip to Tuscany.
Venice pulls my mind back in time. These buildings were built many centuries ago, some 15 centuries ago. The rising level of the canals and the disintegrating brick tell a historic tale. The ground (now sea-level) floors were originally warehouses and shops. Most are now vacated basements flooded by water. Byzantium influence in the tenth and eleventh century is seen in the “Moorish-style” windows in the orange building on the right. Clothes are still dried hanging out in the warm Venetian air. There is a hint of modern times if you look close at the top of the image and see a small satellite dish.
In our free time, we were on constant alert for unpopulated alleys. They were few and far between, even in the back street areas away from the main tourist sites. Tourists seemed to be everywhere. We make it difficult for the hometown Venetians to live a private life. During our next trip (there will be one), I hope to spend our time searching for little out of the way places to courteously explore, eat, and enjoy the wonderful city the way a Venetian does.
It is much more enjoyable to stroll the iconic places in Venice at 6:00 AM, before the tourists wake up. Compare this view of the Grand Canal with the image in my last post that was taken mid-afternoon. Large crowds dominate Venice from about 8:30A to 10:00P. During these time periods I tried to focus my walks to the back streets.
“The Grand Canal from Rialto Bridge” Venice, Italy
Compare the heavy traffic on Venice’s Grand Canal with the quiet peacefulness of the small back canal in my previous post. I much prefer the intimacy of the “off the beaten track” places over the grandeur of the iconic scenes. To get this image, I had to wiggle my way through a crowd to a spot on the Rialto Bridge. On my previous post, I just had to wait a minute or two for a gondola to pass.
It is quite a change in perspective from the rural Palouse countryside in Washington State (in my previous post) to 13th century buildings in Venice, Italy. The concept of history is so very different between the two.
We just returned from a trip to Venice, Florence, and Rome. My mind is whirling trying to put the Roman Empire, Middle Ages, and Renaissance time and cultural evolution in perspective. The trip is a catalyst for me to set aside time to study and refresh my knowledge of history.
The above image caught my attention from several unrelated view points: the soft pastel colors, the water and bridge without any boat or people traffic, the bridge connecting the two buildings (what were their relationships?), the mystery of what is around the corner.
“Wheels, Wheels, and More Wheels” Damien Barn, Unionville, WA
The line of wheels seem to go on forever. What is the history behind each one? How many years ago were they in use? What type of vehicle were they used on, and what were they used for? Were they part of an implement or a mechanism of transport? So many questions I have? It would a wonderful experience to walk along the fence with an “old timer” and hear him talk about where the wheels came from.