Welcome to our galleries page: European Passages
For many Americans who's families migrated to the US at some point in the past, Europe represents an ancestral homeland. Perhaps few places more so than Italy. Little wonder we go back when we can. We can think of few places in the world that match Italy for the depth of its history, its culture and its style. Florence, Venice, Padova, Pizza, Roma, the Cinque Terre. All incredibly beautiful and unique. In this gallery, we think you will recognize the icons. Very few words are needed....
EP-001: Florence, the Ponte Vecchio
EP-003: Florence, the Arno River at night, with the Ponte Vecchio
EP-002: Perseus with the head of Medusa. One of the world's most famous bronze sculptures, by Benvenuto Cellini in the period 1545-1554. It stands in the open air, on the Loggia dei Lanzi of the Piazza della Signoria in Florence.
Venice: the city that floats?? It may seem so. Of course it does not, its structures are firmly rooted in terra firma, despite the ever present waterways that lace back and forth through the citiy's neighborhoods. It began almost two thousand years ago as a defensive strategy, when a small band of settlers made the unlikely election to locate their homes and their livelihoods on a series of low-lying sand banks near the middle of a shallow lagoon. They discovered that by sinking and securing large beams of wood in the anaerobic mud of the lagoon floor, they could create solid and enduring foundations upon which substantial constructions could be safely built.
Beyond the city itself, a series of short ferry rides away are several other "islands" including Murano, which its famous for its glass-works, and Burano, which is famous for its lace and for its colorful buildings. EP-010 and EP-011, below, were taken late in the afternoon on a winter day in February that began with an icy wind from the north and overcast skies, and ended still, calm, cold, but crystal clear. The profusion of small boats lining this particular canal emphasize just how tied to the water Burano's residents are.
The summers in central Italy, Tuscany in particular, bring day upon day of still, balmy air, hot, quiet and tranquil. The rolling landscape is dotted with villas, vineyards, and occasional ancient city-states such as San Gimignano, a settlement whose roots go back to pre-historic times. In those early times, defensive protection was essential and cities and towns were almost always atop of prominent hills. Its much harder to attack running up hill than it is down! San Gimignano is a stunningly beautiful place that dominates the lower lying land that surrounds it on all sides. The presence of multiple stone towers make the town and the place on which it is perched even more impressive.
The western Italian coast north west of Pizza is known as the Cinque Terre, or Five Lands. It is a massively rugged coast where mountains fall precipitously to the Mediterranean Sea, and down there by the water's edge, on successive headlands and bays, separated by a few miles between each, are five towns, each with its own individual style and beauty. The town of Vernazza, shown in EP-015, is colorful, atmospheric, ideallic. On an average summer's day the waters of the harbored bay are clear, warm and inviting, especially after a long, hot, hike.