Saturday, March 21, 2015

Antiques Show in Viterbo's Papal Palace

outside the Papal Palace 
The  most  historic  part of Viterbo  will be a  lively place  for the next  10 days thanks to the revived antiques show  being held inside the halls of the 12th century Papal Palace, where  in 1271 the first conclave (cum clave, with the keys) forced the  cardinals gathered  there to elect a new pope after having stalled for 18 months.

I have been reporting on the Viterbo Antiques Fair  since its inception  35 years ago, so yesterday’s inauguration  was  very much a déjà vu experience . 
article from 1981

reporting on Viterbo show, 1983

an elegant table 

Giulio Curti (BIC Lazio) and wife, Felice Orlandini (Polizia di Stato) & Fulvio
When I covered the first Viterbo Antiques show in 1980, we waited on the steps while dealers  finished  setting up their stands and the red carpet was being unrolled. 
last minute preparations
There was some scurrying also yesterday  before the Mayor  arrived  to cut the  ribbon.
 Mayor Michelini cuts the ribbon,with Giorgia  of Archeoares 

The number of exhibitors (43) is about the same as the first editions of the fair and there has been a generational change with many new  names and younger faces.  
Keeping up with modern times the organizers served finger food and drinks and local reporters  concentrated  on snapping pictures of  politicians, the bishop and local VIPs rather than the works of art.

Villa San Michele organized the drinks reception
The show fills three levels of the Papal Palace and is open to the public on weekday afternoons (from 3 p.m.) and all day on Friday, Saturday and Sundays. 

Thus dealers from out of town (the majority) have a chance to  enjoy the local amenities which include  hot thermal pools, Etruscan sites, Renaissance palaces and gardens.

The entrance ticket is also valid for  the Museo Civico  of Viterbo where you can see  masterpieces by Sebastiano del Piombo  and an exhibit on the  Knights Templars.  
1920s-30s ceramics of Raffaello Pernici
Special half-price  tickets (5 instead of 10 euro) are available to my readers  on Friday morning, March  27th  at 11 am. 
Meeting place, Papal Palace, Viterbo.

portrait of a 17th century violinist of Cremona

  Let me know if you want to join us, leaving a message in the comments box below.
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Art Dèco  clock 
For  more on buying antiques,  styles and stories  check the Antiques section of  
Rated Number 1  by Google for Antiques in Italy 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Fashion, artisans and historic cafes

Fashionable Roberta De Vito and Fulvio, Piazza dei Priori, Viterbo

Those of us who live in the provinces  still see women wearing  fur coats  for the fashion statement of  small town Italy is very conservative. 
historic palazzo on the Corso, Viterbo
A  stroll  along the Corso in any  provincial town in central Italy includes  meetings with old friends,  admiring vintage cars  and, if its a Sunday, a plethora of people with  packets of pastries to enrich the Sunday lunch. 
vintage FIAT 600 
APE flower seller 

If the town is Viterbo the pastries  will probably come from the newest chic pastry shop Le Cose Buone  or  the newly reopened   Café  Schenardi in an historic palazzo along the Corso.

mini pastries 

Since 1492, the historic building has been operating in different guises: a bank in the 1500s, an inn where Queen Victoria stayed and even  a McDonald’s . 
the historic Schenardi cafe,Viterbo

 The  bar is looking good but  if they want my  custom, they will need to lower the volume of the piped music.

Rosina's bags 

Handmade fashion "artiginato" is very much alive in the province of Viterbo. 
Sala Anselmi, Viterbo 

  This week to celebrate  International Womens’ Day, a group of artisans have set up an exhibit and sale of  their handmade wares in the  Sala Anselmi, in the center of town.
Lina's beautiful  dolls 

I noted  some lovely hand-made dolls and  aprons while the gaudy trinkets and flashy necklaces left me cold. 
 Rosina Presutti  has some good looking bags in waterproof cotton,  velvet, leather and other materials. The pricing is also unique – a  cute ladybug  cotton print tote put me back only 5 euro and her attractive bags are going for 60 euro.

