A collection of ceilings from old Italian villas. In 2007, I joined the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art for a two-week adventure exploring the historical villas and gardens of the northern Italian Lake District. Instead of grouping my collection by each individual villa, I thought it would be more interesting to present my photos taken on this trip by ceiling, wall, and floor treatments. This first post is all about fancy ceilings.
Revisiting my past travels through my digital library has been a small respite from my current daily grind which now includes cleaning, purging, organizing, packing, moving, and dispersing my mother’s effects. Four thousand square feet and eighty years of memories need to be carefully and thoughtfully dealt with. And at times it has been overwhelming. So here’s my latest jaunt down memory lane.
Chiesa di San Remigio. This tiny ancient church is located next to the splendid gardens of Villa San Remigio (previously mentioned in a past post) on Lake Maggiore, one of the famous Northern Italian Lakes. This Romanesque oratory dates from the eleventh to twelfth centuries. Inside, the church is divided into two asymmetric naves, an unusual feature, which is probably the result of the difficulty of building on the rock of the promontory. Other interior details include a groin-vaulted ceiling and semi-capitals decorated with medieval frescoes.
I joined The Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America in September of 2007 on a two week tour of the Northern Italian Lakes, where we visited numerous villas and gardens. I could not pass up this experience knowing that a lot of these places are not usually open to tourists and that seeing all of them as an individual tourist would be next to impossible. This was the chance of a lifetime. The lakes we visited were first Lake Maggiore, then Lake Orta, third was Lake Como, fourth was Lake Lugano, and the last stop was Lake Garda.
I’m not posting this for its view and history. I want you to notice those huge snaking coils of fig ivy all of which belong to one single plant. Just one. I don’t know how many years it took to train it to its current shape. Speaking of snakes, the Visconti family owned this villa at one time, and their emblem/crest, which is carved onto the stone balustrades, shows a huge snake devouring a child. How they came up with that design is a mystery to me. Perhaps the Viscontis are responsible for training the fig ivy into its current serpent shape. But probably not.