Spaghetti All’Amatriciana — From London to Longoio (and Lucca and Beyond) Part Two

When in Italy don’t ask for a plate of ‘spaghetti bolognaise’ (don’t even dare to say ‘spag bol’). The dish simply doesn’t exist in this country but is a concoction made abroad (and, I believe, actually sold in tins in the UK!). Ask instead for ‘tagliatelle al ragù’. The ragù is a sauce generally made […]

via Spaghetti All’Amatriciana — From London to Longoio (and Lucca and Beyond) Part Two


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Basilica San Marco Venice

We’re all familiar with the appearance of this famous Basilica, thanks to  TV documentaries, newspapers or holiday photos.


Photo sourced online

If you climb the steep stairs to access the museum of the Basilica, and then go out onto the loggia, you’ll be treated to a close up view of some of the intricate details of this place of worship.


What lucky workers were chosen to place the highest of the statues? Did they enjoy their work? Were they paid danger money?

To my knowledge, I’ve never heard this bell ringing. Has anyone else?


At the risk of a very stiff neck, there are a number of mosaics to admire as you walk around the loggia. 


I wonder how many pieces of mosaic are in just this one work? And, who put them all into their proper places? And, why couldn’t they have been put at eye level to save my neck?

Not on the Basilica, but visible from your place of elevation, is this rooftop with a splendid example of an ancient chimney. I know some of you will be able to identify the building that’s under that roof. 



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I saw these in Pistoia, and now, of course, I’m kicking myself for not finding out more about them. What are the odds I shan’t be able to find them if I go back to this interesting city in Tuscany?




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What is the collective name for a group of nuns?

A superfluity of nuns, viewed from above.  group




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From Melusina to the Starbucks logo

In my previous post, the last, rather strange image evoked mild response, with some of us curious to find out more. I posted the image on a Venetian group page on Facebook, with a plea for any information that could be provided. Many people responded, and  I can now tell you a bit about this unusual creature and her offspring.


She is a depiction of Melusina (also spelt Melusine), a  spirit of fresh water in a sacred spring or river. She is usually shown as a woman who is a serpent or fish from the waist down, sometimes with two tails. If you like myths, follow this link to find out more about this spirit.  melusine   Melusina was one of a set of triplets, by the way. There were a few suggestions about the two half human, half goat infants suckling, but no one came up with a suggestion I felt was useful to the discussion.

One of the people on Facebook mentioned that Starbuck’s logo features Melusina! Sure enough, when I did an online search, there she was in her two-tailed glory. By 1992, the image had been modified to omit this characteristic. But, just look at the 1971 version … that’s our lass for sure. You can read the history of this logo here: starbucks

blog females2

You just never know where a topic or comment will lead you!


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A challenge accepted!

In the previous post, Michel (Michel)  commented that there seemed to be a preponderance of male heads. This was followed by me saying I’d look for some female ones, and then Kathryn (conversationalitalian) chipped in to say she couldn’t wait to see these female architectural decorations.

The gauntlet had been thrown down, so what could I do but find a few examples for all of you.

Ladies and gents, I present a tiny sample of the stone (and other types of materials) females to be seen in Venice.



Isn’t she pretty? Those spikes sticking out of her headdress are to deter pigeons.



Well, I think this is a female.





Even some of the door knockers feature female figures.



Now, how’s this for a grand finale?



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Architectural details

Here are some decorating ideas for your next building project. Remember, it’s the attention to details that reaps benefits.






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