a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

Fallen leaf on cobblestones

Posted on the September 18th, 2013

Rome, September 2013, photo by Rebecca Helm-Ropelato

 

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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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SPECK ‘N U (27): White Heat by Brenda Wineapple

Posted on the March 12th, 2013

Speck 'N U 20130312

Speck is paraphrasing a quote from “White Heat” (2008) by Brenda Wineapple, a literary biography about the friendship between the poet Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. The full quote is: “No man can measure what a single hour with Nature may have contributed to the moulding of his mind.” (Higginson)

Speck ‘N U is a cartoon series that I do. It is often about books. To see more Speck cartoons, click 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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Breathtaking four minutes and thirty-two seconds: Paul Bunyard

Posted on the November 30th, 2011


Click on screenshot above to watch video

“Chasing the Light,” by Paul Bunyard
“Montage of clips taken during 2010 & 2011 whilst on my projects all shot on DSLR Canon 7D & Canon 60D”

 

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Tree with pink buds

Posted on the March 5th, 2011

Cold, gray, rainy afternoon here. Nonetheless.

 

 

 


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Being a great admirer of snails

Posted on the September 10th, 2010

I came across this tiny snail on a trail in the Dolomites near Padola, Italy this summer. 

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Photographer’s ode to nature

Posted on the January 14th, 2010

From an extraordinary website of a young Texas photographer, Jason M. Hogle. Exquisite photos.  Click on photo to see more. xenogere.com


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David Gessner writes a manifesto

Posted on the April 30th, 2008

Last week, Beacon Broadside website printed an excerpt from the essay “My Green Manifesto” by David Gessner. Below I’ve excerpted from Beacon’s excerpt. If you want to read Gassner’s full essay, you can find it here.

In Manifesto, Gessner himself excerpts one of his earlier essays:

The essay came about when, after throwing a book against a wall in which the author had droned on serenely about “being the present moment” and “living in the natural woods,” I went for a walk on my unnatural beach carrying my unnatural micro-cassette recorder, into which I spoke the beginnings of an essay. When the essay was later published it began exactly the way I spoke it that day as I tramped along the beach:

I am sick of nature. Sick of trees, sick of birds, sick of the ocean.

Of course I wasn’t really sick of the natural world, just of the way some writers chose to portray it. I was sick of the hushed voice, sick of the saintliness, sick of the easy notions of the perfectibility of man, sick of the apocalyptic robes, sick of the scolding. But most of all I was sick of the certainty that seemed to ooze out of the words. Writers certain that they knew what would happen in the world and certain that they knew how to be in that world and certain that they should tell us these things. The odd thing was that, for all their certainty, the world they described didn’t sound much at all like the world I happened to live in.

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