a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

The Butterfly upon the Lavanda

Posted on the July 9th, 2013

The Butterfly upon the Sky,

That doesn’t know its Name

And hasn’t any tax to pay

And hasn’t any Home

Is just as high as you and I,

And higher, I believe,

So soar away and never sigh

And that’s the way to grieve —

Emily Dickinson


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If you’ve never been to Ninfa

Posted on the May 26th, 2013

If you’ve never been to the Garden of Ninfa, now in the month of May is one of the best times of the year to visit. About an hour south of Rome, the English style garden is set in the ruins of a medieval town.

From the Garden of Ninfa official website:

Though in ruins, Ninfa is a rare example of a complete medieval town. Abandoned for five centuries, it was described by the historian Gregorovius in the 1880s as the ‘Pompeii of the Middle Ages’. What we see today are the significant remains of a fortified town, encircled by a double girdle of walls, which reached its peak of prosperity between the 13th and 14th centuries. The urban layout is still clearly distinguishable, giving the garden a setting that appeals to the imagination. The main buildings, not all of them in good condition, are easily identified as the castle, the town hall (converted to a Caetani family house), and the churches of S. Giovanni, S. Biagio, S. Salvatore, and S. Paolo all situated along the outer walls.

Ninfa Garden, 2

The three photos posted here are from my visit to Ninfa last year at this time.

And go here for a quick video peek of Ninfa, provided from the BBC’s Italian Gardens series, hosted by Monty Don.

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Have orchids, will travel: International Orchid Exhibition

Posted on the April 24th, 2013

Orchid on display, International Orchid Exhibition, Monte Porzio Catone, Italy, photo by Rebecca Helm-Ropelato, April 21, 2003

Though these are the days of clouds and rain in Italy, on Sunday the organizers of the International Orchid Exhibition in the village of Monte Porzio Catone, near Rome, were granted lots of sunshine and fair temperatures for their annual celebration of the exotic blooms.

We dropped by for a few hours to admire the brilliantly vivid displays of exhibitors. I posted my photos of the event at Demotix.com — you can see them here.


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Springtime flowering along via Appia Antica (Rome)

Posted on the April 5th, 2012

Two images from a walk we took Sunday along a short stretch of the old Roman road, via Appia Antica.


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In Italy the wisteria is blooming

Posted on the April 18th, 2010

If it’s April, in Italy the glicine (wisteria) is blooming.  Here the flowering vine cascades down the facade of a hotel in Rome.

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Love flowers? Museums? Italy?

Posted on the January 26th, 2010

Monet, Waterlilies

If you love flowers, and Italy, and you’re so inclined, you might want to plan a trip to a small museum in a small town in Emilia-Romagna that is mounting quite a big show. From ANSA.IT (“Floral magic over centuries of art” Jan 22, 2010):

The San Domenico Museum in Forli is staging an entire show devoted to depictions of blossoms and blooms, including paintings by a host of masters from the 1500s to the early 20th century.

Work by Rembrandt, Vincent van Gogh, Caravaggio, Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Giovanni Boldini and Giuseppe De Nittis will be among those featured. ”This exhibition charts the history of still life paintings, specifically a history starring flowers,” explained curator Antonio Paolucci.

The San Domenico exhibition titled “Fiori. Natura e simbolo dal Seicento a Van Gogh” opened last Sunday and will continue through June 10th. The guiding idea for the exhibit is to feature works by great painters who occasionally chose to paint flowers, rather than the “niche artist” who specialized in floral works only, according to the ANSA.IT article.

As it happens, we’re going to be in the general area of Forli this weekend, so we may just drop by. If so, watch this space for more to come on the exhibition.

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