SAN GIMIGNANO

After a great week in Cinque Terre we wound our way up over the mountains and on to Lucca to do some painting, then it was off to San Gimignano for the rest of the workshop. We painted in the the old town and also in the hill town of Volterra. We also managed a day trip to Florence to see the city and the Uffizi Gallery.  dsc00172 We had good weather most of the time in San Gimignano, which was great for painting. The couple of wet days made the town look amazing with reflections, umbrellas and spectacular skies.

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dsc00179The proprietor of the “Best Gelato shop in the world” describes, with passion, the  greatness of his product to a barrage of cameras

dsc00175Savage market guard dog.

316Ai Weiwei’s Exhibition in Florence

317Street Juggler – Florence

318_1Piaggio’s resting – Florence

319Man talks to dog – Florence

dsc00219Countryside around Volterra

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dsc00244 Clouds Gathering – Volterra

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The last day of the workshop we were treated to a typical Tuscan feast – plenty of Beer, Wine and Food and lots of stories of the adventures from the past two weeks.

© John Lovett 2016

Certificates were presented…

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…and, of course, selfies taken to remember what was a great workshop.

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CINQUE TERRE

A week in Cinque Terre is a great introduction to an Italian workshop. Great food and wine, beautiful scenery and friendly people. We spent our days moving between the villages painting and sketching. Villa Adriana, where we stayed for the week, provided excellent meals – although Antipasto, Pasta, Main and Dessert were more than most of us could handle!

308Wine Delevery – Manarola

309Manarola – buildings by the sea

310Amanda – Watching Chickens

dsc00029Painting in Riomaggiore

© John Lovett 2016

What I thought was an ideal place to paint in Riomaggiore turned out to be the only place wide enough for delivery vans to turn around, so lots of juggling easels in between washes.

ital7820 Old Town – Monterosso

© John Lovett 2016Monterosso – Small truck pees on sidewalk.

© John Lovett 2016Fishing Boats – Monterosso

ital7875Manarola – from the water

ital7996Very Italian – National Park sign advising against stilettos for the walk between Monterosso and Vernazza.

© John Lovett 2016Cliffs near Monterosso

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Blue Umbrellas – Vernazza

ital7945 Vernazza before sunrise.

ital7976Between Vernazza and Monterosso someone has set up a feeding bay and shelter for stray cats. This guy hung around behind a mesh fence for a pat and a handful of dry cat food.

306Small bridge on path between Vernazza and Monterosso

ital8002Old Town – Monterosso

TOWNS AND VILLAGES

The towns and villages of Puglia are similar in style to the villages of Northern Italy, but the earthier colored sandstone and marble is replaced by lighter, often whitewashed surfaces. The most obviously different architecture is found around the town of Alberobello in the Itria Valley.

ital7575Martina Franca – a labyrinth of pale marble and white walls.

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ital7601Autobianchi

ital7579Main Square – Martina Franca

ital7558Dry stone walled and conical roofed Trulli buildings of the Itria Valley

ital7420Immaculate old Fiat.

ital7404Trulli houses, Alberobello.

ital7386Well worn stairs – Alberobello

ital7542Rain in Lecce

ital7545Lecce Piazza

ital7759Cruising the hills around Pisa in a Fiat 500 driven like a Ferrari – What a lot of fun.

ital7661Barga – back street bikers

ital7682Herbs and spices and a blue Vespa.

© John Lovett 2016Barga Rooftops

ital7733Retired Fiat Fire Truck

ital7738ital7813Down the mountain to Monterosso

 

 

PUGLIA, ITALY

Our workshop in Cinque Terre doesn’t start for 10 days, so we flew from Rome to Brindisi then caught a train along the east coast to Polignano where we met up with Amanda and Gordon for a week by the Adriatic.

ital6812 ital6830 I guess some people have trouble remembering which door to drive through and which door to walk through

ital6850 ital6855 ital6875 Our balcony in Polignano – Balmy breezes, local meats and vegetables, Birra Moretti and Limoncello.

