on the street. via garibaldi. pietrasanta, italy.
i think that i should call myself a house counselor, instead of an interior designer, too!
pietrasanta, italy is an art and an artisan center. a place to experience art. and, a place to learn about the process of making art.
the town center not only is filled with art galleries, but also is an international contemporary sculpture park (parco internazionale della scultura contemporanea). about 40 sculptures are either permanently installed or temporarily exhibited in the town center. additional sculptures are installed in the surrounding towns of capezano monte, fiumetto, and tonfano.
many of the permanent installations were donated by artists who have collaborated with the local artisan workshops that specialize in casting metal, carving marble, firing ceramics, and fabricating intarsia, mosaics, or other materials.
some of the artists, including the famous colombian sculptor, fernando botero, have studios in pietrasanta.
when we visited fonderia artistica mariani (mariani artistic foundry), two botero sculptures were in the process of being patinaed. (for the artists’ protection, our hostess, monica, requested that we not take any photographs inside the foundry.)
at fonderia mariani, everything is handmade by master artisans, who each specialize in one phase of the lost wax casting process.
lost wax casting process
model | the artist provides the foundry with a three dimensional model, which can be scaled to any size.
mold | the scaled model is used to create a resin mold, which can be used multiple times.
copy | a wax copy of the model is made from the resin mold. then, the wax copy is detailed. often, with the artist’s participation or supervision.
mold | the wax copy is covered in a ceramic shell. then, the ceramic shell is heated in the furnace. the wax melts, but the ceramic mold remains intact. the ceramic mold can only be used one time.
cast | molten metal is poured into the ceramic mold. the metal solidifies as it cools. large sculptures are cast in multiple sections from multiple molds.
finish | the ceramic molds are removed from the castings. then, the castings are cleaned, welded, assembled, and finished.
patina | chemicals are applied to patina the metal of the finished sculpture.
the botero warrior was cast by another foundry, fonderia d’arte massimo del chiaro (massimo del chiaro art foundery). but, fonderia mariani cast the bronze flame on via oberdan by american sculptor helaine blumenfeld, OBE, who also has a studio in pietrasanta.
during our visit, fonderia mariani was testing patinas for a white bronze myomu (key of dream) sculpture by japanese artist kan yasuda, another sculptor with a pietrasanta studio. a white marble version of the yasuda sculpture is installed in the piazza della stazione.
the white marble sculpture was carved by studio di sculptura d’arte in marmo e pietre giorgio angeli (giorgio angeli studio of art sculpture in marble and stone). when we arrived for our visit to studio angeli, which is located in the nearby town of querceta, our hostess, marzia, was on the phone with kan yasuda.
studio angeli incorporates modern technology into the traditional marble carving process.
marble carving process
model | the artist provides the laboratorio dei marmi (marble workshop) with a three dimensional model, which can be scaled to any size. studio angeli now uses a digital scanner to scale the artist’s model.
material | the workshop helps the artist select a block of marble or stone either from their inventory or from a local quarry. after the block is selected, the workshop squares it off and cuts it to size using a monolama or a diamond wire saw.
rough (sbozzatura) | the workshop roughly carves the sculpture out of the block. instead of carving the block by hand, studio angeli now uses a robot that is programmed to carve the block mechanically.
trim (smodellatura) | the sculpture is hand trimmed by a master artisan using a pointing machine to transfer the proportions and the details from the scaled model to the rough sculpture.
finish (rifinitura) | a master artisan hand finishes the trimmed sculpture by grinding and polishing the surface. often, with the supervision of the artist.
pietrasanta is also a center for tool, mold, and model makers. the collection of the museo dei bozzetti (sketch museum) includes about 700 models and maquettes (reduced scale models) of sculptures, by about 350 artists, that were made by local artisan workshops.
including, a plaster maquette of another yasuda marble sculpture, that was carved by studio angeli, and is now in the collection of the sakata city museum of art, sakata, japan.
sculptures by korean artist and pietrasanta resident, park eun sun, are on exhibition until 29 october 2017 in the chiostro di sant’augustino (cloisters of saint augustine), the former convent where the museo dei bozzetti is now located, in the piazza duomo, and in the nearby town of tonfano.
exploring the parco della scultura in the pietrasanta town center is an inspiring experience. there are sculptures everywhere. in the squares. on the streets. at the roundabouts. in the car park!
pietrasanta: portale d’art (art portal)
sold for US$37.7 million.
a northern song dynasty (960-1127) ru guanyao brush washer.
the most expensive piece of chinese ceramics ever sold at auction.
ru ware is the rarest type of chinese ceramics. less than 100 pieces exist. only four pieces are privately owned. the remainder are part of museum collections.
