Friday, April 26, 2013

Handknit socks and where to walk in them

This week as I knit up the first of my Koigu socks, I tried to decide what my favourite days were in Italy.

It was pretty easy to choose one for Florence: it was the day I went a little shopping-crazy, because even though it rained we had a really lovely walking tour of the city, saw The David, and got official free time in which to play independently (plus the unofficial free time when I went glove-shopping.)

But the one in Rome?

That one has to be the day our group was taken to the Villa d'Este, in Tivoli.  (check the link for way better photos than mine.)  It's a short drive from the city and afterward when we were returned to our hotel for free time, we had an amazing just-us walk that included a stop at a bakery selling hands down the best pizza I've ever had, plus tarts filled not with raspberry or some other typical North American filling but orange jam.

At some point I really do need to share some photographs from both of those walks, but today: it's got to be the ones from this former summer getaway that features something like 50 fountains in its terraced gardens.  After you've looked at a few of these pictures, try to imagine what the place looks like in summer, when all the flowers are in bloom and not just the bulbs.  (at the link above, you'll see how it looks in the evening, all lit up.)

First up:

Sorry, I just had to get this out of the way.  I was so bowled over when I saw this charming courtyard I had to take a picture: it's the entrance to the bathroom!

Here are two views downward into the gardens, from the terrace of the villa itself and then a little further down.

I'm going to try to post these in the order I saw them, so you can have a virtual stroll of your own...

... but frankly, after a while it's just sort of a gorge-fest of gorgeous garden stonework.

By the time we got this far into the trip, I'd perfected my policy of taking as many pictures as possible, while walking if necessary, in order to actually take a look at them.  On a group tour, you just don't have the leisure to ponder in place.  So sometimes, the places I thought were lovely at the time get more interesting as I look at the files, like this next fountain.  When it first caught my eye, it looked like this:

It wasn't about the fountain at all - you can barely see it from this angle - but all about the vista with the gorgeous statuary in front and the construction below and hills in the distance.  Then, at home, I did a closeup and saw the detail on the top more clearly.

I think that's pretty darned special.  From below, it lures you down a path, like this.

We all need stone like this in our gardens, don't you think?  Never mind that the base alone is bigger than my kitchen.

I'm sure I'm going out of order now, but that last one was taken just over the back wall of a fountain that had another fountain just beyond it.   I think the motto here could have been 'Nothing by halves.'

Two words: terracotta pots.  I see these at home all the time, but somehow, they just don't look the same.

Okay, this fountain was simply spectacular.  I took several photographs of it from different angles because every time I saw it from a new place I didn't believe it could look more beautiful.

I am pretty sure I was wrong.

One last fountain:

One last path:

and then the one thing I wanted a picture of every time I saw one (they were lining so many streets in Rome that we rode along in buses or walked past at night) and only had a chance to get once, in the courtyard of the Villa d'Este:

an orange tree.  heaven.

I have an exciting knitting weekend coming up which I'll tell you about next week, but in the meantime I will leave you with my very best wishes for a serious knitting weekend of your own.  See you Monday!


Trish said...

Wow! Can you imagine having gardens like that just outside your window? Crazy!

Mary Keenan said...

And it isn't just a garden, it's a gym too! Because the further you go down into it... the further you have to climb back up ;^)

Leslie said...

beautiful pics! I terribly missed going to Tivoli on our trip to Rome several years've convinced me I'll have to make it back there someday!

Marianne said...

Thank you for sharing, I know I'll never have the chance to visit these beautiful places, so much history, SO much beauty. Just to think now when you see a picture in a magazine or on a television screen, you can say (at least to yourself) I've been there!!! So proud and very happy for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!