tag archives: italy

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.

hotel principe forte dei marmi | viale morin, 67 | forte dei marmi, italy

forte dei marmi is located on the italian riviera, in lucca province, in the versilia region of tuscany, about 120 km (75 mi) west of florence

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.

blue bicycles | hotel principe forte dei marmi | forte dei marmi, italy

different hotels have different colored bicycles

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.

bagno dalmazia | affiliated with the hotel principe forte dei marmi | forte dei marmi, italy

‘our’ beach club

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

do you think that the ‘architect’ of this sand castle visited the vatican in rome enroute to forte dei marmi?

from this:

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near carrara, italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

to this:

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statuario marble | master bathroom | miami, FL | interior design by sand studios

photo credits ken hayden and ken hayden via luxesource

during our recent vacation, we planned to visit the sites of some of the marble quarries in the apuan alps, near carrara, italy, on the way from the airport in florence to the beach in forte dei marmi.  but, rain was forecast for the next day.  so, we decided to spend the sunny day at the beach, instead.

we drove through the town of carrara to the roman bridge near miseglia the next afternoon, after it stopped raining.

don’t the marble quarries look interesting?

of the four case museo di milano (milan house museums), the casa museo boschi di stefano and the villa necchi campiglio are the most exceptional.

the casa museo boschi di stefano has the best salon style art installations that i have ever seen.

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salon style installation of works from the spazialisti (spatialist) and nucleari (nuclear) art movements

casa museo boschi di stefano | milan, italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

architecture

both the necchi campiglio villa and the boschi di stefano apartment building were designed by architect piero portaluppi (1888-1967) during the 1930’s.

click here to read my previous post about the villa necchi campiglio.

portaluppi designed the apartment building in 1929-1931 for property developer, francesco di stefano.  at the time, di stefano was building a new development of apartment buildings in the neighborhood surrounding corso buenos aires.  as part of the development, di stefano built a five-story apartment building for his family.  the building included a one floor apartment for each of his five children.  his daughter, marieda di stefano (1901-1968), and her husband, antonio boschi (1896-1988), lived in the apartment on the second floor.

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piero portaluppi (1888-1967) | staircase in the di stefano family’s apartment building | via giorgio jan, 15 | milan, italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

furniture

most of the furniture was purchased by the fondazione boschi di stefano, and is not original to the apartment.  consequently, most of the rooms are no longer furnished according to their original function.  instead, they are furnished with pieces from the same time period as the architecture and the art collection.

the foundation considers the credenza, dining table, and six chairs, designed by italian artist mario sironi (1885-1961) for the 1936 triennale di milano exhibition, as their most important acquisition.  other notable purchases include an art deco desk, bookcase, table, and bar (circa 1930), designed by sicilian architect ernesto basile (1857-1932), and six chairs (circa 1930), designed by portaluppi.

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mario sironi (1885-1961) | credenza, dining table, and six chairs | walnut, bronze, parchment, and ebony | designed for the 1936 triennale di milano exhibition

room 5 | sironi room | originally a study | casa museo boschi di stefano | milan, italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

lighting

 the light fixtures acquired by the foundation for the apartment include the ‘who’s who’ of the italian glass industry.  most are classic murano glass light fixtures from 1925-1940 by barovier, giacomo cappelin (1887-1968), venini, or napoleone martinuzzi (1892-1977) for venini.  some are more modern, but from the same time period, such as the ceiling light in the sironi room by piero chiesa (1892-1948) for fontana arte.

art collection

boschi and di stefano collected over 2000 works of twentieth century italian art, which they donated to the city of milan in 1974 and 1988.  part of the boschi di stefano collection is on exhibit at the museo del novecento, a contemporary art museum established by the city of milan in 2010.

about 300 works of art from the boschi di stefano collection are chronologically displayed in their apartment, according to art movement.  there are entire rooms filled with works by novecento (1900’s) movement co-founder mario sironi (1885-1961) and spazialisti (spatialist) movement co-founder lucio fontana (1899-1968).

