Monthly Archives: September 2012

THE BROKEN HOUSE

The home between the manor house and the old village bakery was a horse stable in the past. The stable itself dates back from the XV century, when it was part of an old settlement (borgo). When my husband got it ten years ago it was pretty much in poor conditions. He decided to restore it, starting from scratch. The walls were reinforced, maintaining the original mix of stones, bricks and sand, and the original fireplace, made of a creamy Vicenza’s stone, surmounted by old logs, was fixed. The house has been called “Casa Rotta”. The pun is between casa rotta (broken house) and casa rossa (red house).This nickname was given by our nephews during the restoration and that name stuck.

The shocking pink oleander is so beautiful and quite poisonous, but it gives a graceful touch to the garden.

This deer lamp I bought at a flea market characterizes our porch.

Giant sage leaves from our orchard. They are delicious when dipped into a cream made of flour and water, and then fried.

The look of a house, when viewed from the street, delivers a strong first impression to the occasional passenger. Real estate agents call it the “curb appeal”, and it’s an important factor, when selling a house. But the curb appeal is more than that. The image we all want to suggest from outside is a hint of what’s to be found inside.

The Lion, like the eagle, symbolizes dominance or dominion. Its representation is important in heraldry, and in fable is referred to as the “King of beasts”.   The Sun is its astrological equivalent, referring to the animal’s strength, its golden brown color, and the ray-like mane of the male. The lion represents both religious and stately power, and leadership. For Christians the lion is a manifestation of Christ as judge and teacher, and it’s the emblem of St. Mark. For us it’s simply a cat friend who protects our home. I found it years ago in a small botanical garden in Brescia. It probably comes from an abandoned park of a big italian Villa.

After having traveled a while around the world and having worked for more than ten years in the fashion business, as a manager for Max Mara and Pinko in Turin, I moved to Milan.  Soon I felt the need to express my imagination and my creativity in another way. Then, while restoring and furnishing our little country house, I discovered a real enthusiasm for interior design. Soon my passion turned into a never ending learning process, full of challenges and rewards. My dream is now to make it a full time act.

I love succulents! Even though they look so unattractive with their spines I have softened them by putting them in these recycled coffee and tea cups.

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LIVING WITH HISTORY

The small hilltop village in Veneto’s countryside.

It is always exciting to step inside a historic house where, for instance, a composer or a writer once lived. Think of Rubens, Rembrandt or Ravel’s home.  Perhaps you might want to create a similar, rich atmosphere in your own place. There is nothing against that, quite the contrary. It can also be quite easy if you live in old premises, as is the case here, because this house certainly has old roots going back to the early 12th century.  Documents of the time say that the property in question was a Castle which belonged to the Bishop of Vicenza. The Castle was donated in 1001 by Ottone III German Emperor to Girolamo, Bishop of Vicenza. In 1130 the Castle went destroyed because of people quarrels about the Bishop’s administration. The ruins later turned into material for the construction of houses and stone walls to the benefit of various families. In 1378 Hungarians invaded and burned almost entirely the existing settlement. From 1400 to 1564 cadastral esteems have been lost. No more traces are available until 1649.  Here we come to know that on the Castle ground there was a manor house with porch, oven and stables for horses and sheep. In 1895 my husband’s relatives bought the property.

The old Map of the country (Tav. 1) – 22 March 1676

The Property (Tav.2) – 22 March 1676

The Map of the County in 1809

 The way we were

My husband’s ancestors

The castle in 1000 was very much similar to this fortified mast

Under the Sophora you can clearly see what actually remains of the old Castle’s walls

The wall

Aerial View – September 2012

” Entrance to the Restaurant” – Van Gogh (Paris, July 1887)

The Entrance to the House  (Veneto – August 2012)

Chamomile flowers

Palm seeds

FROM SUNSET TO BLUE HOUR

Dusk is my favorite time of day, especially in summer. As if by magic everything is tinged with red and gold. Sunsets have inspired poets, writers and painters for centuries. A soft pink, a gentle orange or a swathe of fiery red can radically change both the sky and the landscape below it. For an artist, this change of light can lend an emotional or symbolic context to the canvas. It takes a highly skilled painter, however, to capture the true essence of the setting sun. Looking at this picture taken some time ago reminds me of one of my most admired English painters,  J.M.W. Turner. He is known as “the painter of light” because of the brilliant colors of his landscapes and seascapes. A particular climate effect of the time may have made his sunsets even more impressive. The work of Turner had a profound impact on the group that later became known as the “Impressionists”.  The major works by Turner often eclipse the vast number of outdoor studies and “Colour Beginnings” that he produced late in his career; these works were a real eye opener for me. An artist can be considered a visionary if he is ten or twenty years ahead of his contemporaries. Many people would regard Turner as being about 200 years ahead of his time. Here below are two of Turner’s studies which has inspired me to take this photo.

“Sunset”

“The Fighting Temeraire”

The blue hour comes from the French expression L’heure bleue, which refers to that period of twilight before dawn where there is neither full daylight nor complete darkness. The time is considered special because of the quality of light at this time of day. Above all, artists are inspired by changes in light. Following the example of Turner, the French impressionists violated the rules of academic  painting. They found that “en plein air”, in close touch with nature, they could capture  the momentary and transient effects of sunlight, weather and movement. They were able to transfer a spontaneous effect to their paintings and the result was excellent. Arriving in Paris in 1886, the Dutch painter Van Gogh quickly adapted to Impressionist techniques and color to express his acutely felt emotions. He transformed Impressionism into curving, vibrant lines of color, exaggerated even beyond Impressionist brilliance. Van Gogh’s work formed a basis for several contemporary trends and for early 20th-century modernism. Thinking of the “blue hour” here below you can see two of his most remarkable paintings. Van Gogh remains one of my most beloved artist.

“The Cafe Terrace”

“Starry Night”