13 pieces are part of the percival david collection, which has now been transferred to the british museum, on loan from soas university of london, where i earned my MA in asian art and archaeology, with a specialization in chinese ceramics.
it was my privilege to have direct exposure to this valuable collection under the direction of my academic advisor, dr. stacy pierson, who was then curator of the percival david foundation of chinese art.
even if you consider yourselves ‘travelers’ instead of ‘tourists’, your vacation plans sometimes include some tourist activities.
during our recent holiday to the italian riviera, my husband, bob, and i planned a day trip to the cinque terre (five lands). the five scenic seaside villages of monterosso al mare, vernazza, corniglia, manarola, and riomaggiore are unesco world heritage sites, and part of the parco nazionale della cinque terre (five lands national park).
the national park is renowned for the 120 kilometer (75 mile) long path network between the five villages. so, you could spend several days hiking between towns.
the villages are zonas traffico limitato (ztl’s) (restricted traffic zones), so, you are not able to drive into town unless you are a resident. we parked our rental car in the car park at la spezia centrale train station and took the train, instead. the car park is small. however, you can book a parking space in advance if your car has italian license plates. one of the national park’s welcome centers is conveniently located in the train station, where we purchased treno ms cards, which entitle you to park entrance, unlimited regional train travel between la spezia and levanto, and complimentary use of the toilets (which the attendants kept immaculately clean). even though trenitalia doesn’t always run on schedule, the trains run frequently. the train ride from la spezia to monterosso al mare is about 25 minutes. and, the train ride between villages is about five minutes each.
the five villages are also accessible by boat.
the only sandy beach is located in monterosso al mare, which is the largest village.
many consider vernazza, which has a natural pier, the most picturesque village.
the smallest village, corniglia, which is surrounded by terraces and vineyards on three sides, is the only cliff top town.
the town center is accessible from either the scalinata lardarina, a brick staircase with 33 flights of stairs and 382 steps, or from a vehicular road.
the panoramic view of the other villages from the terrace behind l’oratorio dei disciplinati di santa caterina (oratory of the disciples of saint catherine) in corniglia and punta bonfiglio (bonfire point) in manarola is magnificent.
did you know that pesto sauce originated in genoa, which is the capital of liguria? nessun dorma, a restaurant on punta bonfiglio in manarola, offers a pesto making course. their menu also features bruschetta made from fresh, local ingredients. highly recommended for lunch! along with a glass of cinqueterre bianco (white) wine, which is usually made from a blend of bosco, albarola, and vermentino grapes.
we thought that manarola, which has a natural harbor, was the most picturesque village.
riomaggiore also has a small natural harbor, located in a zebra rock valley at the mouth of a mountain stream.
and, like the other villages, riomaggiore has a steady stream of tourists…
forte dei marmi, italy is the most beautiful beach resort that my husband, bob, and i have ever visited. especially, if you love to walk on the beach like we do.
we enjoy the beach so much that forte dei marmi has become one of our favorite italian holiday destinations.
unlike american resorts, the coast is lined with beach clubs instead of hotels. so, the hotel principe forte dei marmi is located two blocks inland.
you can either walk or ride a bicycle to the beach. or, along the paved paths that run parallel to the beach. or, into the town center.
the beach seems endless. about 26 km (16 mi) long, running continuously between the towns of viareggio (to the south) and marina di carrara (to the north).
you can walk for miles and miles along the beach, which lined with beach club, after beach club, after beach club… the beach is easy to walk on because the gradient is gradual, and the sand is compacted.
forte dei marmi is frequently referred to as ‘the hamptons of italy’. it is quite crowded during the peak season of july and august. so, we prefer to visit during september. the weather is still warm. and, it is much less crowded. and, much more relaxing.
do you think that the ‘architect’ of this sand castle visited the vatican in rome enroute to forte dei marmi?