Tag Archives: Italian art

Trees and memories…

On the kitchen table today while in lockdown… cypress cuttings from the backyard in a vase I brought back from beautiful Orvieto many years ago. (And its potter’s mark.)

I don’t know if it’s just me or if anyone else names trees in their backyard but we call this cypress, ‘Annibale’, after Nonno Anni and it’s special to me because Mum gave it to us in a tiny pot to remember him when he died and not so long after, we lost her too, so this tree feels doubly special.

(Evergreen is a symbol of immortality and in ancient times the custom was to place fresh boughs to salute the departed and console the bereaved, such a lovely tradition, especially in winter when there were no flowers and the green lay stark against the snow.)

Fifteen years on, the cypress tree, ‘Annibale’ continues to thrive, is quite tall and burly (a bit like Nonno Anni was) and home to our lovely resident possum, Tabitha and a nest of honeyeater birds. (And its fronds have a lovely fresh scent on the kitchen table!) Hope you are keeping safe and well wherever you may be, in or out of lockdown. Zoe xx


Filed under garden + vintage linens, inspiration + history, kitchen stories

Sightseeing in Assisi…

Always seems to be a little story happening in scenes from Italian towns.








(Sculpture by Norberto Proietti (1927-2009), Pellegrino di Pace – Pilgram of Peace, 2005.)




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The path toward a fresh year…

Verso FossaA new year stretches ahead and there is something thrilling and also sobering in not knowing where our paths may meander as the months unfold. Hope this year is a wonderful one for you that brings much happiness! I couldn’t go past this beautiful painting by L’Aquila artist, Juan Alfredo Parisse to begin the year. He painted it on the road below my family’s village of Fossa in the Aterno Valley of Abruzzo and it is called, Verso Fossa.


Filed under art + photographs, inspiration + history, italy

19th century Italy in regional Australia…

20151104_121733Recently, while in Victoria I visited the Bendigo Art Gallery and it was wonderful to see their collection of 19th century Australian art (inspiration for the next book!)

It seems Italy is never too far away however as I couldn’t help noticing this circa 1879 painting of women carrying their copper conche to collect water, such a common sight in Abruzzo especially.

Titled, ‘Peasant Water Carriers’, it was painted by Pietro Barucci {1845-1917} who was mainly known for his paintings of landscapes in the rural areas surrounding Rome.


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il Corno in Caserta…

il corno in Caserta…this 13-metre high sculpture of the ancient amulet,
il Corno (to protect against the evil eye)
appeared in the middle of one night to gain attention regarding
the deterioration of the world heritage listed Palazzo Reale in Caserta,
and has since been creating some heated debate.


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The beauty of walking in Italy…

…a fleeting glimpse down a narrow, side alley often reveals the unexpected and the beautiful. 

{Taken in Orvieto, Umbria.}

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Rogues, gargoyles and gallery….

Gargoyles, in their myriad forms include being carved to represent local heretics, controversialists, rogues, or personal enemies of the architect or building owner, particularly for ecclesiastical structures during the Middle Ages.

Photographer, Giuseppe Leone ~ known for his photography that ‘narrates’ life in Sicily, its traditions, monuments, landscapes and in particular, its people ~ has created a series that strives to match the faces of locals with gargoyles on nearby buildings.

Related article: the Italian wedding…

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Fossa Sole, fossa soul, Fossa in the sun…

This painting of Fossa in the Abruzzo is by artist Juan Alfredo Parisse, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and whose parents are from L’Aquila, Italy.

Parisse paints watercolours en plein air to capture the people, the towns and rural villages of the Abruzzo.


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Life in the Abruzzo in 1913…

Maria with cooking pots”, painted by Estella Canziani in Mascione, Abruzzi, 1913. Part of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery collection and printed in Canziani’s book, Through the Apennines and the Lands of Abruzzi.

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Dancing in the snow…

This picture of young priests
dancing in the snow
was taken at a seminary in le Marche
in the early 1960s by Italian photographer,
Mario Giacomelli (1925-2000).

Initially they reminded me a little
of whirling dervishes but it is not any
type of ritual, merely an innocent time of
relaxation. The seminarians were
playing ‘ring a ring o’ roses’,
unaware of being captured by
Giacomelli’s lens as he hid up in a roof.

Later, he gave them cigars,
which the young priests enjoyed
but the rector wasn’t too pleased.


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Michetti’s Abruzzese shepherdess…

Francesco Paolo Michetti - Shepherdess Carrying a Bunch of GrapesBorn in 1851 in Tocco da Casauria of Pescara province, Francesco Paolo Michetti was an Abruzzese artist who aspired to paint ‘real life’ capturing people, animals, and local events. The Abruzzo was his inspiration and in 1883 he purchased a convent there as his home and studio. For the next 20 years, the convent was a meeting place for Abruzzo’s artists including writer Gabriele D’Annunzio. Time moves slowly in the Abruzzo and fortunately some landscapes such as in this painting remain.

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