Thursday, August 10, 2017

VERONA 2017: The Three Basilicas

By now you know how much Astrid and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the interiors of European churches.  Verona was an absolute gold mine, perhaps more than any other city thus far, and today's post is a feel for it's three basilicas.

You may recall earlier that I've made a distinction between churches, cathedrals and basilicas, which you can freshen up on here.  The main thing about basilicas is that the Pope is the one who designates them as such.

Then you have the difference between major and minor basilicas.  There are only four major basilicas in the world, all of which are in Rome.  So the three basilicas here in this post are, naturally, all minor.

The order in which we visited the three are the same order of the red dots, left to right.

1.  The San Zeno Maggiore Basilica

This was the basilica we visited our first afternoon in Verona, after passing the Castelvecchio.
It was built between 1120 and 1138 as Northern Italy's most ornate Romanesque church.
The striped brickwork is typical of Romanesque buildings in Verona.

The nave is...heavenly!

Frescoes are everywhere.

You climb a few steps up to enter the altar area.

You climb a few steps down to the crypt below the main floor.

The inside bronze door panels at the front of the church are alone worth the visit,
depicting Biblical stories and scenes from the life of San Zeno, Verona's patron saint, 
who died in 380.

2.  The San Lorenzo Basilica

The next day, on the way to the Castelvecchio museum and bridge, 
we walked past this church and decided to see if it was open, not knowing it was a basilica.
Present since the 4th century, it was rebuilt after an earthquake in the 12th century.

It was the smallest church of all the ones we visited in Verona.
Small and cozy.

Not knowing how important it was, we only popped in and out.

While it was on the city map we used throughout our trip,
it had no number referenced as a major landmark to see.
Imagine my surprise to find out the Pope had designated it a basilica.

3.  The Sant'Anastasia Basilica

Later that afternoon, we visited the Sant'Anastasia basilica, begun in 1290.
By now we knew the outside look could be deceiving, which it definitely was.

OMG.  And so totally different from San Zeno.

Worshiping there would be a constant invitation to Look Up.

Alcoves surrounded the nave.

Pews/benches invited you to sit and just be.

The sacristy at the side of the altar was like a chapel.

So many things to see.  We were short of eyes.

But what thrilled me most were the hunchback beggars holding up the holy water stoups.

One was carved in 1495 (this one, I think?) and the other a century later.

You've heard me say this before:  these European churches are our museums,
the ones we choose to visit when we travel.
You can see why!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Watercolor Sunday and Saturday's Color: July 2017

If you're anything like me, once you get to August, staring September in the face, you truly feel like it's the end of the year!  But, July really was the proper beginning of the end, so let's go there first.

My Watercolor Sunday posts on Facebook for July 2017:

July 2 (photo manipulation):
"Yesterday I did nothing and today I'm finishing what I did yesterday." --Anonymous

"Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy.  To do nothing and have it count for something."
--Regina Brett

Happy holiday weekend, again, to all my Canadian and American family and friends.

July 9 (photo manipulation):
"The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough." 
--Rabindranath Tagore

July 16 (photo manipulation):
"Remember:  Rain doesn't need watering." --Efrat Cybulkiewicz

"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain." --Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

July 23 (photo manipulation):
"I, too, find the flower beautiful in its outward appearance.  
But a deeper beauty lies concealed within."
--Piet Mondrian, Dutch painter (1872-1944)

July 30 (photo manipulation):
"The grass is always greener on the other side until you get there 
and realize it's because of all the manure." --Paul Angone

[And what's with all the cows?????]

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

My Saturday's Color posts on Facebook for July 2017:

(finished 24 April 2017, posted on FB 1 July 2017)
For all my Canadian and American family and friends, may you see lots of "bombastic fireworks"
 over this holiday weekend (July 1 and July 4).  Find time to rest and to stay safe.
(from my 12 x 12 Mandala book)

(finished 8 April 2017, posted on FB 8 July 2017)
Something from my 6 x 6 Mini-Mandala book to remind us that summer is full-blown these days.

(finished 7 July 2017, posted on FB 15 July 2017)
You know I'm going to say it but I can't help it:  the part I love coloring the most on these Stained
 Glass designs is the black leaded lines that hold it all together.

(finished 16 July 2017, posted on FB 22 July 2017)
From a new book called Techellations, I'm discovering that THIS is the kind of coloring design
that thrills me to no end.  Hmmm.  I wonder what that says about me???

