Mantova, Italy

Bricks is the theme of Photrablogger’s MM Challenge #12 and I thought these will fit in well for photos on brickwork.

Palazzo Ducale

Section of wall Old Square Mantua

The first picture is a close up of a wall in the Old Square in Mantova,  a UNESCO heritage site.  The pattern of white stone on the wall of 15th century Palazzo Ducale,  gives it an enchanting ‘lacey’ look … like Chantilly lace on brick !!!

Palazzo Ducale, Mantua, Lombardy

A bigger picture – more motifs,more enchantment.  The pattern of small hollow squares visible may be due to restoration work as they are too ordered to be fallen bricks.  If you look closely you can see where  windows appear to have been walled up. It adds to the mystery!!

The angular buttresses on palace roof are duplicated on on the opposite side of the square – see below. The entire square may have been part of the Palace  (I need to read the guidebook).  Perhaps the different designs represent different quarters. The white insets are visible in a more frugal way on one wall.  You can see that repairs  have been carried out where the pattern is interrupted.    And note that the other wall  is pure brick – with no aesthetic extras. The chimney indicates it may have been the kitchen area … elementary my dear Watson 🙂

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Old Square, Mantua

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Old Square, Mantua

And how it looks now – contrasting old with  new, ochre wall with blue windows . Old and new blend so seamlessly.

Palazzo Ducale, 15th Century

A toast to buildings that stand the test of time .

Postcript :  We  travelled to Mantova  frtom Milan to meet Rev. Sr. Teresina – former Professor of Christology in Sri Lanka, who had travelled from Carpi, to meet us halfway, the day after we arrived in Milan. These pictures were taken whilst enjoying a delicious our first Italian meal her famous wine celebrating our meeting after five years.

I had initially ‘cropped’ our table from the picture to focus only on architecture.  On second thoughts however, I kept in the bottle of wine, for a building this beautiful and this enduring, surely deserves a toast.

So, a toast to buildings with workmanship and materials that endure …  and a toast likewise to enduring friendships.

Cheers 🙂

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Magnifico Milan !

I’ve had an anything but mundane two weeks in Prague, Turin, Milan and environs.

With so much rich art, culture, heritage and beauty around, I was hard pressed both in time and opportunity to find anything  to meet Photrabloggers challenge.  Since I was clicking away like crazy, I was surprised that nothing seemed to fit the challenge so I decided to google Mundane.

OK .. .. here it is … ” Mundane  –  routine, ordinary, everyday, run-of-the mill, customary  …. earthy, material,  non-spiritual.

No wonder then I found it difficult.  The last two weeks was anything but run of the mill.  Definitely not my routine everyday experience, and definitely (many times over) not not-spiritual !!  I mean .. those magnificent churches, castles, architecture, works of art by Renaissance masters that transcend everyday terrestrial experiences.  New faces, new people, new cultures  .. all novel and unique. Nothing mundane for me there 🙂

But I had missed two challenges so decided that perhaps the apartments I saw daily in the last week would bring in the ‘routine’ element for mundane.  Even though I found them fascinating … wondering at the type of lifestyle the Milanese lived behind them – they could probably pass the test for mundane everyday living so here I go :

View from our bedroom window :

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Some apartments on the street in the Primaticcio District of Milan where we stayed :

I do not like to be around high rise buildings but these seemed different.  Multi-storied but not high rise! There were plenty of open spaces in between, with parks, gardens and playing fields

Basketball  and soccer court

Basketball and soccer court. The older kids played basketball whilst the small ones played soccer between their legs. Wish I had taken a photo .. so busy looking on!!!

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Church and open court yard. Buildings and shops all around. We stayed in the orange building behind the Church Steeple.

And I found that the Milanese like to have flowers and plants even in apartments –  or beautiful gardens to look down on. Their view will change with the seasons. Mundane and beautiful !!!!

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Fragrant plants are everywhere giving off a heady perfume into the atmosphere !!

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I doubt I would like to live in Milan  … it’s not what I am used to.  I need to come down to earth – literally 🙂 from high rise buildings and works of art that take you to dizzy heights.   But with its heritage and art, Da Vinci’s Last Supper,  and its Duomo amongst many others,

Milan is magnifico !!! 

And I could not just give you one mundane picture 🙂  even though I tried !!!

Shifting Street Scene

A street scene is never the same with vehicles, people and all types of traffic constantly moving through.

I captured these one morning  – of ‘walkers’ focusing on their health; trishaws ‘tuk-tuk-ing’ on way to a hire, cars whizzing past tooting exercise addicts off the road, bicycles;  bread-vans by which you can set your clock … all changing scenes of our busy street.   Made for an interesting half hour inspired by challenge of Mundane Monday.

However I could not wait for the buffaloes  (Yes … they traverse our road too  each morning on their way to the remaining piece of wetland, and return when the sun sets.

I could not also keep vigil for the 8 ft crocodile that resides in the lake (visible in the background). Mr. Croc tends to float downstream around 2.00 pm.  You  know when he is around because everyone stops to look at him. I too stop almost every time … always marvelling at how he glides through so silently and stealthily with  body partly submerged. Absolutely no ripples to warn of his presence!!

And in case you are wondering, the lake has been fenced off.  Long tale of our fundamental rights action to have fence removed when the lake and wetland was leased to a private company and environment degraded. We won the case but the government deviously moved war veterans into the ‘island’ that had been created – knowing that was one ‘fight’ we would drop: you can’t argue for the environment against those who have risked their lives for the country.

So we live with the fence .. 😦