Tag Archives: adventure

Florence, Epilogue: From the Mountains to the Sea

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Some places are just too beautiful to try to describe. When the sounds of the waves and birds mix with the glorious turquoise and blues of the water, the greens of nature spilling into the Mediterranean Sea, and you can smell the salty air, pines and fermentation of winemaking all at once — sigh. It’s just too much for words. Now add the seafood and wine of the area. The locals talking rapidly in that lyrical Italian language, hands in full swing to add impact, as if it’s needed. It’s a little slice of magic.

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We had arrived in the Cinque Terre, still full from our time in the mountains. My husband, an avid swimmer, led us right into the sea upon arrival. We literally dipped right into the Mediterranean, welcoming the warmth of the area. After a long drive from the cool mountain air, we soaked up this new and different region, both mountains and sea beloved by us both.

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It’s the curse of a painter to witness all of this beauty. To put all that we see, smell, feel and taste into our art. It is also what drives us. This desire to communicate without words. But where to begin?

Without judgment or comparison. You just start. Moving color into color and arranging images from your mind’s memory and imagination. Here is the joy of my work. You must really look at things. Art teaches us how to see, but we do this always with our personal filters.

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I cannot put into words the link between art and travel, but for me, it’s intrinsic. As an art history buff, it also follows a long lineage. Artists throughout time have been infected with the same bug I have: wanderlust.

The backdrop here is vineyards on mountainsides, spilling into the sea. Tiny towns (five, to be exact, or “cinque” in Italian) that are as colorful as they come. A minister of good taste insures this. True story: In Italy, they have ministers of good taste. Have I mentioned I love this country? It’s an artist’s paradise. And for my stay here, we hiked, swam, ate and drank all things local. The seafood caught that very day, the wine made from grapes harvested from the soil we sat upon. An adventure in delight.

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While this area is magic, be warned: It is discovered. If you don’t mind thick crowds, go. Me? I’m a bit of an introvert with a busy mind that craves space to think and breathe. The crowds have almost — almost — ruined this glorious place. I was here in October 1997, and it was a quiet, backwater place, and so delightful. The only thing that’s changed is tour buses and cruise ships full of people, and the towns, still so tiny, bulge under the pressure. If you do go, enjoy, soak it up, but you will not be alone, not even close.

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That said, I have no complaints about my visit. My artist soul is so full upon arriving home. I am itching to revisit these places in my studio. Stay tuned, and thank you — thank you so much for coming along with me and giving me an audience with which I can share my deep passions for art, art history and travel. You all rock!

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Florence, Day 15: The Tuscan Tourist

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This weekend I got to play tourist and, truth be told, I really am an educationally minded one. But Italian, unfortunately, I am not.

Today I was off to Siena, a gorgeous vineyard outside San Gimignano, then San Gimignano itself and, for dessert, Pisa. Join me on a little photo tour of Tuscany.

First to Siena. Sigh, Siena!

Oh, Siena … I could get used to you.

Lunch was here, at the Fattoria Poggio Alloro.

On the San Gimignano, the city itself. From our lunch spot we could view the famed city and its towers, but now to explore.

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The first thing I like to do is get up high and scope the view. So I claimed the tower.

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Then viewed the museum with precious works; very sweet.

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And then a quick walk about town.

Leaving San Gimignano altogether too soon … We rushed off to Pisa to watch the sunset and see if we could hold up that leaning tower.

And the sun sets on a glorious day in Tuscany. My host today was Walkabout Tours Best of Tuscany. I normally do not like tours, but with a tight schedule, this one did a fabulous job!

Grazie mille!

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