A Place, a Painting, a Drink and a Platter. No 4 –Northern Italy!
For this post in this series on food and drink and scenery we are heading off to Northern Italy, well a few parts of it anyway. In Part two we will visit the Veneto area and Sicily.
Lago di Como
Our first stop is the beautiful Lake Como, a truly magnificent area of Northern Italy.
The sparkling waters of the Lake , which is surrounded by impressive mountains and then by the shore there are many delightful towns and villages.
We most recently stayed in Cernobbio where the town nestles against the southern end if the lake.
One evening we ate in a really very good and ever so friendly restaurant in the town called “Osteria del Beuc”. Amongst a delightful selection of food we enjoyed some great lake perch,lightly pan fried and really great.
We washed it down with some excellent Gavi di Gavi chilled white Italian wine.
It was a memorable evening enjoyed with great friends and we ended it with a stroll by the lake.
The next day we went in a motor launch along the lake, taking in the sights and lunching at Bellagio, a really lovely town, only rivalled in the area by Varenna.
There are so many great sights along the Lake with many famous gardens and Villas.
Here are some watercolours of Lake Como, a place we look forward to returning to.
Just the word Tuscany brings back wonderful memories of holidays spent in the lovely part of Italy.
Everywhere you turn in Tuscany there are great scens to savour, let alone the food and the stunning wine.
It is a region we love from the treasures of Firenza to the towers of San Gimignano it is all very stunning. Not to mention Pas and Sienna to!
One town I have loved to paint in is Lucca with such an iconic oval Piazza surrounded by cafes and restaurants. I am pleased to say that quite a few people around the world have original watercolours, each one different naturally, of this scene.
Just to sit and enjoy a coffee and watch the world go by is enough there to give you a great sense on calm and pleasure.
The towers of San Gimignano are really quite amazing. Although many have disappeared the are still a lot to admire.
Over 500 years old in many cases they dominate this delightful town with its many restaurants, and even more tourists!
One real food highlight there was a gelato enjoyed in the main Piazza with the towers all around us.
Here are a few more watercolours of Tuscany which i hope you will enjoy.
In Part Two of this post we will visit Venice, and the adriatic coast before travelling down south to beautiful Sicily
i hope you are enjoying this very selective visit to Italy and much as I am
Lake Como and a week cruising the Rhine. Kinderdijk Update
We have just retuned from a great 10 days with some very good friends from a Viking cruise of the Rhine that started with 3 days at Lake Como in Italy.
We enjoyed really great weather and mostly blue skies and nice white clouds.
It was a trip that we had been looking forward to for quite a while and it was very good with the most spectacular views at Lake Come and on the Rhine.
Many photos were taken and each day I managed to find time to paint some watercolours of scenes we had seen as we travelled on the Viking Longship and on a smaller boat around Lake Como.
Most of these watercolours were sketch book size pen and ink studies which I hope will prove to be subjects for larger studio paintings in the future.
3 were larger 14 inch by 10 watercolours more traditionally painted with a few ink highlights. I have titled each one with their details.
The sparking water of Lake Como and the Rhine made the scenes really great and the Rhine Gorge area was spectacular with it’s many Castles and lovely towns by the river. Our lake trip around Lake Como was wonderful too with time at Bellagio and stops at many interesting vistas around the lake.
So here are my Watercolours of the trip, I do hope you like them as they were all fun to paint.
In Como itself we ascended the funicular to Brunate for Great Lake views but Como Town itself is a very nice and ancient place.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, better know as Como Cathedral, caught my eye and so this is the first watercolour.
A view of a lakeside residence from the Como to Cernobbio ferry is the subject of this next painting with a water fountain being enjoyed by some local boys.
On our way to Bellagio we paused at some great vistas. This very tiny town of Nesso with a waterfall cascading through it to the lake was just one of many.
Here is my interpretation of the scene
Bellagio is very nice lakeside town to wander around ,enjoy a coffee and the stunning views. From there you can see and visit Varenna
i have also painted these two larger watercolours of Varenna
They are both 14 by 10 inches on Arches NOT watercolour paper.
