Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Browsing around Bussana Vecchia....

First founded in 1050AD by one of the Counts of Ventimiglia, prospering as part of the Republic of Genoa from the 13th century onwards, the development of Bussana Vecchia was halted abruptly by an earthquake on 23rd February 1887. The village was destroyed and abandoned....


The new village of Bussana was resituated at sea level two years later and the old village lay deserted and forgotten up on the top of the hill....until Clizia a potter and painter from Turin came here in 1959. He founded the International Community of Artists together with the poet Giovanni Fronte and a painter Vanni Giuffre. Moving mountains of rubble and restoration of the least damaged buildings began, and soon artists from France, UK, Germany, Holland, Italy, and Austria joined the growing community of international artists - even though there was no water, electricity, and sewage.....


Although threatened evictions and stand-offs against the Italian government followed in the sixties, studios, workshops, and galleries were established amongst the ruins and are still present today - although the community is in constant flux with artists coming and going......


The most poignant ruin is that of the magnificent church built 1404 - 1652 and dedicated to St Egidio - over the years it changed from a modest structure to a Romanic church and finally to a magnificent Baroque church with columns, frescoes, stucco, and six chapels and altars built into the walls. Gerolamo Comanedi, a young artist from Lugano, worked there his whole life creating these amazing friezes, paintings and stuccoes succeeded by his nephew.....Now it is a magnificent ruin inhabited only by a magnificent rooster and a few chickens. 


As you can see it is a very photogenic place to visit and I did manage to get there by public transport - two trains to Ventimiglia and San Remo, followed by a bus to new Bussana and then a steep uphill climb of about 40 minutes - Well worth the effort - Enjoy!!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Walking the Thames Path - Tower Bridge to Thames Barrier

The Thames Path is the only walking trail that follows a river from its source to the sea and this summer, I walked the final twelve mile section from Tower Bridge to the Thames Barrier where the path officially finishes....


It is a fascinating section which traces London's riverside history and industry through Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, Deptford, and Greenwich passing by famous London landmarks such as the Dome, Cutty Sark and Emirates cablecar, as well as churches, statues, and classic vistas across the Thames to London Docklands.


Some sights discovered along the way are much more unusual and unexpected such as the beautifully tranquil and serene Ecology Park situated on the Greenwich Peninsula....


and the delightful Surrey Docks farm which is right on the riverside with crops, gardens and allotments as well as pigs, chickens, horses, ducks and goats.....


We were hoping for a full farm breakfast here but unfortunately the cafe is closed on Mondays, but Deptford  stepped in and provided a wonderful pitstop to fuel up on a full English big, big breakfast to keep us going the rest of the way...


After this stop, we had no trouble reaching the Thames Barrier!! and another mile walk brings you to Charlton Mainline Railway Station with fast links back to London. So now I have done one third of the Thames Path (180 miles in total) - the source to Oxford and this final section - now we only need to do the middle 120 miles!!


Check the official Thames Path website for more details. Enjoy!! 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Shadow Shot Sunday 211 - Pisa


Where can you find this rather striking geometric pattern of shadows??


Well it belongs to a bench in an art corner of Pisa.....


opposite a rather delightful jazzy gigantic Keith Haring mural entitled "Life" - perhaps not the kind of art typically associated with Renaissance Italy....


More posts will depict the more typical architectural shots of Pisa, Italy, but in the meantime enjoy the other shots submitted to Shadow Shot Sunday...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer in Saorge....


Finding a great spot for a cup of tea with a view is always part of my daytrip summer sojourns up in the mountains around Nice - and this cafe in the delightful medieval village of Saorge with its antique tea-set was just perfect....


Here is the charming village of Saorge nestled in the green hills of the Roya valley, and wandering around the quiet, narrow streets, be prepared to be astonished by the resplendent architecture and setting at every twist and turn...




Saorge is a short train ride from Nice on le train des merveilles - the journey takes about 50 minutes. Enjoy!!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Escape into the Esterel....


Whenever it gets too hot and humid or too busy and crowded down on the coast of the Riviera, it becomes time to head for the hills - and one such perfect escape is into the Esterel - a National park in the Massif de l'Esterel....


The Massif de l"Esterel, with its characteristic richly red rocks, stretches West from Cannes and Mandlieu to St Raphael and Frejus - an area of volcanic rocks with porphyry giving the rocks its distinctive colour. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty, and the perfect place for a peaceful walk....


A place of tranquility and serenity....


There will probably be a lot more posts like this as tourist season heats up....

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Posing on the Croisette - Cannes


Who is this here posing on the Croisette at the Cannes Film Festival??


Who has created these rather arresting and striking creatures??


They are sculptures by "Rabarama" - the pseudonym of Italian contemporary artist Paola Epifani from Rome who was exhibiting at galeries Bartoux in Cannes during the recent Film Festival....


Her work is characterised by these large sculptures of posed figures - men, women and strange hybrid creatures whose skin is decorated and patterned with symbols, letters, designs, and hieroglyphs...


Check out the Galeries Bartoux who host very interesting contemporary exhibitions, and check out more of Epifani's work at her website www.rabarama.com . PS - Here are the more conventional posers from the Croisette amidst the glitz and glamour of the Cannes Film Festival - Enjoy!!


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pietrasanta - tiny town, big art....



Tuscany is well known for all its treasure-houses of art, but a little off the beaten track I discovered a tiny town in Tuscany with big, big art. Pietrasanta is a little place on the coast between La Spezia and Pisa with one large piazza and duomo, and a long, long tradition of art....


Currently on offer is the grand exhibition entitled "Lapidarium" by Mexican sculptor Gustavo Aceves consisting of huge installations of horses in bronze on huge slabs of local marble on display throughout the town. There are many galleries, artist studios, bronze foundries and studios where sculptors can cast their works in marble - a tradition first started here by Michelangelo...


Many artists and sculptors have moved here or have a studio here - one such being the Colombian artist Botero who reputedly likes to hang out at the bar Serendipity on the piazza, and celebrated his 80th birthday here two years ago with a grand exhibition of his work. His "warrior" still stands in one of the piazzas.....


In the small church named Misercordia are two comic murals by Botero - one of Heaven and one of Hell - the one of Hell, whereby Botero casts himself as the Devil, is particularly striking in its iconography... notice the detail of  Adolf Hitler who is burning in Hell (bottom right)...


I thoroughly enjoyed my day in Pietrasanta and will keep an eye out for forthcoming exhibitions - who indeed can resist a place which welcomes you as soon as you leave the train station with this cool "polo mint" sculpture in marble by a Japanese artist...it is definitely a place to which I would love to return soon...