Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bergamo - Italy

Every now and then I travel on google maps, I mean, I look for a particular city and from there I see what other interesting places are nearby. I have already done a few routes in northern Italy and I confess that I've never put Bergamo on the itinerary. I need to reconsider that because I've read that it is a very beautiful city and this wonderful card sent by Óscar totally convinced me. 

The city of Bergamo is composed of two parts: there is the suspended Città Alta (Upper City), the historic core built up on the hills, and the Città Bassa (Lower City), which is a lively financial centre of national importance. The two parts are separated, both physically and symbolically, by the powerful Venetian defensive systems, that are a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 9 July 2017.

© Nous srl * foto © Alex Perathoner
One of the attraction in the Upper City is the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. It was built from 1137 on the site of a previous religious edifice of the 7th century. Construction continued until the 15th century. Of this first building the external Romanesque structure and the Greek cross plan remain. The interior was extensively modified in the 16th and 17th centuries. The dome has frescoes by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Noteworthy are the great Crucifix and the tomb of Gaetano Donizetti. - in: wikipedia


A french official card from Bordeaux.

Of all the public buildings in Bordeaux, the Grand-Théâtre is unquestionably the most well-known and appreciated.  It stands on the site of a former temple (Les Piliers de Tutelle) that was once in the middle of a Gallo-Roman forum. 
The Grand Théâtre's construction was made necessary by the destruction of a performance hall in 1755. The latter was located in the outbuildings of the former town hall, near the Grosse Cloche.

FR-918803, sent by Sandrine.
Architect François Lhote, assisted by Soufflot, initially proposed a project that was not accepted by the city aldermen. Eventually, Marshal de Richelieu, governor of the province of Guyenne, imposed the Parisian architect Victor Louis (1731-1800). In order to pay for the construction, the land located on the southern glacis of the Château Trompette was sold.
It took more than five years to build the Grand Théâtre and, after many vicissitudes, it was inaugurated in 1780 with a performance of Athalie, a play by Jean Racine.
The rectangular-shaped structure opens up onto Place de la Comédie to the west with a peristyle featuring 12 Corinthian columns supporting an entablature and a balustrade decorated with 12 statues (the nine muses and three goddesses). At the beginning, this peristyle was on the same level as Place de la Comédie. However, in the mid-19th century, it was decided to lower the level to make it easier for horse-drawn carriages to cross. - in:

Azay-le-Rideau Palace - France

 One of the places I really want to visit in France is the Loire Valley and its castles and palaces. Those castles and palaces are so beautiful. It will be difficult to choose which ones to visit.
The 1st of these cards was a surprise from Zé Pombal and the other one was sent a few years ago by Agnes.

Photo: Marcel Chevret
Described by Balzac over lunch one day as "a facetted diamond set in the Indre", Azay-le-Rideau is one of the most famous châteaux of the Loire.
Built in the early part of the 11th century, the Château of Azay-le-Rideau was burned during the Hundred Years’ War, and later rebuilt during the reign of François I, by a wealthy financier. 

A true synthesis between the French art of construction and the innovations in Italian architecture, the Château of Azay-le-Rideau is an authentic masterpiece of the Renaissance. Set on an island in the middle of the Indre river, this picturesque château has become one of the most popular of the châteaux of the Loire valley. -

Friday, October 13, 2017

Churches in Auvergne - France

Another postcard that Oscar bought on his way from Switzerland to Portugal. Unfortunately, he didn't visit any of these churches in the french region of Auvergne.
These are the churches:
- Church of Saint Astremonius in Issoire, 12th century;
- Church of St. Nectarius, in the city with the same name. Also dates from the 12th century;
- Basilica of Our Lady of Orcival in Orcival, also of the 12th century and Romanesque as the previous two;
- Clermont-Ferrand Gothic Cathedral;
- Basilica of Our Lady of Port, also in Clermond-Ferrand. It was built and rebuilt in Romanesque style between the 6th and 12th centuries;
- Cathedral of Saint-Flour. Built between 1398 and 1466 in Gothic style.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Villars Cave - France

I like to visit caves and it seems that Damien likes caves too. Not so long ago he sent me a Lascaux caves card and this time he sent this one of Villars Cave. 

The Villars Cave is one of Perigord’s largest underground networks with, up until today, about 13 km of explored ground. 

Edition Christophe Levillain
The underground river has dug enormous rooms linked to each other by passages. The infiltration waters have created fantastic natural scenery. 
The prehistoric paintings were discovered in 1958 and are the legacy of the art of our ancestors.
More than 19000 years ago, the Cro-Magnon men frequented the Cluzeau massif. They were nomad hunter-gatherers. These prehistoric men developed a complex cultural world which was expressed through artistic expression.
In Villars, the prehistoric artists used manganese (black natural pigment) which was reduced to a powder and combined with a binder. Some paintings, such as the rotunda of horses is covered by a fine film of calcite, giving it its specific blue hue.
On it, there are many horses as well as ibexes and buffaloes, it is one of the rare human representations of prehistoric art. - in:

Alquezar - Spain

Every now and then Celina goes on short but great trips to Spain. In September she went to Aragon region and a few days ago she sent to Andalucia. 
In September she sent me thos great cards from Alquezar, a town in Huesca province, Aragon region. 

Ediciones Sicilia S. A.
Alquezar is an attractive Moorish village situated on the canyon of the Rio Vero in the Sierra de Guara national park. 
Alquezar has lovely, narrow, arcaded lanes which wind up hill to the Moorish citadel set on a rocky outcrop with views down over the village and the river below. Alquezar is entered throug a Gothic gate and then ambling through the narrow streets is like stepping back in time. The ancient town square is surrounded by arcaded houses
The citadel (castle) was built in the 8th century. Christians took the castle and village in the 11th century and built the Collegiate church of Santa Maria la Mayor in the 12th century. Only the cloister with carved capitals remains from this time and the current church is 16th century. - in:

Monday, October 9, 2017

Camino de Santiago symbols

Every year thousands of pilgrims and hikers make their way to Santiago de Compostela. This is something I'd like to do someday, just don't know when. Óscar would like to do the Camino too. This postcard he sent shows some of the symbols connected with this network of pilgrims' ways.

© Ediciones A. M. Fotos: N. Benitez; P. Bucero; A. Murillo; A. Badía y D. Acevedo
* Stylized Scallop - Universal symbol as identification of the Way of Saint James. Being an element of identification, it represents schematically the convergence of the various European routes to the city of Santiago de Compostela. In some situations, the stylized viera, as well as identifying element, can be assumed as a guiding element of the route for the pilgrim. In the latter case, the application of this symbol may be positioned in the following direction;
* Santiago Cross - is a Latin cross simulating a sword-shaped lily. It is believed to have originated in the time of the Crusades. The three lilies represent the irreproachable honor which refers to the character traits of the apostle James. The sword represents the noble character of St. James and the way he was martyred, beheaded by a sword.
Yellow Arrow - very popular symbol  among the current pilgrims as a guiding element of the course to follow. Elías Valiña, priest in Cebreiro (Spain), was the pioneer in the application of a sign with yellow arrows as a support to the pilgrims who got lost in this locality. Nowadays the use of the yellow arrow is present in almost all the ways towards Santiago de Compostela. For this reason, this symbol became universal with the pilgrims of Santiago.