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Polignano is built on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the Adriatic

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We were luck enough to coincide our visit with the Red Bull world Cliff Diving Championships. These towers are almost 30metres above the sea.

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Competitors jump from the towers, perform a series of twists and somersaults to slow their decent, then land feet first in the water at over 80 kph.

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Water entry can shatter bones and damage organs if not done correctly, so there were a lot more spectators than competitors.

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Fishing Village just out of town

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Small black snake catches a lizard

ital7335 Cave opening to the sea 100 meters inland.

 

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Polignano Cats

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TUSCANY, CINQUE TERRE, CHIANTI

A few days in a villa outside San Gimignano exploring the countryside and villages is a great prelude to a painting workshop.

Amanda and Gordon, our tour guides for the workshop, chauffeured us through the vineyards and olive groves of Tuscany, exploring the countryside to discover the best painting destinations, vineyards and restaurants.

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Early morning in the vineyards surrounding San Gimignano.

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Cinque Terre Coastline from Montorosso

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Painting in Riomaggiore

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Regular critique sessions were a lot of fun in the Hotel Courtyard.

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Dry flowers on a San Gimignano window sill.

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Washing Day – San Gimignano

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San Gimignano as the sun rises

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Old lady carries flowers to one of the Saints in San Gimignano

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Early morning mist in the valleys

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Two Cats – San Gimignano

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San Gimignano before bus loads of visitors arrive.

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A rare event – these little things run for years on a tank of fuel.

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A window in Castellina in Chianti.

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Religious ceremony in Montorosso.

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Spectacular mountains between Pisa and Cinque Terre.

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Castello Di Meleto in Chianti – our home for the second week of the workshop.

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Castello Di Meleto

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Great views of the Chianti countryside from Castello Di Meleto.

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Our one shower of rain for the entire workshop as we head to the castle cellars for a wine tasting and tour of the castle.

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Strange leftovers from the 12th century still dangle from walls in the bowels of Castello Di Meleto

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A happy man with a nice bottle of Chianti Classico from the castle vineyards.

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Fine Dining at Castello Di Meleto

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In Florence, a small yellow car the width of a refrigerator.

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Leonardo da Vinci’s attempt to breathe under water.

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Descendants of  Michelangelo and Leonardo still decorate the walls of Florence.

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Large flocks of Vespers gather in the back streets of Florence.

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In Florence you can hold up your trousers with a Real Python for just 25 Euro

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Pigeons fight for crumbs outside the Uffizi

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Botticelli clouds drift over Florence

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Two streets meet in the small town of Greve in Chianti

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Castello Di Meleto vineyards

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Castellina in Chianti

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Castello Di Meleto’s pool disappears into the Chianti hills.

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Souvenirs – Florence

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Markets – Florence

LAKE COMO

Lake Como is a long V shaped lake set among steep, mist covered mountains in Northern Italy.

It is fringed with small villages accessed by a winding maze of roads or a busy network of ferries.

The town of Como is the main Ferry hub and has a Funicular railway to the village above.  The views from the mountains are spectacular and from the water the lake takes on a mysterious, fairytale quality with imposing villas and castles and small picturesque villages set at the bottom of steep, dramatic mountains.

 

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Como

Varenna

Varenna

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Italians love anything that goes fast. Lake Como host boat races that see speeds of 130kph. These guys came a proud third.

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Menaggio

Painting at Menaggio

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Como Funicular

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All the colored mechanical bits that pull the carriage up the hill.

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View of Como from the ascending funicular.

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VENETIAN BOATS

Boats in Venice are long, skinny and stylish. They vary slightly depending on what function they perform.

Traditional ,cool and stylish

Fast and stylish.

Fast, wooden and stylish.

Yellow Vaporetto.

Airport taxi.

Cool and wooden.

High speed transport

Service station

Italian Cool

Foreign invader

Two men in boat with a pole.

Ugly

Sewerage barge

Work barge

Happy work boat

Black vaporetto.

Goods barge

Courier Barge

Garbage Barge

New Vaporetta

Old Vaporetto

Middle aged vaporetto

Very long boat

Color coordinated delivery barge

Work Barge Figure Head.