Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Fisherman's Island

The past two weeks I've featured photos from Isola Madre, one of the three islands on Lake Maggiore in Italy.  Several months ago, I featured photos from the island, Isola Bella.  Today's post is about the last of the three islands in the group called Isola dei Pescatori or The Fisherman's Island.  This island is the only one that is inhabited all year with a current population of 25.  The stop at this island was to get lunch before heading out to Isola Bella, our third stop.  Consequently, we didn't spend a lot of time on this island which is a shame.  This island was more like a little village instead of simply the grounds for a grand villa.

We did have an opportunity to visit the small church on the island called San Vittore.  It was impressive for such a small place.  Walking into the church, the first thing you see are those silver Bishop's busts on the alter.  The photo above doesn't do them justice, they actually sparkled like freshly polished silver.

This little side chapel was equally eye catching with the glowing Madonna above the alter.

I didn't snap a photo of the place we had lunch but I did catch a photo of these aging wine bottles that were positioned on a high shelf in the restaurant.  With their yellowing and peeling labels, they made quite an interesting display.

If I were ever to return to visit the Borromean Islands again, I'd make a point of spending more time on this tiny island.  I think it would be fun to explore further.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Isola Madre Villa....Frayed at the Edges

Last week, I had photos from the garden of exotic birds on the island of Isola Madre on Lake Maggiore in Italy.  There was also a villa on the island.  The villa is a tiny bit frayed around the edges and it doesn't hold a candle to the grandeur of the villa on Isola Bella.  It took four posts to give you a peek at that villa.  However, there was still quite a lot to see and enjoy.  You can see from the above photo that the villa looks a little worn and in need of a fresh coat of paint.

This clock was on one of the outside walls and its numbers are somewhat faded but it still holds some old world charm even if it doesn't tell the correct time.

The main hall of the villa had many paintings hanging and I couldn't help worry about their safe keeping since all the windows were wide open to the outside air.

My favorite room was called the Venetian Lounge.  I loved the garden-like paintings on the walls giving it the feeling of an outdoor conservatory.

The lattice work of the painting went all the way up to the ceiling and surrounded a rather exquisite chandelier.

The bedrooms were fitting of a noble retreat.

The rooms where puppet shows were staged were some of the most interesting.  This one had the grandest stage.  16th century entertainment included intricate puppet shows and many grand households had collections of very elaborate puppets.

The room above was a bit smaller than the previous one but still large enough to entertain several people.

The one to the left looked like it might have been designed for the children of the house.

While touring the villa, I looked out of one of the many open windows and saw a preview of the private garden I mentioned in my last post.  That is the lily pond down there where all those green frogs were sunning themselves.  

The history of this place is a little obscure.  There was virtually no mention of it in my DK guide book and even Wikipedia has only two paragraphs.  I guess when it comes down to it, I don't need to know all the history.  I can just enjoy seeing it and hope you enjoyed this peek at it as well.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Birds of Isola Madre

Back in August and September of last year, I  had several posts about visiting the islands on Lake Maggiore in Italy. All of my previous posts centered on Isola Bella, the most prominent island. (That is the one with the large and elaborate villa and garden.)
Today's post is about the first island we visited, Isola Madre known specifically for its gardens.  When we arrived, we followed the path up to the gardens surrounded by gorgeous lake views and lush greenery.

But when we got to the top, we started to see some rather colorful birds roaming freely among the manicured gardens while totally ignoring the multitudes of tourists and the clicking cameras.  They seemed perfectly happy to be the center of attention.  I'm not positive of the exact breed of these birds but they appear to be in the pheasant family.

However, this fellow I recognized immediately.  There must have been 10 or 12 of these gorgeous peacocks along with a large flock of peahens as well.  They wandered from place to place occasionally posing for photos.

The colorful peacocks were also accompanied by the rather exotic white peacocks who also seemed to be well accustomed to all the attention.  This one decided to pose on top of one of the aviary buildings.

I followed the distinctive call of a rather loud peacock and found this fellow perched up in a tree.  He was difficult to see among the thick branches but his loud voice helped me zero in on him.

Our visit to this island of beautiful birds ended at a small, private garden centered around a pretty lily pond filled with both lilies and iris.  But something else was lurking in this pond.

After hearing another distinctive call, I spotted a group of green frogs sunning themselves on the lily pads while croaking loudly to each other.  They too, were quite happy to pose for a few photos.  What a totally delightful place to visit.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Times Square

Whether you are looking at it from above or at street level, there is no problem recognizing Times Square in New York.  It really is one of the most famous places in the United States.

It's an exciting place to be in New York.  You are right in the heart of the theatre district where the streets are always busy with people.

There is everything you can imagine at street level, shops, restaurants and even the M & M candy store.  People stop in there to make their own rainbow selection of these sweet treats.

Or you can just sit by a window and enjoy the electronic billboards as they let you know everything that is going on in New York.

The last time I was there, I stayed at the Marriott Marquee right on Times Square.  I loved heading to the lounge and grabbing a window seat to take it all in.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Thinking of Milan

I've been thinking about the beautiful city of Milan these last few days as they struggle with a recent outbreak of the coronavirus.  According to news reports, most of the public squares like these are almost devoid of tourists and young people just hanging out with friends.

Most of the cafes are closed so there won't be people enjoying pizzas at sidewalk cafes like I did when I was there.

According to the reports I've heard the streets look empty like the scene above.

When I was there last spring, there were people everywhere.  I even happened upon a group of young girls practicing a dance routine while a guy (out of the photo) was filming them.

Milan is a city I didn't expect to like because it was said to be more industrial than places like Rome and Florence.  However, I found it to be a wonderfully vibrant city with the old and new mixed together quite nicely.

Wherever I walked, I was always greeted with something interesting to see and admire.

Here's hoping the scientists discover ways to prevent this virus from spreading soon so all the places in the world that have been affected can get back to their normal routines and rhythms.