The Fatal Charm of Italy - Florence

Florence Postcard

We are captivated by what Luigi Barzini in his book, "The Italians", calls the fatal charm of Italy. Barzini writes that the allure of Italy is that people are attracted to a certain quality in Italian life, whether they know what it is or not. He explains that we visit some places and try to re-create in our minds a life of long ago, of royal splendor, furnished palaces, knights, liveries, servants, and good cooks. We see shadows of distant characters out of novels and crusades. "Sunny Italy" is written into songs and poetry and to the average tourist the Italians seem happy, therefore we are drawn to the illusion that Italy is always sunny and happy and we want to go and relax in la dolce vita, (the good life).

"The pleasure of Italy comes from living in a world made by man, for man, on man's measurements."
(Luigi Barzini)

There are many regions in Italy, each with their own unique attractions and flavors, but the trips we want to cover in our next few posts are about Tuscany. On our first trip to Tuscany we visited Genoa and then took a train to Cinque Terre for a couple of days, and on to Pisa in the Morning and ended that day in Florence. We then traveled by car to San Gimignano and Volterra, Siena and on to Rome. On the second trip we started in Florence for a day, then spent the next day photographing Siena. The following couple of days we traveled through Monteriggioni and Colle di Val d'Elsa, Volterra. and San Gimignano, and then back to Florence.

We are going to start our photographic visit in Florence because it is the capital city of Tuscany and is often the entry point for many who will visit the region.

Amsterdam Glass

AMS-ND18 -///- Amsterdam, Netherlands

We live in an amazing city!  These are all photos we did recently using our new toy, an ND Filter.  This filter restricts the amount of light coming in through the lens allowing for longer exposures in light situations.  With the shutter open for sometimes up to 2 minutes the movement of the water is smoothed out giving it a glassy look.  Amsterdam is the perfect city for this with so much water in and around the city. Hope you enjoy.

Old and New

Bangkok Towers

There are some interesting contrasts of old and new everywhere, so we are taking a look at a few of them.... just for fun.  For instance, this is Bangkok, Thailand where the new buildings in the background are in contrast to a part of the (Temple of Dawn) Wat Arun.

The temple was present in the Ayutthaya era according to a French map of Thonburi (the capital of Siam from 1768–1782) but there were architectural additions during the Rama II-period (1809-1824) in late-period Ayutthaya style. 

Winter Blues

Vilnius Skyline

Here we are a little past the middle of the winter season (in the northern hemisphere), and its just about the time some of us get a little too anxious for spring. Combine that with a lack of sunshine and you can find yourself with a case of the "winter blues."  This winter the blues have been staved off for us by enjoying the Olympics with friends.

We love the the colors of winter and the glistening ice and snow, and are reminded that winter has been described as being the warmest season.  Picturesque blankets of snow, warm wooly mittens, wrap-around scarves, and hats with ear-flaps warm in our imaginations, if not in deed. We love cozy nights with fires burning in fireplaces and candles in window sills, and there is nothing like being under a warm comforter with a book or newspaper in hand and hot chocolate at your side.

With those descriptions in mind, we hope you will enjoy our style of "Winter Blues" and are enjoying this once every four years, winter spectacle that is happening in a relatively warm, Sochi, Russia.

The Indescribable Something

Woman In The Light

"For the last three years I motored many miles through Europe. After traveling all day, I would arrive at my destination to see a church, a cathedral, a town hall, a scrap of Roman wall or viaduct, a colosseum or an ancient theatre. It was always a piece of architecture that suddenly dissipated the obscurity of time and brought the living presence back of all ages. It is in the stones and wood that the personal record of man comes down to us. We call it atmosphere, this indescribable something that still haunts old monuments. You can read history, you can visit a hundred museums containing their handiwork, but nothing can reincarnate their spirit except to walk through rooms in which they have lived and through the scenes that were the background of their lives. It is a marvelous thing, this expression of human ideals in walls and windows."
 (John Hays Hammond, Jr., Unpublished letter, 1929)