I just spent 3 weeks in Wales and Italy. Contrasting countries with a curious connection - canals. The trip was my 60th birthday present from Veryan. Sweet, huh? I’ve longed to get to Venice since I was in Italy 40 years ago. Then, at 20, Florence was cold and I spent long hours in the Uffizi keeping warm and learning about the Old Masters.
We started our holiday in N.E. Wales spending 6 days on a narrow boat barge on the canals in impossibly vivid green fields. The guys maneuvered the absurdly long 55 ft barge at 4 mph and my sister said "Stand back, I'm doing the cooking!", and produced fabulous meals: Welsh roast lamb, Welsh cheeses, meats and cakes and the best bacon I've ever eaten! A happy time messing about in boats…I’m sure I saw Ratty and Mole in the reeds. See my photos of Wales .
Then to Italy, a rich feast of visual delights, like a huge box of truffles. You nibble on each one, wanting more and knowing you just can’t take it all in. Italy album.
Art, art and more art. I loved revisiting Botticelli at the Uffizi in Florence, still sublime and sensual 500 years later, despite thousands of other sharing the moment. In Venice, we hapened upon inspiring contemporary art shows connected with the Architecture Biennale. One was Bertil Vallien’s solo show of art glasswork. Vallien worked with traditional glass artists of Murano Island, who shared their ancient techniques. The work was set in a palace on the Grand Canal and Venice reflected in the work. The pieces were so deeply moving: we left understanding how art changes one’s life.
We walked 10 hours a day savouring every second. In Florence, the massive Duomo, like a big wedding cake iced in pink, white and green marble, made me gasp. Next to the Duomo was this charming shop-owner who I thought looked snappy in his stripes!
Venice floats like a dream, quietly. The city is soft, watery light and utterly entrancing. The canals are busy, but without cars, the little streets are quiet.
Then there's Siena. A walled city with few cars. Oh, the colors! So faded and gentle: muted amber, rose, tawny mushroom colours of earth. I want to make a quilt with Siena colors. I think I'll have to do a whole blog devoted to the soft old colors of Italy.