Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves

This week’s photo challenge is ‘curves’.

My first pics are taken at The Vatican. Here is an Arnaldo Pomodora sculpture which I saw in the grounds outside. It’s a sphere within a sphere, and the original was designed for the Vatican, although several others have since popped up around the world. It looks like a new world trying to burst out through cracks in the old one, don’t you think?


Another curve very close by, is the Dome of St Peter’s Basilica, the tallest dome in the world, being 136.57 metres (448.1 ft) high.


The inside of the dome is even more exquisite, and was painted by Michelangelo himself.


Another curvaceous construction in Italy, is the Colosseum in Rome, the largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire, which was opened in A.D. 80, and for many years, was the site of many bloody combats between man and beast.


I couldn’t resist adding the beautiful curve of a rainbow at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.


Last but not least is this painting of African dancers enthusiastically shaking their curves. It’s been for sale for over a year at one of the stalls along our promenade. I can’t imagine why no-one has bought it yet. Wouldn’t you like it for your entrance hall? 🙂


To see more contributions to the curvy theme, just click here.

Lovely Florence, Michelangelo’s David and an Italian bridegroom.

Continuing on with my Italian trip in October last year:

After leaving Capri, we took the ferry back to Naples, and experienced the first rain of our trip. Fortunately, we were travelling by coach for most of the day, so it didn’t matter at all. We started off on our journey to Tuscany, passing settlements of shack dwellings on the outskirts of the city. This pic was taken through a rain spattered window in the coach.

I can’t think where that old saying, “See Naples and die,” came from, as it didn’t strike me as a place I would want to spend any time in. The streets looked dirty, and the buildings in a bad state of repair. Maybe we just had to drive through the less salubrious part from the docks in order to get onto the highway. That phrase was most probably coined during the city’s “Golden Age” in the reign of the Bourbons. I believe that there is a royal palace at Caserta, which has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. It has 1,200 rooms and is one of the largest and most opulent buildings to be built in Europe during the 18th century.

Our coach was very comfortable with lots of leg room, as there were only forty seats, unlike most, which have fifty-five. The sun peeped through the clouds as we drove along the highway, with the Apennine mountain range on our right, and on our left, small towns like this one perched high up on the hillside.

When we stopped for a comfort break, our guide suddenly produced trays of fresh Santa Rosa Sfogliatelle, a delicacy of Naples, which our driver Fabio, had collected from the bakery early that morning.

These delicious baked pastries are shaped like a lobster tail, filled with yellow custard and topped with cherries. So delicious, but impossible to eat in a lady-like manner. Fortunately, serviettes were also provided to wipe our sticky paws.

We arrived in Florence, ‘Firenze’ as it is called in Italian, in the mid afternoon, and were taken to the ‘Hotel Brunelleschi’ which is a magnificently restored historical building, under the ‘Dome of Mary of the Flowers’, right in the city centre. The Paggliazza Tower which forms part of the hotel, dates back to the 6th century, and is the oldest standing structure in Florence.

Our room was lovely, but not nearly as big as the one in Capri, and despite being really grand, there was not a single drawer to put anything in, and the wardrobe had no doors on it. The marble bathroom was gorgeous, but had not a single shelf or surface to stand any bottles, so my lotions and magic potions had to be relegated to the floor.

We had a guided walk around the ‘City of the Flowers’, and as we emerged into the main street, we were amused and delighted to see this exuberant bridegroom-to-be, being transported to his wedding by his enthusiastic groomsmen.

In the Republic Square, was a grand parade of men wearing ancient soldiers’ uniforms, celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the city’s police force.

This is only a replica of Michelangelo’s David, the original having been moved to the museum, to protect it from pigeon poo and vandals.

The Italians do love their statues. and they were everywhere;  famous scientists, philosophers and astrologers, as well as this one of the Roman god Perseus, holding the severed head of Medusa, with her corpse at his feet.

The Ponte Vecchio, the oldest of Florence’s six bridges, is one of the city’s best known images and is lined with expensive Goldsmith’s shops.

Our guide told us that in this area a small one-bedroomed apartment overlooking the river, can cost in the region of 800,000 Euros.

At the entrance to the bridge, we saw a whole collection of padlocks. Legend has it that if you and your loved one attach a padlock to any surface of the famous bridge and then throw the key into the Arno River below, your love will last forever. Millions of couples have come to the Ponte Vecchio for expressly this reason, to lock in their love and throw away the key for eternity. Most of the padlocks had to be removed by the city council, as they were spoiling the bridge’s beauty. Nowadays to discourage this practice, there is a hefty fine for anyone seen doing this, so some couples just come to touch the remaining locks and make a wish that their love will last forever.