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lucio fontana (1899-1968) | concetto spaziale, attese | 1958-1960

lucio fontana (1899-1968) | concetto spaziale, attese | 1958-1960

lucio fontana (1899-1968) | concetto spaziale | 1956

lucio fontana (1899-1968) | concetto spaziale, crocifissione | 1956

photo credits massi_most via instagram, massi_most via instagram, lisa walsh | innerspace, and lisa walsh | innerspace

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salviati | 14 light chandelier | glass | 20th century

piero portaluppi (1888-1967) | six chairs | walnut | 1930

room 9 | fontana room | originally antonio boschi’s study | casa museo boschi di stefano | milan, italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

the boschi di stefano collection includes works by other well known artists, such as giorgio morandi (1890-1964) and giorgio de chirico (1888-1978).

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giorgio de chirico (1888-1978) | la scuola dei gladiatori: il combattimento | 1928

giorgio de chirico (1888-1978) | facitori di trofei | 1925-1928

photo credits sauvage27.blogspot.com via arte.it and lisa walsh | innerspace

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napoleone martinuzzi (1892-1977) for venini | 11 light chandelier | pagliesco (mercury) glass | 1925-1930

barovier | pair of floor lamps | pulegoso (bubbled) glass | 1935-1940

modern suite of upholstered furniture based on a design by piero portaluppi (1888-1967)

room 7 | paris school room | originally the living room | casa museo boschi di stefano | milan, italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

plus, works from the gruppo di corrente (current group), the scuola di parigi (paris school), and the chiaristi (clear), nucleari (nuclear), and informale (informal) art movements.

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salon style installation of works from the spazialisti (spatialist) and nucleari (nuclear) art movements

giacomo cappelin (1887-1968) | six light chandelier | glass | 1925-1930

room 10 | spatialist and nuclear room | originally marieda di stefano’s studio | casa museo boschi di stefano | milan, italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

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salon style installation of works from the informale (informal) art movement

gino levi montalcini (1902-1974) | table | oak with ceramic top | 1950

room 11 | informal room | originally the master bedroom | casa museo boschi di stefano | milan, italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

aren’t the salon style art walls exceptional?

my husband, bob, and i recently visited (some of) the eighteen surviving palladian villas in the veneto region of italy.  now, part of a unesco world heritage site.

described as the most influential architect in the western world, italian renaissance architect, andrea palladio (1508-1580), was the first architect to systematize the design process.  fundamentally, palladian architecture combines three elements:

1| exterior elevation

a pediment above a portico with three arches.

a pediment above a portico with columns.

a pediment above a two-story portico with columns on both levels.

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illustration credits carl i. gable via boglewood

2| economical materials

brick and stucco, instead of stone and marble, construction.

interior walls decorated with frescos, instead of hung with tapestries.

3| interior proportions

using mathematics to design the arrangement, shape, size, and height of rooms.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | floor plan | villa almerico capra (la rotonda) | vicenza (VI), italy | 1566-1605

photo credit villa la rotonda

palladio probably used number theory as an architecture and interior design tool.  particularly, the ‘perfect numbers’ 6 and 10, which are the proportions of the human body.

palladio’s influence spread following the publication of his architectural treatise i quattro libri dell’architettura (the four books on architecture) in 1570.  the treatise, which has been widely translated and periodically reprinted since then, outlines his architectural principals.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | i quattro libri dell’architettura (the four books on architecture) | 1570

photo credit metropolitan museum of art

standing in a space designed by palladio has been described as an uplifting experience.  the harmonious arrangement and balanced proportions of the rooms make you feel calm, composed, collected, and connected.

‘it’s the difference between palladio…and palladianism.’

-carl. i. gable, palladio scholar

i experienced this feeling standing in the sala centrale (central hall) at villa pisani bonetti, located along the brenta river in bagnolo di lonigo.

the size, shape, and height of the hall is atypical of late renaissance architecture from the veneto region.  the large hall is t-shaped.  with a two-story barrel vaulted ceiling and thermal windows, like an ancient roman bath.

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sala centrale (central hall) | villa pisani bonetti | bagnolo di lonigo (VI), italy

now used as a contemporary art exhibition space

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

the materials and decoration are also atypical.  frescos of grotesques decorate the cross vault.  and, frescos of scenes from ovid’s metamorphoses, attributed to francesco torbido (about 1486-after 1546), a pupil of giulio romano (1499-1546), decorate the barrel vaults.

