LUCCA – LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

For me, Lucca was a love at first sight that grew and grew into total adoration.  Rarely has a town captured my heart so and filled it with joy.     Part of its appeal is that Lucca is small, compact and self-contained within its city walls, full of history and beauty at every turn with … Continue reading

LORETO & MARY’S SACRED HOUSE

There is a legend – that after the crusaders were expelled from Palestine in 1291, angels carried Mary’s house in Nazareth away to safety.  This was the house in which she had been visited by Angel Gabriel who revealed that she was to carry the son of God.  This was the dwelling in which she later … Continue reading

NOT ‘DOWN AT HEEL’ IN ITALY!

Neither my words nor my photographs can portray the utter “over-the-topness” of the baroque architecture of Lecce in southern Italy.   The building façades are so ornate and flowery with their statues, curlicues, gargoyles and festoons, that the style has its own name – “barocco leccese”. I was staying right down in the stiletto heel of … Continue reading

DUBROVNIK – WHITE CITY, RED ROOFS

  I looked down at the orange-red terracotta roofs of Dubrovnik from the city walls and remembered the statistic that two out of three were replacements as they had been hit by missiles in the attack on Dubrovnik in 1991 when around 2,000 shells were fired on the city. Almost three-quarters of the buildings were … Continue reading

CROATIA – COUNTRY OF CONTRAST

The contrasting faces of Croatia can come as rather a shock. On first entering Croatia I had been struck by its natural beauty, an impression which only strengthened as I travelled down its length for soon the glory of its natural parks was added to the spectacular coastline. Plitvice Park is probably the most renowned … Continue reading

FINDING BALANCE ON CRES

Looking back, I think that the island of Cres was my favourite location in Croatia. Reached and left by the Jadrolinija car ferry it sits between the Istrian peninsular and Krk island. As the latter is connected to the mainland by a bridge you can island hop to continue your journey through the country. Disembarking … Continue reading

CROATIA – FIRST IMPRESSIONS

I slipped into Croatia from the north west after leaving Padua. Entering the country this way one can descend into the heart shaped peninsula of Istria where the nearby Italian influence is still felt. My first experience in Croatia was an immersion in its natural beauty. Istria has both beautiful shorelines and a lush green … Continue reading

I AM PENSIVE IN PADUA

A question.  Can a garden be as artistic as a fresco? For what is art? If it is about expression, beauty, the effect on the beholder, some essence transmitted from a creator to a recipient, then surely both can count. This was the question I pondered in Padua. Padua is famous for the Scrovegni Chapel … Continue reading

A LETTER FROM VERONA

Beautiful beautiful little Verona! The wide Piazza Bra holding the famous 1st Century Roman Arena, where concerts and opera performances are still held in an acoustically perfect amphitheatre.  Cosy Piazza delle Erbe, from the word for herb, where markets have been held for centuries watched over by the tall Lamberti Tower and prettily painted houses … Continue reading

MAGNIFICENCE IN MANTUA

After travelling through Turin, Pavia, Cremona and now Mantua I have come to the conclusion that to follow this itinerary you have just GOT to adore frescoes. The ancient churches of these towns, and not just the Duomos, are coated with them – and not just the walls, but the ceilings, galleries, arches and columns … Continue reading