Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Young Female Cat for Adoption: MOONSHINE

Sometimes people just suck. This is one of those times. Someone abandoned this beautiful, small young female kitty, who is in heat and friendly as anything.

Though alluring and sweet, we cannot keep her since we are both allergic and our dogs look at her as an hors d'oeuvres and are seeking the correct mustard to have her with. Grey poupon perhaps?

She definitely needs a good home and plenty of love. She loves to play and will respond to any name, though I have named her Moonshine, since she has a tiny gray moon next to her nose.

Please leave a comment on this post if you would like more information on Moonshine.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Rapporto di Roma 15: Traveling Homeward

Meet Leeluu [a Boston terrier]. We made her acquaintance at Madrid Barajas Airport. Isn't she a princess? Her lady-in-waiting was returning to her castle in Miami.

Her lady would take her chew toy from her and taunt her with it. Leeluu would grab it and...

Return to the safety of her carrier, probably thinking, "I am not to be disturbed until I am in my palace!"

Look at her regal lines. Definitely royal lineage!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rapporto di Roma 14: Roman Holiday!

Our last full day in Rome dawned sunny and bright! We had decided to rent a motor scooter from Bici & Baci and it was a short walk to get there. They had Vespas just like in the movie Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Of course we had to have a bright red one! Plus they gave us a 10 Euro break on it!

I don't suggest you rent a motor scooter in Rome unless you have ridden one, or a motorcycle, in a city before. Rome is a busy city and there is traffic zooming around you and you will have your life in your hands at all times. Sean has had this experience when he was in his twenties on motorcycles and has ridden his bicycle in NYC as well. I have been a passenger on motorcycles in my *cough* ill spent youth and pretty much have lived on my bicycle as well as having ridden in NYC. More than that though, you may think you know your way around, but then the street that you plan on taking is one way the wrong way and you have to not be flustered by that. Just keep going and look for a street that goes the way you want.
Also, the Roman drivers are more aware in general than in the USA. They make eye contact before they take action and are aggressive. You can rely on them to go if you don't. He who hesitates is lost.

So we rented a bright red, brand new automatic Vespa and had a blast! People everywhere just gaped at us as if we were driving a Ferrari! I clung to Sean and he drove like a pro; we leaned into the curves and blended with the traffic! What a trip! First stop, the Murano Glass Shop to get Mom's beads. We headed to Via Veneto and wouldn't you know it, the street the shop was on was one way the wrong way!!! But we got there.
Here are photos from inside the shop. I love glass! And I love Murano glass even more! Here is the Antica Murrinia case where mom's beads came from:

Here is another case in the shop:

I you enlarge it you can see the millefiori in the picture frames and paper weights. In the photo below you can see one of the famed Murano chandeliers in red.

The wall of the shop below has vases, and trinkets.

Isn't this ceiling fixture lovely? It has gold sparkles that may not be visible, but make it quite handsome in my opinion. I would have it in my house if I could afford it.

Just because there can never be enough glass:

More vases and picture frames:

Here are the beads we bought for mom:

They really suit her and I think she liked them!
This is what I bought for myself:

It is a golden glass necklace with matching earrings, a pair of turquoise blue glass heart shaped earrings and some green and yellow millefiori cross earrings. The crosses were originally pendents, but I asked the sales clerk if she could make them into earrings and she did.
Sean saw a bowl and two perfume bottles for his collection, but refused to buy them.
We were not charged the Value Added Tax (VAT) and she gave me the cross earrings for free! What a deal!

We remounted our Vespa and were on our way! We had not yet seen the Piazza del Popolo so we zipped over there. We parked across the street and walked to the Piazza. We got quite the surprise when we entered! Another protest! Ah, this time the Communists and Socialists!

It was difficult to see the famous Piazza landmarks with all of the protest paraphernalia distributed around. At least the Fontana del Nettuno is still visible!

Well, I always say, if you can't beat them, join them! I raise my fist in solidarity, my Italian brothers!

Then it was back on the Vespa to continue our tour of the outskirts of Rome! We just had to stop for Sean to take my photo in front of this little secret basilica though.

This was truly a capper to our trip to Rome! It was breathtaking and exciting all at once! I highly recommend renting a motor scooter if you go and can handle it.
One more post to go!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rapporto di Roma 13: Colosseo

So we continued through a short cut from the San Pietro in Vincoli down to the street leading to the Colosseum. We were walking of course, because there was a bus and metro strike scheduled for the morning. And, what do we run into? A teacher's strike! You may enlarge the above photo if you would like to see any of Rome's finest a bit better.

This was an impressive strike! They had a full band on a truck and the entire procession took a half an hour to pass. Sean got swept up with the excitement and joined in taking photos with the real news people. After waiting until the entire strike had passed, I figured out that he wasn't coming back. So I went ahead to the Colosseum unconcerned that we were separated. Because you see, he and I are in the same karass, and the universe will bring us back together at some point in time. It is inevitable. We met up a short time later. While a waited I took this photo of the Arch of Constantine, 315 AD.

Reunited, we used our Roma Card to avoid a group of students and head in. The last time I visited the Colosseum was in 1967. Of course it was a bit different then, we could go a level higher and it was filled with cats. The kitties are gone now.

As we walked around, I tried to remember that this structure is nearly 2,000 years old. So what is the difference between this structure and so many in the United States that are made of brick and mortar and don't last that well? We examined the brick here closely to figure that out.

