Thursday, December 21, 2017

Busy Season?! Take Some Respite in a Renaissance Garden

There's una recita, a recital, at daycare this afternoon before the school closes for the Christmas break. As well, we have to pick up a few little gifts, so there will be something for each of us to open on Christmas morning. Plus we need to begin the marketing for the Christmas meals -- The guys (Pater and Son-in-Law) have decided on a paella for Christmas Eve and a large chicken for Christmas dinner. I'm feeling more than a bit odd about my normal contributions not being needed,  the usual weeks of preparation being condensed, and I'm trying to be sanguine about that, accepting, living in the present, and all that. . .

So for now, I'm just going to post some photos from Sunday's superlative visit to Villa d'Este, with its magnificent Renaissance gardens, fountain after fountain after fountain. Very little colour (a few roses still blooming, some pots of cyclamens strategically placed, oranges glowing on the occasional tree) other than green, so the structure and textures of the garden could show off without any competition for attention.

Crisp, cold air, sunshine, blue skies, and a happy three-year-old contributed to the day. . . 

By the time we reached this Avenue of the 100 Fountains, we were nearing the end of our tour, and I'd already taken countless photos, but I just couldn't resist slowing down to capture this diversity of spouting faces. . .
I hope you might enjoy them as much as I did. . .









There you go -- fun, right? Two more shots, just to give you a sense of the villa's perspective, and then I'd really better run.
Magnificent, isn't it? I will be back later to share more images from that day, but I know we're all too busy to linger right now.
Remember to breathe, though, right? And if you don't have time to comment now, don't fret. We'll catch up in a few days. xo


18 comments:

  1. Spending time with our dearest and nearest,family and friends-precious and priceless!
    So,breathe,enjoy and don't worry about cooking!
    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you,Paul,your family and all of you here and there,IRL and on this fabulous,fantasy blog place!
    Dottoressa

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    1. And Merry Christmas to you, K, and to your mother and your son as well -- such a treat to have spent time with you this year!

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  2. I’ve not been there Frances but love sumptuous Italian gardens with their wonderful fountains . Great pictures & it looks so peaceful , no summer crowds . Have a very merry Italian Christmas with the ‘ Italian ‘ branch of your family . I’m off to get the Brussels sprouts now , compulsory here & I do like them . Are they part of xmas there or in Canada ?
    Wendy in York

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    1. Brussels are definitely part of our Christmas here, but then my background is English. I've only just discovered you don't actually have to cut in a X in the bottom of each one! One less thing to do!
      Frances in Sidney

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    2. You're right that it would surely have been crowded in the summer and we enjoyed relative tranquility on our visit.
      As for the brussels sprouts, I saw some fairly sparse stems at the market last weekend, but not today. At home, they're generally part of the Thanksgiving and the Christmas dinner (sometimes I make them up in a salad for a change) -- Never knew I needed to cut an "x" in them, so glad to know I wasn't messing anything up by that omission ;-)

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  3. Ah, usual contributions not being needed are a sensitive spot for me (and you too it sounds like) - I have to be mindful about not feeling wounded or defensive. My commitment to "no drama" sometimes is a bit threatened but so far so good this year.

    Enjoying your travel pics very much.

    ceci

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    1. Yes, especially since I always suspect Pater could dispense with it all, except that he likes the meal. . . I do know that the crew at home will be carrying on quite a few of the traditions I've established, but not so much here. "no drama" shall be my motto as well. . . And thanks for saying the travel pics are appreciated. I do enjoy sharing them.

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  4. I've been there, but also to much more modest gardens and structures throughout the Castelli; your photos keenly express the atmosphere and light of such places in Lazio.

    Paella sounds like a great solution - you don't want to have to make several different fish and seafood dishes. I follow the "magro" rule, though I'm not remotely a practising or believing Catholic, simply because it is a "lighter" supper - as long as one doesn't pile on the dishes, which I certainly won't; it will be a small group.

    I miss Italy terribly; haven't been back there since 2033, but now I'm translating a book from Italian to English so I may well have the opportunity to return. My year's end holidays will centre on that task and take me back to Italy in spirit at least!

    How is your Italian coming? Do you have favourite Italian or Italophone writers?

    Wendy in York, do you follow Rachel Roddy in the Guardian? She is one of my favourite food writers; a young British woman living in Testaccio with her Sicilian husband and their little boy. Her recipes are mostly home cooking, not too complicated for the average mortal.

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    1. I do read the Guardian regularly but haven’t really looked properly at this cookery writer . She has some great recipes & writes so well too . Thanks for that Lagatta
      Wendy

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    2. The latest decision re menu seems to be substituting seafood risotto for the paella -- much more in keeping with the geography, and somewhat simpler to prepare, plus probably more suited to the Little One's tastes. My Italian is limited although I can read much more than I can recall when I need to speak. I did manage to ask, the other day, if my son-in-law (had to call him "il marito della mia figlia" ) could return the "regalo" we were buying him if he didn't like it. And they understood me! Generally, the words come AFTER I've left the shop or restaurant . . . And thank you for telling me about Rachel Roddy. I do enjoy the columns

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  5. Hi Frances, my husband would have a field day in that garden - he has whole files of photos of Roman fountains! As soon as I started reading this post I thought how much I would enjoy being elsewhere for Christmas, without all the expectations and obligations that one has at home. Of course, you are still having a family Christmas, just perhaps on a smaller scale than at home - enjoy!

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    1. These gardens are wonderful and there's a Fountain that plays music -- a Water Organ, although we weren't there for a performance.
      This Christmas is somewhere in between the two you describe, and at some point, I think I'd love to be staying in a hotel in some beloved city, just Pater and I, for a week over the Christmas period, a few days before, a few after.

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  6. Sitting here with a cup of coffee, contemplating the snow-covered Malahat and enjoying a moment of quiet before my son and girl-friend arrive. Peaceful yes, but not quite as beautiful as your Italian garden! Merry Christmas!
    Frances in Sidney

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    1. The Malahat will be gorgeous right now -- a bit treacherous to drive during some of that snowfall, I know (having driven through at least twice on my own through such conditions), but stunning with the views of the water from the snowy heights. Merry Christmas to you and your company as well -- enjoy your time together!

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  7. The fountains and garden look amazing...I watched a Monty Don special on Italian gardens and I think this might be the same garden that he featured...how lovely that you are able to sit and relax while the men take over the cooking duties!
    Yes I am breathing...about to head out for a walk and a coffee with Pondside and the weather is sunny today!

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    1. A gardener like you would love this garden, perhaps even more when all the roses are blooming in the summer.
      Enjoy the walk with H. Perhaps the three of us might manage that someday.

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  8. How beautiful. It’s wonderful to be able to really absorb the garden in the off season...a different beauty.
    Have a very special Italian Christmas.
    Ali

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  9. And you have a special Saltspring Christmas!

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