Here they are
Lastly while on Lake Como I painted this watercolour of a lovely town as seen from our tour boat. It is called San Giovanni. Really a lovely looking town but so far only seen from the water. Maybe on the next visit….
We eventually left Lake Como and were driven across the Alps to Lucerne. A truly spectacular drive over the passes and not through the tunnels.
We boarded the ship at Basel, itself a very lovely town but no paintings from there as yet
We traversed 600 miles of the Rhine to Amsterdam and the passage through the Rhine Gorge was terrific with many castles and towns to see.
These two painting are of Kaub Castle, Pfalz. This was once a tollgate on the Rhine and dates back many hundreds of years.
On the way to the Rhine Gorge we stopped at Strasbourg and took a detour to Heidelberg on the River Neckar. I managed a quick sketch of the impressive bridge at Heidelberg with its towers.
From the Rhine Gorge we travelled to Amsterdam and stopped at Kinderdijk to see the lovely windmills there. That painting and some others are now awaiting action in the studio so another Rhine post should be coming soon.There were so many wonderful scenes to paint that I may be busy for while!
And so here is an update. This watercolour was painted today. October 1st.
This is Kinderdijk in The Netherlands. Our final stop before Amsterdam
This watercolour is 14 by 10 inches on Rough watercolour paper.
Title : “Kinderdijk Windmills on a blustery evening”
Places I would really like to visit !! A occasional series of Watercolours. Number 1.
Followers of this site will know that I love to travel and to paint watercolours of the places that we have visited.
Occasionally I paint watercolours of places that I haven’t visited , but they may have been visited by friends or people who have asked me to paint a watercolour of a particular place.
Painting these watercolours always leads to me wishing that I might visit and holiday there and paint on the spot!
Sometimes just the planning can be a great way to get there ahead of yourself!
So I thought that now and again I would publish a blog post with a few of these “other places” for you to have look at too.
You could almost say this is my bucket list for the future, but in reality my bucket list is far longer than these watercolours portray.
Many thanks to all our friends ,colleagues, and family for these ideas of future travel and the pleasure that I have had painting “Watercolours from THEIR Travels”!
This month I have picked three places from the ever increasing list. The first one is of Lake Como in Italy, then the South Island of New Zealand, and finally Lake Bled in Slovenia.
First of all Lake Como
I painted this small watercolour as reminder for some friends who had sent me postcard of their stay in Bellagio. We have visited Lake Maggiore and Lake Garda which are very beautiful, but we have not yet been Lake Como. The town of Bellagio looks so delightful so I am sure it will make a great holiday destination, and a base for water taxis around the Lake.
The second place I have chosen for this months blog is in the South island of New Zealand. We have visited the South Island a few years ago and had a wonderful holiday there with friends playing golf and sightseeing, but we were there for only a few weeks and never made it to the Fox Glacier, or the Haast Highway as it winds its way through the Southern Alps of New Zealand . The Haast Highway is thus the subject of this painting. Again painted as a momento for some good friends who did manage to get there it tries to capture the scale on the huge mountains in that part of New Zealand.
Finally for this Post I have chosen a very beautiful place that I really do want to visit.
This is Lake Bled in Slovenia. We have visited the Coastal area of Slovenia, where we found the food and wine terrific and the people very friendly. It is beautiful Country. Two groups of our friends have been to Lake Bled and this larger painting tries to capture the beauty of the Church on the Island in Lake Bled. Bled Castle can be seen in the distance and the Julian Alps are behind.. The Church, a Pilgrimage one, is dedicated to the “Assumption of Mary” and is also used for weddings as well as visits. The church has a 52 m (171 ft) tower and there is a Baroque stairway built in 1655 with 99 stone steps leading up to the building. (don’t try to count my steps, they may not all be there!)
I hope you have enjoyed seeing these paintings of really nice places to visit. Some more another time.
Note to self…..I must get the planning underway!