We are fortunate to have many valid artisans working in our area. 
Thanks go to second-generation local blacksmith Angelo Pieracci  who creates, from your design or his, unique balustrades,  bed heads, curtain  rods, door handles, etc. 
This week one of the massive  wrought iron  armchairs, originally made in Florence in the 1970s,  was  brought back to life  by Angelo with a new wrought iron  seat  to replace  the ruined leather.  
wrought iron with a cushion instead of leather seat

 vintage armchair  awaits restoration  

Now the search is on for the  upholsterer who can transform this  1930s  Frau armchair  which has survived three generations of use.   Here is the “before” photo. In a few months  I will publish the
 ”after”  photo  when the ruined leather has been  stripped away and  a new  (velvet ?)  upholstery has been  added making it useful for the next  three  generations. Suggestions for type and color  of covering and upholsterer are welcome.  

My  next presentation is  Thursday,March 19th    April  2nd, the Thursday before Easter  at 5 p.m.  in  Viterbo's  Museo Civico. 
Looking forward to meeting many old and new friends including Cristina Carosi and  Francesca Ceci  who  helped with the publication of  Etruria Storie e Segreti   and archeologist Chloe Ercoli Bannister. 
Free entrance and a chance to visit the Museum before the illustrated talk begins at  5 p.m.  
You are also invited to an exclusive visit to the Antiques Show in the Papal Palace at 11 a.m. on Friday March 27th.    
Contact me if you are planning on coming.  
Our group will receive a 50% discount on the entrance ticket (5 instead of 10 euro)   

Who can spot the photo that was NOT taken in Viterbo, but in Rome ??

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Signs and Colors of Spring

van Gogh scarf 
For all of you who are still in the grip of winter cold  and snowdrifts in northern Europe and USA, here is a bit of local color and Italian sunshine to warm up your day.

  Hopefully these pictures taken around Vetralla and Viterbo in the past couple of days will convince you that spring is just around the corner.

Sunday  market in Piazza  della Rocca with  colorful household goods, historic costumes  and a crowd on the museum’s loggia.

The regular Tuesday market in Vetralla with locally  grown produce.

The sunshine  allows  for  2 or even 3  loads of wash to dry during the day.

For those in the area here are the upcoming  talks and tours  I will be doing  in the next couple of weeks. 

Hope to see you at one of them!
Friday, March   6th  at the Prefecture   “Tuscia nelle Antiche Carte: curiosità, valori, ladri”  with special visitor Chief Inspector Felice Orlandini  5 p.m.

Thursday, March  19th at the Museo Civico, Viale R. Capocci (in front of Porta della Verità)  presentation of latest book “Etruria Storie e Segreti”  5 p.m.

Friday, March  27 -Visit to  the Viterbo Antiques Show (we get a discount on tickets)  11 a.m. at the Papal Palace, Viterbo. Train from Rome to Porta Romana station in Viterbo. Meeting place  Papal Palace  11 a.m.

Just in case you missed it, here is my latest article  published today on Italian Notebook  about Rome's newest art library. 
For more information see my website , blog   or Facebook page

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Rome Without the Tourists : a new library and the old home of Margaret Fuller

waiting for tourists near the  Pantheon 

February is the best month  to explore the center of Rome  and since we had a morning  appointment  and a later one on Via Veneto,  it  was an excuse to spend the day in Rome  just like  tourists, strolling  through from Piazza di Spagna to the Pantheon pausing to take photos and do some shopping. 
parrot invasion 

Orthodox church, Via delle Coppelle
newly restored Barcaccia  fountain 

Parrots  making  a racket in Piazza di Spagna's palms and the  Orthodox church  on Via delle Coppelle gave an exotic touch to the city. 

Around the Pantheon the  empty  tables awaited the few tourists who could be spotted immediately - young couples in jeans without jackets, some even in   short sleeves !

We turned right  at the giant foot at Via S. Stefano del Cacco  to make our way to the magnificent Scuderie, the former stables of the of Palazzo Altieri restored by Architect Gae Aulenti. Here  the  Italian Banks  Association ABI was  inaugurating  a  unique library with 10,000 volumes (especially art books)  published by Italian banks.