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frescos of grotesques | cross vault | sala centrale (central hall) | villa pisani bonetti | bagnolo di lonigo (VI), italy

attributed to francesco torbido (about 1486-after 1546) | frescos of scenes from ovid’s metamorphoses | barrel vaults | sala centrale (central hall) | villa pisani bonetti | bagnolo di lonigo (VI), italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

villa pisani bonetti was the first agricultural estate that palladio designed for a venetian, instead of a vicenzan, patron.  the facade facing the river has twin towers, centered by a rusticated masonry portico with a pediment above three arches.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | river facade | villa pisani bonetti | bagnolo di lonigo (VI), italy | 1542-1545

photo credits villa pisani, lisa walsh | innerspace and lisa walsh | innerspace

recent restorations include reopening the thermal window on the courtyard facade, which originally faced the (now demolished) barchessa (barn).  and, re-excavating the semi-basement.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | courtyard facade | villa pisani bonetti | bagnolo di lonigo (VI), italy | 1542-1545

photo credits paolo vandrasch via artribune and lisa walsh | innerspace

according to the four books on architecture, villa godi malinverni, located in lugo di vicenza, was the first villa designed by palladio.  following our visit, villa godi malinverni was hosting a wedding.  so, i decided that it would be impolite to take many photographs.

villa godi malinverni is also famous for it’s frescos by mystic painter, gualtierro padovano (circa 1510-1552).  as well as classic painters, battista del moro (1512-after 1568) and giovanni battista zelotti (circa 1526-1578).

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | villa godi malinverni | lugo di vicenza (VI), italy | 1537-1557

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

zelotti also painted some of the frescos at villa caldogno in caldogno, including the tragedy of sophonisba and the triumph of scipio.

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giovanni battista zelotti (circa 1526-1578) | frescos | sala scipio (scipio room) | villa caldogno | caldogno (VI), italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

did you notice the window seats?  window seats are another common component of palladian interiors, including the interiors at villa pisani bonetti and villa saraceno.

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window seats | sala scipio (scipio room) | villa caldogno | caldogno (VI), italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

villa caldogno, which is currently undergoing a renovation project, is now used as a municipal building.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | villa caldogno | caldogno (VI), italy | circa 1542-1570

photo credits regione.veneto.it and lisa walsh | innerspace

giovanni antonio fasolo (1530-1572) painted the frescos in the sala centrale (central hall), which is now used as a meeting room. the telamons (giants) around the perimeter of the hall imitate the pillars along the perimeter of a loggia.  the monochromatic giants frame polychromatic genre scenes, including a card game, a dance, a concert, and a banquet.  del moro painted similar giant caryatids (female figures) around the perimeter of the sala delle muse e dei poeti (room of muses and poets) at villa godi malinverni.

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sala centrale (central hall) | villa caldogno | caldogno (VI), italy

giovanni antonio fasolo (1530-1572) | frescos of a card game | sala centrale (central hall) | villa caldogno | caldogno (VI), italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

a careful restoration project by the the landmark trust preserved not only the frescos, but also some of the original plaster on the interior and exterior of villa saraceno in finale di agugliaro.  some of the original intonaco (plaster topcoat) still covers the brick masonry on the south and west sides of the exterior.  the entire exterior is plaster, except for the stone surrounding the windows and doors.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | villa saraceno | finale di agugliaro (VI), italy | 1548-1555

frescos of the original owner, biagio saraceno, above the portico door

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

palladio sited villa saraceno with a south-north, indoor-outdoor orientation, designed for ventilation and to frame the view of the dolomite mountains through the three openings of the portico.

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view of the dolomite mountains | villa saraceno | finale di agugliaro (VI), italy

andrea palladio (1508-1580) | north facade | villa saraceno | finale di agugliaro (VI), italy | 1548-1555

now owned by the landmark trust, and available for holiday rental

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

the flat, wood beamed ceiling in the sala centrale (central hall) is characteristic of late renaissance architecture from the veneto region.  but, the hall is t-shaped, instead of quadrilateral, which is more atypical.  the cycle of frescos around the perimeter of the hall depict the tragedy orazia by pietro aretino (1492-1556), who possibly wrote the play at villa saraceno.

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sala centrale (central hall) | villa saraceno | finale di agugliaro (VI), italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

instead of arches or columns, both the portico and rear entrance at villa poiana in poiana maggiore have serliana.  the tripartite openings, shaped like ancient roman triumphal arches, were named after italian mannerist architect, sebastiano serlio (1475-1554), who published his treatise, tutte l’opere d’architettura et prospetiva (all the works on architecture and perspective), in installments from 1537-1575.  book III, published in 1540, described and illustrated ancient roman buildings along with the work of italian renaissance architect, donato bramante (1444-1514).  palladio’s predecessor, bramante, designed a serlian arch for the nymphaeum in genazzano, near rome, in 1506-1510.  yet, serliana are now commonly called palladian arches or windows.

