Saturday, August 27, 2016

Days 4 and 5 - Asolo, Bassano di Grappa, Marostica and a painting day

This post really should be titled "the big lunch"!  Heading to the foothills of the Dolomite mountains, we first visited the city of Bassano di Grappa, famous for ceramics, grappa and the Palladio designed bridge over the Brenta River.  Before heading to the center of Marostica we stopped at a somewhat unassuming restaurant called 'I Rusteghi', Via Stroppari,8-36063.  It was a feast of gigantic proportions.  We thought it was just for pizza.  None of us knew it was a 5-course feast with all the wine, etc. you could drink and was part of our package. The quality as well as the quantity was superlative! This may be the most memorable part of the trip.  I have to say it was a little too early in the day for me to eat so much.  We had a number extra lunches on this trip, all very special.
After a quick stop to the town to see where the biennial human chess match takes place, we were off to the beautiful medieval hillside town of Asolo where only 5 of us made the arduous climb to the mountain top.  (Don't do it, there was nothing much up there.)
The first painting day.  After breakfast most of the painters disbursed around the grounds and painted, some did one before lunch and one after lunch, others relaxed, read, swam in the pool.  I'm in the relaxed group.  There was a crit before dinner and there was a good number of paintings presented. I love the fresh food we eat here in Italy.

This was the unassuming facade of the great "Big Lunch" restaurant.
The photos above are taken during that great multi-course lunch.  

This sweet lady picked me up along the road and drove me to the base of the mountain trail.  She didn't speak any English.
Top of the mountain.
Attendant who wanted about 2 euro to go into this empty building at the end of the path up the mountain, like the size of a small park, to climb up two flights of stairs which would put me at the viewing tower.  No, I didn't pay. I could see just fine from where I was. 
The top of the mountain was just around this bend.  They did a nice job of improving the path here.  Did I mention it was in the mid-90's?  Hot.

We sat in a sidewalk cafe here in the center of Asolo.
Margaret's painting tours are in two sections.  I was in the first section.  The second section was here at the time of the chess game and was to attend it.  We saw the preparations being done.
 Ponte Vecchio (Italian, meaning Old bridge)
People on the bridge which was designed by the architect Andrea Palladio in 1569 .

Days 1, 2,& 3 - Venice 2016

Getting here - the flight
Day 1 - arriving in Venice
Day 2 - full day on my own 
Day 3 - leaving Venice, meeting the group

I tried to be brief when I wrote the first one hour version of this post at the airport (a draft which I didn't save) and I hate to write things twice, so here is a very brief version:
Getting here
The plane trip was FULL of delays, and I got here about 6 hours later than I should have.  
Day 1- Arriving in Venice
I carefully planned to stay at a hotel located on all the water stops, but it was closed for the first two days of my stay, and I had to drag my 50 lb. bag a distance from where the airport boat landed--up over and down several bridges.  That felt really great after a horrible plane trip.  And I was advised at the airport upon finding out that my stop was closed to take the wrong boat that goes all over creation--an extra hour.    The good news is that I got the right boat back to the airport from right at the hotel. 
I arrived at the hotel that first day at 5:30 pm, repacked, showered, and went out to traipse around and get my bearings for the next day's activities.
Day 2- full day in Venice
Ate a great breakfast at hotel the Accademia Museum, took the BEST walking food tour, visited the Guggenheim Museum boat to S. Marco Sq. and walked all over that district.
Day -3 Leaving Venice, meeting the group
Returning to Marco Polo Airport was a breeze since the boat stop was opened, got there early, their plane was on time, but they had a hang up with their luggage and it took 2 hours to be on our way to our hotel.  It was truly "old home week" seeing everyone again! 
We had our Apero (cocktail hour) at 4 and dinner at 7:30.
The 4-star hotel's beautiful tiles and great fixtures.

Typical canal in my hotel's area, Dorsoduro. (green on map)
Related image

Pigments in art store window.  

Typical campo (field or square) They used to be an open field area.
Every area has one when there are many streets intersecting.

This is the area at the end of the Dorsoduro neighborhood.
S. Marco is on the other side of this canal (Grand Canal) just a little way further down.
These next few are in S. Marco Sq.

This is the courtyard and entrance to my hotel, Palazzo Stern.
This courtyard fronts on the Grand Canal.
I love the Italian breakfast buffet with just about any item you may want or think of having:
Beautiful china and real silver and those individual jelly jars and fresh flowers.
This is my FAVORITE painting.  It is immense.  Last time I was here I took a photo with my friend stnding under it to show the scale.  I love the colors, the values, the design, the all over impact, the storyline, I want to know more about it, more about the artist, why it was created and where it hung, etc.  Some works in this museum (The Accademia) are very very large, and I can't imagine how they were moved and installed here.  That is a story of it's own.  In fact, they are now doing a restoration on some works of  Jheronomus Boch, and they have a wonderful video presentation about it that I hope is also on YouTube.

This is another great painting at The Accademia and this artist
was making a marvelous colored painting of a section of it on his tablet.

One of the many stops on the excellent food and walking tour I was on.  
I discovered on this tour that you can ask for Cafe Correcto, which means a splash of liquor added. :)
The mask shop we visited that is listed as one of the best.  All made here on location from scratch. The story of the fiesta is very interesting and they last about a month.  
This woman and her husband operate the food tour.
This is the front entrance to the wonderful restaurant where we ate a fish pasta dish that was out of this world.
I later returned to it and ate outside as you will see if you read the whole story of this trip.

The locals get their wine at shops like this in each neighborhood, where they bring their bottle for a refill.
It is VERY inexpensive as you can see.
This Frank Stella is in the Peggy Guggenheim Museum's side exhibition.  Frank was born in the city I grew up in.  I like this particular painting, and there was a nice description of it explaining that the gray bands went from lighter to darker as it descended towards the center whereas the colors went from brighter and lighter to duller and darker as they came from the center outwards. 
I liked this sculpture, in fact I liked this entire exhibition, another one at the Guggenheim.
I was studying the design of this entry and took a photo and a selfie at the same time.
Women's shoes in the window, their euro is only slightly higher than our dollar at this time.
Another great breakfast!