ABI President Antonio Patuelli opened  the Press conference 

The  opening of the ABI library gives researchers  access to all those expensive  volumes commissioned  by Italy’s banks  from about  1850  to the present  and used as gifts for the banks’ major clients.  Check the website  for information and  the online catalogue.
Picasso's "Toros y toreros" worth $1,500

 I was pleased to recognize a few  volumes  picked up over the years at second hand bookshops in Moscow  and on  Rome’s  Via del Pellegrino. Since the beautifully illustrated volumes were  published in small quantities and not  for the general public, some have become  quite rare and worth a great deal.

There were few  tourists as we crossed the  usually crowded Trevi Fountain area  and  continued  towards Via Veneto.   Stopping  to admire  the Tritone fountain in  Piazza Barberini,  I spotted  a memorial plaque dedicated  to  American journalist Margaret Fuller who lived in  the building during the  first years of the Italian Risorgimento.

A close friend of Giuseppe Mazzini, Margaret  Fuller ‘s articles kept   the American reading  public informed  of  happenings during  the early Risorgimento years (1848-49) and she also coordinated the nurses caring for the wounded at Fatebenefratelli  hospital on Tiber Island .

The romantic, tragic life  of Margaret Fuller  is well described in the latest biography "The Lives of Margaret Fuller " by John Matteson.  

This blog has been nominated for "Best Living in Italy " blog  competition. 
Please vote  by going to this link. Thanks! 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Winter Walk in Viterbo - Antiques, Weddings and Ceramics

a profferlo in San Pellegrino medieval quarter 

It might be chilly and windy but the sky is blue and  the quiet medieval center of Viterbo beckons to be  explored.  
A Sunday morning walk through Viterbo’s  perfectly preserved medieval quarter  to the Papal Palace for a wedding show  is the  perfect excuse to get  some exercise and meet up with old and new friends.
Daniela Lai's Artistica laboratory and shop

 After parking alongside  the 12th century walls that encircle the city pass through the   Porta San Pietro and head for the cobbled streets of  San Pellegrino medieval quarter. 

On this  January morning  the only shop open was Artistica ceramics laboratory where we  stop for a chat with Daniela Lai and admire her latest masterpieces.   

kids' ceramics workshop Feb. 14th

Around the corner another open door entices us in. Here we find several rooms full of  antique furniture of excellent quality.  
Oriental reflections 

credenza cupboard (approx. 4,000euro)



...and more mirrors 

San Pellegrino was the best place to find antique furniture  back in the 60s-80s when Danilo’s uncle  was my main source for antiques.  
Check the Antiques page on  my website for  stories of collecting antiques  in Viterbo.

Braving the wind we cross Piazza San Lorenzo to the Papal Palace, the venue for this weekend’s  wedding show housed in the lower levels of the majestic 13th century palace.
Piazza San Carluccio 
 A large  number of foreign  couples get married in Italy each year and with the dollar stronger than ever that number will be increasing. 
The possibile  locations  in the Viterbo /Etruria area range from  an agriturismo to a fortified  castle. See my Partners page for  some  examples of magical places in central Italy that I recommend.  More are being added  during the next few weeks, so check back.
Palazzo dei Papi 

ladies of Tenuta di Corbara 

ladies  who sell  wedding rings and locations 

restaurants and photos for weddings

Antonella's  vintage setting 

Torre Alfina, a castle location 

The  Colle del Duomo Museum  and palace complex is the focal point for visitors to Viterbo for something is always going on  here: Mark your calendar for the March 21-29 Antiques Fair  and for the  illustrated conferences that  I will be presenting in February and March. 
Here is the poster for the first one -February 20 at Vetralla's library  

 On Friday, March 6th this talk will be repeated for ArcheoTuscia  at Viterbo's Prefettura (with Chief Inspector Felice Orlandini)  and  on Thursday,March 19th  my newest book "Etruria Storie e Segreti" will be presented  at Museo Civico, Viterbo with Cristina Carosi and Francesca Ceci. 
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