(finished 20 July 2017, posted on FB 29 July 2017)
Often after finishing a challenging, complicated design I will opt for a simple, easy-peasy design
like this from my 6 x 6 Mini-Mandala kook.  And notice how I default to my alma mater's colors,
maize and blue (Univ. of Michigan).  :)

It was another month of 5 Saturdays and Sundays, which won't happen again until December.  Does it make summer (and Christmas!) last longer, I wonder?  :)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Dutch Polder Joyride in July

If I told you I had gotten so hungry for weathervanes and asked Astrid for another joyride out in the boonies, you'd believe me, wouldn't you!  Yes, of course.

So, what happens is that Astrid first researches exactly where we might find a good route out in the polder that might serve up some vanes for us.  One never knows for sure, of course, but the likelihood is there.  Her route took us from Drimmelen to Moerdijk.

 Of course, Astrid always picks a good place for lunch...which happened to be Drimmelen.
Drimmelen happens to be a harbor town in the Biesbosch National Park, 27 km from home.
That's where we ate lunch, on the Amer river...and saw the Dutch version of "beached" boats above. 

From lunch we wandered off the main roads into the polder.
What is the polder, you ask!
The polder is the low-lying land reclaimed from the sea or river, protected by dikes.
It's usually below sea level, which is why there are windmills to pump out the water.

I love the polder.  I love how the Dutch USE it for their health and pleasure...

...and sustenance.
It's out in the polder where we always see the farm machinery.
Don't you wonder what THAT one does!

We often also see something unusual, like a windmill without its sails.
There are ca. 991 windmills left in the Netherlands right now, down from 10,000 in its heyday.
This one, I suspect, doesn't count...because it can't be registered if it doesn't work.

Right about now, between Drimmelen and Moerdijk...a distance of 26 km...
we finally began finding weathervanes, our goal for the day.
Some of them, like the fishes and ram horoscope, were clearly custom-made.
In fact, the lady of that house was out in her garden and she is the Pisces part of the duo.
How fun is that!

 We stopped for a total of 13 vanes.  
Was I happy or what!

By the time we got to Moerdijk, we passed the Moerdijkbrug war monument from 1978.
The relief is from Frits van Hall, a Dutch sculptor, who made it for the first bridge in 1936.

The relief consists "of a triumphant figure of women for the north and south of the Netherlands.
She is standing on the waves, in the waves some fish are pictured, in the sky two angels, the sun and a cloud of rain.
The whole is surrounded by the twelve weapons of the respective places..."

Last but not least, we stopped at the cloister of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
that is now apparently a primary school (still trying to find a link).
ADDENDUM:  Astrid found this link in Dutch.  
It essentially was destroyed during WWII and rebuilt in 1948.

All in the course of a Saturday's joyride...and just before it started to rain on our way home!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

VERONA 2017: The Castelvecchio Museum and Bridge

One of the beauties of Verona, Italy, is its bridges crossing the Fume Adige, the second largest river in Italy.

There are 6 main bridges, starting from left to right:
Castelvecchio, Vittoria, Garibaldi, Pietra, Nuovo and Navi.
We stood on or crossed all of them in our 4 days there.
[scan of our Verona map/guide]

Sometimes we saw them from tower vantage points.

Most of the time we viewed them from one bridge to the other.
Our favorite was the Castelvecchio (bottom-left), which this post is about...
mainly because it's part of a castle and a museum.

We first saw the castle on our way to visit the San Zeno Basilica on our first day.
This was a pass-by because it was already late afternoon.

Still passing by, while walking to the basilica, we knew we'd definitely come back...

...which we did the next day for a proper look.
The Castelvecchio (castle) is "the most important military construction
of the Scaliger dynasty that ruled the city in the Middle Ages."  (Wiki)

The Arco dei Gavi was commissioned to be built in the 1st century by the Romans.
It stands next to the castle and was used as an entrance gate to the city during the Middle Ages.

From the arch side of the castle (the right side), we had views of the bridge we'd see later.

We decided to see the museum first before ending with the bridge.
The courtyard in front of the museum was its,

and photo op!

We did a quick run-through of what the museum itself exhibits.
Think Romanesque and you've got it covered.

Out the back side of the museum was another courtyard.

Back to the front of the castle, street side, we found the entrance to the pedestrian bridge.
THIS is what we had really come to see, saving the best for last.

Talk about red brick with its upright M-shaped merlons!

And see that church (bottom-right)...that's the San Zeno Basilica we visited the day before.

Later that day, while up the Lamberti tower at the other end of the city,
 I captured the castle from afar.

And the next day, while visiting several churches, I captured the bridge again,
this time from the Ponte della Vittoria bridge to the east of it.

It was our full-circle highlight of one of Verona's most memorable landmarks.