Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Rome Day One

In September, Eric and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. In honor of this milestone in our lives, we decided to celebrate it in Italy. Our week long visit took us to Rome, Florence and Venice. Our trip was filled with astonishing artwork, historical buildings, 300+ pictures to edit, a lot of wonderful food and way too much gelato!

I’ve been slowly (emphasis on slowly) editing our pictures. Thank goodness for digital cameras and photo editing software. In order to maintain some sanity with all the pictures, I’m sorting them into categories. Today I’m sharing my favorite images from our first day in Rome.

I was once told that Rome was like New York, jacked-up on espresso and with a prettier language. Surprisingly, I agree with that analogy. Enjoy this tour of our first day in Rome.

Rome Skyline

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain Statues

Trevi Fountain Small Details

Trevi Fountain Statues

Trevi Fountain-Ladies Too

In Italy, it was quite common to see small and medium size altars or shrines erected on buildings. Some were situated so you couldn’t miss them. Others were more subtle. Many, unfortunately, were covered in the grime of an ancient city. All were intriguing.

Altar or Shrine near Trevi Fountain

Of course Italy is replete with churches of all sorts. Big, small, ornate, and simple. As we walked around the city and got closer to the Tiber River, we came across a church with a rather morbid facade. A woman exiting the church told us we had to go in and see the crypt.

Curious, we went inside. The interior was a little dark. The age of the church was evident. We found our way to the stairs leading to the crypt. Down into the dimly lighted room we went. And in this room we saw chandeliers created from the vertebrae of the dead. The walls were lined with skulls. It was, quite frankly, bizarre.

A little research after returning home revealed that we had visited the Saint Mary of the Prayer and Death Church (S. Maria dell’Orazione e Morte). The church was built by a confraternity that assumed responsibility for interring abandoned corpses in Rome. The church was originally built in 1575 and rebuilt in 1733. The facade, decorated with skulls and a winged skeleton, explained the purpose of the church. Above the front door is a “klepsydra” (Greek for “water stealer”). A klepsydra is a water clock which symbolizes death.

Well that explains things! (These little off the path adventures make traveling quite fun.)

Plaque Outside S. Maria dell'Orazione e Morte

In Rome you’ll also find numerous piazzas. People gather here with their families and friends and street performers entertain. Many piazzas have fountains as well. Fountains are also great hang-outs for birds. I wonder if the sculptor of the fountain in Piazza Navona knew this.

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona Fountain

Piazza Navona at dusk

A Little Classical Music at the Piazza

Eric Enjoying Piazza Navone

The trick when you travel overseas is to take a short nap after arrival and then stay up as long as you can so your body can start adjusting to the time change. A little melatonin before going to bed helps too.

And that is where we’ll end our first day in Rome. A little jet-lagged but happy to have arrived.

In a future post: Do you like gladiators? Rome’s ruins and the Colosseum


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Espirit en France Meridionale-Spirit in Southern France

No trip for me is complete without visiting a cathedral or two. In this post you’ll find select pictures of stained glass, the inside of St. Cecile, and artifacts from the Musee des Augustins.

The first two pictures were taken inside a church in Carcassonne. The design is reminiscent of Notre Dame.

StainedGlassWindows

StainedGlassWindowsDk

This next group was taken inside the cathedral of St. Cecile in Albi. This first picture shows the ceiling of St. Cecile. The vault is nearly 100 meters long and 20 meters wide. The blue and gold painting is considered a “biblical encyclopedia” and was created by Italian painters from Bologna. These paintings have never been restored.  Below the pipes from the organ is a painting of The Last Judgment. This painting was created at the end of the 15th century.

End Times or The Last Judgement

End Times or The Last Judgement

Angel in St. Cecile's

Angel in St. Cecile's

Large Angel in St. Cecile's

Large Angel in St. Cecile's

Remember how tricky it was to learn the sign of the cross? And remember how amusing it was to watch someone not raised Catholic try to make the sign of the cross? All Catholic churches need one of these (see below)

Sign of the Cross Directions

Sign of the Cross Directions

In Toulouse, Dayle recommended we visit the Musee des Augustins. The Musee des Augustin is the former Augustine monastery which dates from the 14th and 15th centuries. It is an example of southern Gothic architecture and contains over 4,000 works of art. Cameras were not allowed inside the museum. The pictures below were taken with my iPhone.

Big Bishop

Big Bishop

The sculpture above was rather intimidating. Notice the shadow of the cross behind the big guy? That extends out of range of this picture. You’ll see him holding the base of the cross in his left hand. I think he could’ve crushed us with his right hand. No wonder people were fearful of the church.

Wall of Epigraphys

Wall of Epigraphys

An epigraph is an inscription, such as found on a statue or building or wall. The Musee des Augustin had an entire wall display of epigraphys from various religious buildings. I did not, however, find a tablet of the 10 commandments.

Epigraphy

Epigraphy

This last picture is one of my favorite pieces at the Musee des Augustin.  Our Lady of Grace was created by an anonymous French artist in 1450. This sculpture has recently undergone restoration to bring back the original colors.

Our Lady of Grasse

Our Lady of Grasse