Friday, November 2, 2007

A dream came true for me last year

this time last year about this time along with Robyn, we arrived in Cortona, Italy. Nina was arriving the following day along with the rest of the girls doing the art retreat. a dream come true for me, thanks to my dearest daughter Jo who made it all possible and John and Kirsty who along with Joanne paid for my trip. Anyone reading this who has thought of going away to do an art retreat, do what you can to make your wishes come true, you will not regret it. I still relive the wonderful week I had in the lovely Tuscany countryside. The countryside reminded me a little of my childhood in New Zealand but of course the buildings and architecture was unique to Italy.

I spent every free moment I could find walking around these lovely uneven streets, can you imagine that cars wizz around these streets, infrequently, as I think during the day most residents that use cars go to work out of Cortona. If I stretched my arms out I could almost touch both walls, so when a vehicle came one had to hug close to the walls of these old, old buildings. You just breath in so much history, you can close your eyes and picture different times that this place has lived and survived through. love it, love it.

standing against time, they certainly built to last. One wonders how long the buildings we build now will last, and would we want them to anyway.

the lovely Olga on the day we spent picking olives, learning how to make pasta and cooking the most delicious Italian meal, a wonderful day we had off from the workshop. Of course the workshops were the highlight, so much creativity going on with the amazing Nina at her best.

Isn't this building intriguing, what stories could it tell, is that a secret tunnel to escape marauding etruscans or romans, come out the discreet door at the top, quickly down the stone steps, scoot around the corner and duck into the tunnel and off. good imagination aye!

several mornings we were greeted with this wonderful thick fog, that enveloped the country below taking several hours before dissipating, look at that mysterious ghostly church dome in the background. Cortona would be bathed in sunshine while below the world was cast in gloom.

Olga, Robyn and myself set out to find 'Bramesole' the setting for the movie 'Under the Tuscan Sun' (loved that movie) after getting lost we finally met a very knowledgeable fine old Italian gentleman who deciphered Olga's Italian and guided us just up the road, where this amazing villa sat in all its splendour, not quite as I remembered it in the movie. Its soft ochre colour so uniquely Italian.

and the little shrine that the elderly gentleman left flowers each day but never returned her greetings until the end of the movie.

and so the sun sets on Tuscany, viewed from where I spent such a wonderful week with creative new friends, the enigmatic Nina, and the ever so patient Stacey who arranged this wonderful retreat that gave us this amazing opportunity. I appreciate all the hard work put into running these retreats, and all the way from the USA.

on the last day we travelled back to Rome and spent half a day with Olga and Phyllis, what treasures to be found there. will have to go back and explore more.


Karen said...

Dear Jacky, absolute magic! I love the photo of you exploring Cortona's tiny streets. You just radiate joy. I was always an Anglophile but fell under Italy's spell after reading "Under the Tuscan Sun". We had the pleasure of meeting Frances Mayes when she was in Sydney and she was the nicest woman. I'd love to see Bramasole with my own eyes too. Thank you for sharing your lovely photos and memories.

Ro Bruhn said...

What fabulous photos Jackie and what a wonderful time you must have had and beeing taught by Nina too boot.

Judy said...

It all looks way too familiar to me - it was the trip of a lifetime for me too!

Anonymous said...

Felicitaciones por tan bellas fotos
Soy a rtista plástica he pintando mucho a Cortana y la bella Toscana en general
Actualmente expongo mi arte en Italia y me da placer viajar a este bello lugar por medio de las fotos de este blog