The Garden of La Mortella on Ischia, Italy

La Mortella - testament to the passion and flair of Lady Susana Walton

La Mortella – testament to the passion and flair of Susana Walton

I love this garden and the more I read about the lady who breathed life and fun into its rocky ridges the more passionately I fall for it.  It took half a century of care to raise and now, five years after its creator’s death, it remains a growing testament to her spirit.

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A young artist’s first impressions of Naples, Italy

Impressions of Naples (2015) by Eliza Fraser-Mackenzie

Impressions of Naples (2015) by Eliza Fraser-Mackenzie

This blog post is based around an image of Naples captured by a young artist, Eliza Fraser-Mackenzie, born and raised in Zimbabwe.

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Lago di Patria: a walk for the dog?

The faded happiness of Lago di Patria

The faded happiness of Lago di Patria

The pink hotel stood block-upright and silent.  Bleak windows stared from behind the flaking wall – all happiness abandoned.

Nervously we peered upwards through the car’s windscreen, enticed by the almost empty roadside parking.  Behind us, in the back, the dog bounced with impatience.

We were unsure … the dog wasn’t … so what was wrong?

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Pozzuoli – harbour, amphitheatre and Solfatara

Ferry in the Bay of Naples

Ferry in the Bay of Naples near Pozzuoli

Pozzuoli, some 15km west of Naples, should be an ordinary, busy ferry port … but it’s not and never has been.

Part of what makes it unique is that it can’t stop moving.

La Solfatara, a crater formed some four thousand years ago, just up the hill from Pozzuoli’s harbour, is a vivid example of what’s going on.

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Fiesole and Ristorante I’Polpa – perfect retreats from crowded Florence

View down the hillside below Fiesole

View down the hillside below Fiesole

Fiesole, with green space and Tuscan villas, is on a hill a few miles outside Florence.   Calm and straight-forward it lets the mind breathe again after the density of its famous neighbour.

We visited Fiesole with an art student from the city below.  For six months she had been immersed in statues, drawings and all the glories of Florence, but when we met her what she longed for … was grass.

In Fiesole we found it.

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Naples loves music

Buskers in Naples

Buskers in Naples

Naples loves to have music – classical music, world music, new music, Neapolitan songs – music from palazzo to piazza, music that breaks your heart and throws you up to the sky all at once.

Take a stroll down Via Toledo any day of the week and the chances are that somebody somewhere will play you a tune and they’ll play it well.

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Florence – too bella for its own good

Detail from the Duomo

Looking over the crowds – a detail from the Duomo

“Caravaggio, Caravaggio …”

Of course we hurried.  This was the troublesome young artist so famed in Naples.  Long dead we thought so why here in Florence.

“Caravaggio!”  The male voice was raised, impatient.

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