Sunday, September 28, 2014


As you may have guessed, we are once again safely home in the Red Cardinal nest...
where the red geraniums on the deck remind us of Italy..

and the rose bushes are happily in bloom -
obviously didn't miss us at all.

Spring has arrived in our absence.

I didn't spend all my time in the Art Museums of Europe, you know:

Padua: shoes, bags, and creamy cupcakes - what's not to love?

I was also out there taking really bad photos of the Fashion Shoppes..
See the Spanish steps in the reflection?

Ah, Valentino..

Apart from the red leather jacket in Florence, it was so hot in Rome I bought a Tee shirt at Desigual:

which reminds me so well of the architecture and the streets of Italy..

Loved Desigual so much, I bought this huge scarf, because I love it,
and because I need another sewing project.
Be warned scarf, you are going to become a dress..

Of course, we were determined to keep the weight of our baggage down,

but earrings don't weight much - gold copies of ancient coins from Rome,
and blue Murano glass from Venice..

Scarves are weightless, and when I saw this near the Ponte Vecchio, I knew it would be happier living in Australia with me..

We loved eating strawberries and cream in Italy;
bought a little ceramic reminder, and this fruity length of tablecloth fabric in Florence - so cheap compared to here.  

I enjoyed visiting the Petty Guggenheim Collection in Venice so much,
I bought this yellow coffee mug as a reminder..

A couple of weeks ago I enjoyed a post on Handmade by Carolyn
about the 'Travelling Yellow Skirt Freak Show'..
a long yellow skirt which has been going around the world from one sewist to another,each one adding their own slight embellishment.
At that point in time, I had never noticed anybody wearing such a skirt -
but then came Rome:

I saw this one in the Roman Forum, standing on the Via Sacra,
and five others in two days.
Wonder if they'll turn up in Australia?

It could work with this indulgence,
found in a foreign airport duty free, a long way from home...

Have a great week


Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Our days in Rome were filled with fascination,
fuelled by good coffee... 

At Piazza Navona we enjoyed the Fountain of the Four Rivers (1651) by Bernini.

The shape of the Piazza is the clue to its origins.
It was the site of the Stadium of Domitian, 1st century AD, a place where ancient Romans came to watch games, competitions in athletics and even Latin poetry.  It was abandoned in the 4th century, used for building materials, and the cavea (seating section) built over, but retaining the shape of the arena.

Nearby, we found an archeological site. 
In 1936, during demolition of some houses by the stadium, it became possible to uncover a portion of the cavea,  which has been retained as a museum.  Many sculpture fragments have been found and are displayed, now joined by relics found in other basements around the Piazza.

Model of the stadium as it would have been in Domitian's day..

I am normally extremely careful not to touch any displayed work,
but here it seemed OK to put my hand on the ancient wall -
and feel a link to the past..

Yes, we are Australians, but we are of European origin, our forebears coming here in the 19th century.
Now we walked in the steps of our classical ancestors...

Don't think we didn't have an Italian horse and buggy ride...

We chose to have a private tour on our final day in Rome...

The Colosseum, aka the Flavian Amphitheatre..

nearby the Arch of Constantine..

Our excellent guide, Alessandra, is a BA (Art History), just like me!
We certainly enjoyed her company, and had a wonderful three hours at the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.

Gladiators in combat..

A model of the underfloor 'backstage' area, showing the mechanism for the 80 lifts which brought men and animals up to the arena.
300 slaves worked down there, in the dark and heat...

A section of floor has been replaced, to give an idea of how it would have been.

We walked away, on the Via Sacra:

I was enthralled to know these are the very stones on the road where ancient heros rode in Triumphal procession...

This temple is the site to which the body of Julius Caesar was brought for cremation.

And here is a rare sighting of the man who made it all possible:

Mr C, my husband and very best friend, pondering on the soul of Rome.

Arrivederci Roma!


Friday, September 19, 2014


'All roads lead to Rome'...
and so the Red Cardinals eventually found their way..
walking in the streets of the ancients...
by the (sadly neglected) Mausoleum of Augustus, arguably the greatest of the emperors,
who died exactly 2,000 years ago, on August 19, in 14AD
Loved the Ara Pacis, the Augustine Altar of Peace in its new glass temple (2006)
By the Spanish steps, we stumbled on the Keats/Shelley house museum and
sat on their terrace musing about the Grecian Urn...
Keats passed away in this little room..
Shelley contemplating Prometheus...
Of course, the Vatican Museum was a priority, and what a day of crowds and excitement, in equal measure:
Yes, they are my toes on this beautiful ancient mosaic, where thousands walk each day.
In Australia, this would be carefully preserved behind barriers...
I do love the Rococo ceilings...
and coming from a family who love maps, was in mapping heaven in this glorious Map Room, a long corridor lined with frescoes of all the regions of Italy:
Here's Venice!
On to Raphael, 'The School of Athens' pulse was quickening by now..
so famous and illustrious..
and on to the Sistine Chapel:
Google image, as no photography permitted
that unbelievable ceiling by Michelangelo..
You all know the story, how he lay on his back on the scaffolding for years and years, painting this fabulous and fantastic story of creation..
I was the last to rejoin our tour group..
and the Pieta, again Michelangelo, heart-meltingly beautiful in the Basilica of St Peters...
We became enamoured of a ristorante nearby, Canova Togalini,
a café, atelier and museum all in one..
we dine amidst original plaster models made by sculptors of the past..
and there is a workshop from the 17th century:
Rome is big, hardly surprising for a place that was the capital of the ancient world,
but we have enjoyed it immensely.
End of Part 1.
I will return....