Look at all of the arches. Sean took some close ups of these. The brick work is truly impressive!

We saw a student of Art History prise a piece of mortar out from in-between the bricks and say with excitement "Concrete! Two-thousand year old concrete!"

I was thinking, yeah, so put it back bitch. If everybody picked off their own little piece this thing wouldn't be standing here! Sean's comment was that it was really mortar, not concrete.

Look closely at this small area of bricks. Here we see some that have been repointed, some that need to be repointed and a nail. The nail does not look modern, in that it is not from this century. But what century is it from? The head was almost an inch [2 cms] in diameter and looked hammered. It also seemed to be iron, rather than steel. The repointing seemed a bit more modern. Maybe within the last decade or so. But who knows?

In the last photo is a place where the brick is wearing away over time. Just think, Italians are the people that brought brick work to the USA!

As it was 1:00 PM, the bus strike was over and we caught a bus back to the Hotel Barberini. The Roma Card pays the fare. I took my nap, and Sean went out.
When he came back, he told me that he had found some beads that were perfect for my mom and I could look at them tomorrow!
The most exciting episode is yet to come!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Rapporto di Roma 12: San Pietro in Vincoli

We headed out from our hotel to see the Michelangelo Moses at the basilica San Pietro in Vincoli, or Saint Peter in Chains. I saw a group of Rome's finest and asked them if I could take their photo. Immediately the cutest of them left the group, saying that he was not Polizia. I politely urged him to join his pals again, but he declined. Here they are, Rome's finest!

Below is a street bazaar where we shopped briefly. No beads for mom here! Everything was too cheap.

Here is our destination: San Pietro in Vincoli. Who put a street lamp right in front of it? The front is not notable, since it has been reworked through history. The inside is a different matter.

This is the Michelangelo Moses, taken with my shitty camera. I got frustrated asking Sean for his shots, so you will have to suffer with the terrible lighting of my camera. Please enlarge it.

Note that Moses has horns [which I didn't notice until I returned and just read about it on Wikipedia, for shame, for shame.]. Apparently the tomb of Pope Julius II is behind the sculpture.

Above, you can see that the sculpture of Moses is seated in a huge arrangement of figures and in a temple like scenario that doesn't seem to fit into this tiny basilica. That is because it was meant to fit into St. Peter's. It was completed in 1545.

In the photo below, you can see how it is only squeezed into this tiny church and dwarfs the main altar which is to the left.

This reliquary, in front of the main altar, is said to hold the chains that held St. Peter captive in Jerusalem.

Here is a photograph of the main altar from a distance and you can see the reliquary in the foreground. Note how dark the basilica is.

Here is the ceiling fresco which was painted by Giovanni Battista Parodi, portraying The Miracle of the Chains, 1706. The fresco was quite dingy and seemed to need a cleaning.

Supposedly, the tomb of Cardinal Cinzo Aldobrandini in behind a grim reaper, but I noticed two grim reapers, one was behind some construction material and then this one, which I photographed. So, there is a 50% chance that the Cardinal is behind this one. LOL!

This is a gorgeous Byzantine mosaic of Saint Sebastian from the 7th century.

This just really cracked me up. A perfectly good solid marble holy water font, with a glass water bowl in the center. What is up with that? Was the priest to lazy to walk to the font to bless the water? So I ran over to check the other one...

Yup, same deal. Glass water bowl. I would give my dog water from a bowl like that. I mean, ditch the bowls; keep the holy water fonts!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rapporto di Roma 11: Santa Maria della Vittoria

The church of Santa Maria della Vittoria was closest to our hotel but always seemed to be closed when we walked by. So, one morning we made a point of visiting it.

Below is the main altar, which Sean had to photograph, as the light was very dim and my camera just wasn't up to it.

I took a photograph of the ceiling because I found it unique in that although the central oil painting is a typical heaven and hell scenario, it is surrounded by white marble angels that are applied and just hanging by means that are not readily apparent. I felt the effect was spectacular!

Here is a side altar which combines both marble inlays and bas reliefs. Stunning, isn't it? This church was built in the 1600's and I am sure would have swept anyone living at that time into Catholicism.

Another stunning side altar. The oil painting atop it is almost anticlimactic or superfluous. Again, why go to a museum, when the art is in the churches?

This small stained glass window illuminates how every inch of this church is decorated and stylised. Ornate, is it not?

Each altar is hung with it's own censer for burning incense. So I would say there were maybe a dozen or so in this church altogether. All of them are exquisitely beautiful like this one. All churches have them, including St. Peter's. Hmm. Someone should do a book on them!

This church is most notable for the Bernini sculpture of the Ecstasy of St. Teresa as noted in her diary. There was quite a controversy as to whether St. Teresa had experienced a true sexual climax, or just a divine passion when the angel of god visited her and thrust his golden arrow into her repeatedly. The church was not altogether happy with the statue's placement in this basilica. This is Sean's photo, again, as my camera could not get enough light to capture it.

Then a priest asked everyone to leave as the church was closing for lunch.
We continued our wanderings around Rome and found a house we would purchase, were we to move here [right!]:

Isn't it lovely? It is in a quiet neighborhood with little traffic, but near the embassies. It has it's own wrought iron fencing for security as well as lovely architectural detailing. We would be so happy here! La di da!