The beautiful Gothic style “Duomo” in Cathedral Square, begun in the year 1296 and only completed in 1436, is 110m high and has four hundred and sixty-five steps to the terrace at the top; no lift of course.

Florence is absolutely infested with sculptures, like this Neptune figure whose face is said to resemble Cosimo I de’ Medici. He stands on a high pedestal in the middle of an octagonal fountain, the middle of which is decorated with many more mythical figures. This was the first public fountain in Florence and is in the Piazza Della Signoria,

No photography was allowed inside the museum, so you are spared more statue pics, but we did see the original ‘David’ which weighs in at 6 tons. The story behind this masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture, is that Michelangelo stole cadavers from graveyards at night, to use as models for his statue. He looked like a perfect specimen to me, but our guide pointed out that there is an iron fault line in some of the marble, which has resulted in him having blue veins in his legs, so take heart ladies, even the magnificent David has ‘varicose veins’.  😉

Wishing you all a great weekend. Next week, I’ll take you all to see the beautiful Tuscan town of San Gimignano.

Ad visits the Pope’s place.

The second day of our Italian trip was very hot, and by the end of the day we were totally exhausted after walking for hours, up and down many steps, both in the Vatican City, and the Colosseum. It was really fascinating though, and we saw such a lot of amazing sights, and took many photos.

Here is the outside of the Vatican fortress wall. It’s really high, and I’m sure not even Spiderman could manage to scale it. We were told that there are about 20,000 visitors per day. Vatican City has 850 inhabitants and is a separate country from Italy.

It’s guarded by the Swiss Guard, and also has it’s own police force.

The gardens were really beautiful and well kept, as one would expect.

Here is a pic of the 136.57 m tall St Peter’s Dome, viewed from the Vatican Gardens. It’s the tallest dome in the world, and looked so magnificent as it glistened in the sun against the blue sky.

Here is the inside of the Dome looking up.

The entrance to the Saint Peter’s Basilica is decorated with a myriad statues!

Once inside, there were so many photo opportunities.

This sculpture by Michelangelo is entitled “The Pieta, It’s the first of a number of his works on the same theme, and is the only one which he actually signed.

This one, executed by a team of artists under the supervision of the sculptor, Bernini, is Pope Alexander VII’s tomb. It shows him kneeling on top of his grave, surrounded by the four virtues (Charity, Truth, Prudence, and Justice). Death is underneath the shroud and is holding up an hourglass.

The vast proportions of these beautiful marble pillars and sculptures are truly breathtaking.

We really did see so many wonderful sights, too numerous to show you here.

My head was bobbing up, down, and round and round, trying to take in all the beauty from marble floors,

to magnificent walls and ceilings.

When we entered the Sistine Chapel, no photography was allowed, so here is a photograph of a photograph of the end wall depicting the “Last Judgement.” We were told that Michelangelo had superimposed the faces of some people who had given him a really hard time during his career, on those folk relegated to Hell at the bottom of this “Judgement Day,” scene.

There are 1,100 sq m of paintings in the chapel, and it’s beauty is astounding. One isn’t allowed to talk at all, and every few seconds, a pre-recorded and rather loud “Sshhh,” came over the speaker system, to remind everyone to keep QUIET. 😉

We marvelled at, and wondered about the meaning of this interesting bronze sculpture outside the Vatican museum. It’s called “Sfera Con Sfera” (“Sphere Within a Sphere”) and was created by Arnaldo Pomodoro. I read that several such sculptures of varying diameters, are to be found at other places around the world, including the UN Headquarters in New York.

Inside were so many statues, which were all white, but here is a replica of what they would have looked like originally; very colourful indeed. I was so surprised, as I  didn’t imagine that they had once been painted.

We visited the many galleries in the museum, and looked up in absolute awe at the beautiful ceiling frescos in the “Map Gallery.” These, and so many others were absolutely magnificent.

It was about here, that hubby almost lost me forever. It was very crowded, and I’d wandered off on my own, which is always a mistake.  Not seeing him and the rest of our group, I decided that they must be ahead of me. In a bit of a panic, I went charging off to catch them up, not realising that they were still way back. My guardian and protector eventually managed to catch up with me, and lead me back to the safety of the fold, giving me strict instructions to stay close. 😉

The Tapestry Gallery was also a wonder to behold. The mind boggles just imagining all the work that must have gone into creating these enormous tapestries.

There were statues everywhere we looked, and I think I saw enough to last me for quite a while; in fact I believe I actually overdosed on statues that day.

As we were leaving the museum, we passed the private entrance to the papal apartments. How I would love an invitation to enter through that glass door.

Well I think that’s quite enough photo downloading for today, so you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to wander around the Colosseum with me.