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.
Japanese Anemone. It’s now the last few days of October and it’s just now beginning to bloom. Usually this flower blossoms at the end of August through mid-September, and I am stumped as to what caused it to be so tardy. The only reason that I can think of is perhaps our summer was just too brutally hot for it to start producing its buds on schedule. Other than that, your guess is as good as mine.
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.
In September 2004, I joined The Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America on an four day tour of the Berkshires’ aging “cottages” of the Gilded Age. Bunny Williams, as a member of the board, was gracious enough to host all of us at her home and gardens in Connecticut. Unfortunately, the photos I took are all outdoor shots. I don’t remember why. Maybe I thought it would be rude to photograph the interiors. Maybe we were told not to. I just don’t remember. I won’t be posting all of these photos today. Instead they will be used at different times in the future to illustrate a point.
(above) Note how the building’s color allows it to blend in with its environment. When it came to choosing colors for my garage, my architect gave me two suggestions. The first one being to paint it the same color as the wood boards of my house (cream), or as the second choice, allow the building to blend in with its natural surroundings (too nice of a description for my unsightly backyard). I chose the latter. Now, after going through all these old photos, I realize that Bunny chose the same color concept for her outbuildings. A lucky and happy coincidence for me.
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.