F0019859 Poiana Maggiore (VI), villa Poiana. Prospetto principale

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | villa poiana | poiana maggiore (VI), italy | 1549-1563

now a provincial museum

photo credits palladio museum and lisa walsh | innerspace

like bramante, palladio pierced the lunettes above the arches with five oculi.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | serliana with five oculi | rear entrance | villa poiana | poiana maggiore (VI), italy | 1549-1563

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

villa almerico capra in vicenza, also called la rotonda, is considered the universal icon of palladian architecture.  upon approach, villa almerico capra appears both geometric and volumetric.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | villa almerico capra (la rotonda) | vicenza (VI), italy | 1566-1605

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

the floor plan is completely symmetrical.  a circle, within a square, within a quadrate cross.  the domed circular hall, the corner rooms and porticos, and the stairs are centered within (imaginary) concentric circles.  the four corners of the building are oriented towards the four cardinal directions.  and, the four facades have identical elevations, each with a pediment, columns, portico, and stairs.

palladio designed two villas with this floor plan.  but, only the barchessa (barn) was built at villa trissino in meledo di sarego.

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andrea palladio (1508-1580) | floor plan | villa almerico capra (la rotonda) | vicenza (VI), italy | 1566-1605

photo credit villa la rotonda

the four books on architecture attributes the statues on the roof and the stairs to giovanni battista albanese (1573-1630) and lorenzo rubini (active 16th century).  the interior was decorated with frescos and stuccos during the early 17th century.  regrettably, photographs were restricted in the interior.

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attributed to giovanni battista albanese (1573-1630) | statues on the roof and porticos | villa almerico capra (la rotonda) | vicenza (VI), italy

attributed to lorenzo rubini (active 16th century) | statues on the stairs | villa almerico capra (la rotonda) | vicenza (VI), italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

during a previous trip to venice, bob and i also visited the following palladian villas:

F0015836 - Mira, villa Foscari, detta la "Malcontenta", esterno (da catalogatore)

andrea palladio (1508-1580) | villa foscari (la malcontenta) | malcontenta (VE), italy | circa 1554-1565

photo credit palladio museum

F0015819 Maser (TV), villa Barbaro. Veduta del prospetto principale, particolare

andrea palladio (1508-1580) | villa barbaro | maser (TV), italy | 1554-1558

now operating as a winery

photo credit palladio museum

references:

palladio museum | vicenza

unesco | city of vicenza and the palladian villas of the veneto

one of my favorite 2015 venice art biennale collateral events.  six sculptures by american artist, ursula von rydingsvard, installed in the giardino della marinaressa.

modular assemblages.  constructed from uniform cedar beams.  individually marked and cut.  then, patinaed with graphite.

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ursula von rydingsvard | for martin f. | cedar and graphite | 2013

ursula von rydingsvard | giardino della marinaressa | 2015 venice art biennale-collateral event | 9 may-22 november 2015 | venice, italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

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ursula von rydingsvard | scratch | cedar and graphite | 2013-14

ursula von rydingsvard | giardino della marinaressa | 2015 venice art biennale-collateral event | 9 may-22 november 2015 | venice, italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

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ursula von rydinsgvard | anastazia | cedar and graphite | 2013-14

ursula von rydingsvard | giardino della marinaressa | 2015 venice art biennale-collateral event | 9 may-22 november 2015 | venice, italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

cast in bronze, from a wooden model.

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ursula von rydingsvard | bronze bowl with lace | bronze | 2013-14

ursula von rydingsvard | giardino della marinaressa | 2015 venice art biennale-collateral event | 9 may-22 november 2015 | venice, italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

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ursula von rydingsvard | heart in hand | bronze | 2014

ursula von rydingsvard | giardino della marinaressa | 2015 venice art biennale-collateral event | 9 may-22 november 2015 | venice, italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

cast in resin, from a wooden model.

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ursula von rydingsvard | elegantka II |  urethane resin | 2013-14

ursula von rydingsvard | giardino della marinaressa | 2015 venice art biennale-collateral event | 9 may-22 november 2015 | venice, italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace