A Walk through Pienza – pt. 1

A renaissance experiment

In the continuing quest to edit my photographs from our trip to Italy, I decided to let my interests in the image follow a meandering path that had me stopping by the town of Pienza this past weekend.  As I got about half of my images edited, I thought I’d share them today in a first installment.

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Before the village was renamed to Pienza its name was Corsignano. It is first mentioned in documents from the 9th century. Around 1300 parts of the village became property of the Piccolomini family. after Enghelberto d’Ugo Piccolomini had been enfeoffed with the fief of Montertari in Val d’Orcia by the emperor Frederick II in 1220. In the 13th century Franciscans settled down in Corsignano.

1405 Corsignano was the birthplace of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (Italian: Enea Silvio Piccolomini), a Renaissance humanist born into an exiled Sienese family, who later became Pope Pius II. Once he became Pope, Piccolomini had the entire village rebuilt as an ideal Renaissance town and renamed it after himself to Pienza. Intended as a retreat from Rome, it represents the first application of humanist urban planning concepts, creating an impetus for planning that was adopted in other Italian towns and cities and eventually spread to other European centers.

The rebuilding was done by Florentine architect Bernardo Gambarelli (known as Bernardo Rossellino) who may have worked with the humanist and architect Leon Battista Alberti, though there are no documents to prove it for sure. Alberti was in the employ of the Papal Curia at the time and served as an advisor to Pius. Construction started about 1459. Pope Pius II consecrated the Duomo on August 29, 1462, during his long summer visit. He included a detailed description of the structures in his Commentaries, written during the last two years of his life.

A Walk Across the Forum – pt. 1

The ages open up

One of the wonderful places that we visited in Italy were the Palatine Hill and Forum in Rome.  Getting away from the overcrowded Colosseum, it was just amazing to take in the atmosphere and history that is represented by the Forum, where you can truly see the centuries and their most significant events during the days of the Roman republic and empire.

Here’s the first installment of Forum images.

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I hope you enjoy them!

Roman Theater in Volterra

Surprising finds in Volterra

Yesterday, I shared with you a view of the wonderful Tuscan hill town of Volterra, looking over the roofs toward the valley.  Another wonder from this city is the Roman theater that sits just outside the old town walls.

This theater was not discovered until the 1950s, when local economist Enrico Fiumi gained permission to perform a test dig near the soccer field, where he theorized the existence of a Roman theater.  With the help of patients of the local psychiatric hospital that he directed, he excavated a small section to find fragments of columns and a young head of Augustus

Roman theater in Volterra

It took another 10 years to gain permission for the rest of the excavation, which resulted in a beautiful example of a theater, including the scaenae frons, which is the backwall behind what would have been a wooden stage.

This is a great location to visit, and it should be noted that the ticket also gives you admission to the Etruscan excavation on the other side of town (a 5-10 minute walk).

Technical Details

This image series was captured with my Fujifilm X-T1 using a Fujifilm XF18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 LM OIS WR lens.  Exposure settings for the series of images were at 1/150-1/600 second, f/9 at 800 ISO.  They were processed using Photomatix Pro.

Looking over Volterra

Beautiful vistas and rich history

Volterra is a walled mountaintop town in the Tuscany region of Italy of which its history dates to before the 7th century BC and has substantial structures from the Etruscan, Roman, and Medieval periods.

Volterra, known to the ancient Etruscans as Velathri or Vlathri and to the Romans as Volaterrae, is a town and comune in the Tuscany region of Italy. The town was a Bronze Age settlement of the Villanovan culture, and an important Etruscan center (Velàthre, Velathri or Felathri in Etruscan, Volaterrae in Latin language), one of the “twelve cities” of the Etruscan League.

Looking over Volterra

The site is believed to have been continuously inhabited as a city since at least the end of the 8th century BC. It became a municipium allied to Rome at the end of the 3rd century BC. The city was a bishop’s residence in the 5th century, and its episcopal power was affirmed during the 12th century. With the decline of the episcopate, Volterra became a place of interest of the Florentines, whose forces conquered Volterra. Florentine rule was not always popular, and opposition occasionally broke into rebellion. These rebellions were put down by Florence.

When the Florentine Republic fell in 1530, Volterra came under the control of the Medici family and later followed the history of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

In recent history, Volterra was the residence of the Volturi, a coven of rich, regal, powerful ancient vampires, who essentially act as the rulers of the world’s vampire population; of course, this was fiction, as part of Stephwnie Meyer’s Twilight series.

Technical Details

This image series was captured with my Fujifilm X-T1 using a Fujifilm XF18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 LM OIS WR lens.  Exposure settings for the series of images were at 1/350-1/1500 second, f/9 at 1000 ISO.  They were processed using Photomatix Pro.

Missing Tuscany

A la proxima, Toscana!

It’s hard to imagine that it’s been less than a week, since we were in Tuscany…  I miss it already!  Between the landscape, food and people, there is no shortage of wonderful in this region of la bella Italia!

As I have just started the task of selecting and editing my favorite images (work does require some of my attention), I’ll share the first 3 from Tuscany for your enjoyment.

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Have a wonderful day!

Love Across the Ages

Amor vincit Psyche

During our trip to Italy, one of the amazing places that we visited were the Excavations at Ostia Antica (Scavi di Ostia Antica).  We spent most of a day exploring this magnificent museum and definitely did not get to see all of it; what you find in these excavations is a sense of what life was like in this ancient harbor of Rome, not through depictions and descriptions, but by the raw footprint and beauty that has been uncovered.

Walking through neighborhoods gives a feeling of what was being done in each of them and how this evolved over time.  People lived and worked in these locales and left their imprint through their buildings, statuary and mosaics.

Cupid and Psyche

This statue of Cupid and Psyche was located in the Domus di Amore e Psiche near the temple of Hercules.  This house was excavated in 1938.

As I get time to go over all my photos, there will be much more from these wonderful excavations.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Round Up 58

A lovely set of streets!

Welcome to the 58th round up of the Tuesday Photo Challenge!

You took to the streets and provided a great deal of wonderful insight!  I really appreciate the great posts that you provided and particularly enjoyed your creative way to approach some of the subtleties that make for great photographs of streets and street photography.

Thank you for all those wonderful posts and providing me with some inspiring posts to read!

Now that I’m back (and spent a good part of the day off-loading my images and organizing them), I took a quick stab at this view of one of the streets in Volterra…

Streets of Volterra

Volterra is a town that should be on everyone’s must visit list in Tuscany; it has a true charm and great variety of sites to visit all well within walking distance.  From Etruscan to Roman and Renaissance, there is wonderful representation within Volterra.

The following were this week’s participants in the challenge with links to their posts:

  • Starting this week’s entries, theonlyD800inthehameau brings us to Carcassonne in Southern France to explore the old city!
  • Une Photo, un poéme shows us of Bucharest’s changes, as the city is moving more towards modernity.
  • Charles captures some of the color in Puerto Rico in his post in charlesewaugh.com; I agree that it definitely is a photographer’s paradise!
  • pensivity101 brings the pleasures of travel to the agoraphobic in a rather clever poem!
  • A very different view of the world is provided by iballrtw‘s post that shows us a bazaar in New Delhi.
  • Wow, ladyleemanilla, what an impressive array of streets and awesome music to accompany them!
  • Bullyboy shows off the bends and slopes of the streets in an impressive set of photos in Travel387.
  • Mostly Monochrome is an impressive blog with amazing photography done the old-fashioned way (do you remember film?); go check it out!
  • Susan captured a beautiful street in Amsterdam, as you can only find them there, in her entry in Musin’ with Susan.
  • Miriam’s post in the Showers of Blessing takes us to some great locations for streets.  I particularly like Seville, Spain!
  • Leaking Ink takes us into the city of Lucknow with a view of the Rumi Darwaz.
  • Ron’s post in Progressing Into Solitude talks of the promises of streets of silver in Virginia City with a great photo!
  • Stella’s post in Giggles & Tales shows us streets in various cities; there is wonderful character in these streets!
  • Justine shares lovely views of streets in her beautifully photographed entry in Justine Taylor Photography.
  • Bushboy’s street is probably not your average, run-of-the-mill street, particularly when he finds a herd of cattle being driven past his driveway in bushboys world!
  • Cee brings us a wonderful set of photos in her post in Cee’s Photography!
  • Judith brings us closer to some of the wonderful art that is in the streets in here post in Nature Knows Best; it truly looks magnificent!
  • Debbie’s post in ForgivingConnects has happiness written all over it with the prospect of Colorado!
  • Khürt’s post in his blog Island in the Net takes us to the streets with wonderful images!
  • Ron brings us a variety of streets in his cool blog Locating Frankenstein’s Brain!
  • Grace might not look forward to driving on winding roads, but she certainly got some nice photos of them in her post in Following Him Beside Still Waters.

This is another great set of images, posts and participation! Thanks to each of you for taking the time and being creative!