If you are a world traveler, a lover of art and have someone special with oddball, special sensitivities--just like you--then perhaps here is a gift your lover will really love. A fully articulated Michelangelo's David Action Figure by Figma. Well know to nerds and comic book fans worldwide, Figma produces both static and pose-able action figures of nearly every type of pulp, TV and movie hero. But now, in their Table Museum series, they are offering several classical art sculptures as articulated models.
The David is the fourth artwork to join the series along with Venus de Milo and Rodin's The Thinker. David has smooth, pose-able joints that can move from his classic pose to an endless variety of action poses. Even his eyes can be moved to change the direction of his gaze. A special base and arm parts are included for the classic pose, but various other hand parts are also included. His sling is also included, allowing you to pose him ready to take a shot.
The first in the their series was the Le Penseur (The Thinker) by Rodin. For the first time after pondering his problem, the Thinker can actually get up and do something about it! But for Valentine's Day, perhaps you'd like to see him with a special someone... How about a wonderful Goddess from the Greek island of Milos--Venus herself. Of course, you'd get the classic upper torso without arms, but in her kit you also get additional parts such as her missing arm parts, an apple and various hand parts.
Pose your Venus with the bronzed body of Thinker or pair her with The David. Either way, these are unique gifts for that special someone who is also an art lover.
Available on Amazon.
Happy Valentine's Day...
"We Three", as we call ourselves, want to wish all of our Grand Voyage Italy amici a very Merry Christmas and a Safe, Healthy, Prosperous and Happy New Year. We want to thank you all for your interest in what we offer in our little corner of Mondo Italiano.
Much like preparing for the Holiday Season itself, what we do here is an act of love and faith: Love of everything Italian and the faith that we can live la Vita Bella no matter where we live, whether or not we've ever been to Italy, or with hopes that someday we can visit la Bel Paese for the first time, for the tenth time or perhaps for the rest of our lives.
So, for this Natale, embrace your family and friends, forgive any transgressions of the past, share the heritage of both the food and traditions; like the Night of the Seven Fishes or playing tombola with grandparents and the little ones, or having some panettone with espresso on Christmas morning while the lids open their presents. Remember those who have gone before us and who inspired and passed along these traditions. Just don't forget to score those chestnuts with a sharp knife before roasting!
All our love and friendship...
Lisa, Lucas and Jerry Finzi
There is a reason people have flocked to la bel Paese as part of their Grand Tour in the nineteenth century and are still doing it today. Tourists gather en masse in hopes of discovering the romance, history and beauty of Italy. Blame the artists. That's right, the romantic movement in art filled the salons, galleries and the homes of the elite (who could actually afford a "Grand Tour" for a year or more) and in essence promoted the beauty of Italia. Here are a dozen of what I consider the most beautiful and romantic of this type of painting... who wouldn't want to travel to Italy after seeing the grandeur?
I stumbled across the compelling videos of Andrea Giraldo on Facebook this week. Both his Facebook page and You Tube channel share the name, Il Mio Viaggio a New York, and contain many videos of an Italian's look at tourist sites and everyday life in and around the Big Apple. He speaks in Italian, but the visuals tell his story well enough. Here are a couple of my favorites...
The first is when he visits a "Chuck and Cheese" (as he pronounced it), a kid's party and game venue for the "working class"....
The next video is his visit to a street vendor selling hot tins for lunch. As most Italians take 2-3 hours to go home for lunch (their riposa) he must be in shock with the long lines of people getting take out food from a cart and gobbling their lunches down in 10 minutes while sitting on ledges on the sidewalks of Manhattan.
Visit his You Tube channel for many more of his interesting videos:
Il Mio Viaggio a New York.
There are industrial creations that become iconic images in our minds and in history... the VW Beetle, the iPod, the Moka coffee pot, the Coca Cola bottle, the Fiat 500 (Cinquecento). Many have become inspiration for artists worldwide.
One more comes to mind: The Vespa motor scooter.
The classic shape of the Vespa has been around since 1946, evolving in design over the years by its parent company, Piaggio, but keeping its basic elements: a unibody with covered engine and wheels, a two-person boat-shaped seat, a flat floorboard with cyclops headlight and a fairing to protect legs from the weather.
Many use the bodies of their scooters as their canvases, while others prefer to interpret the iconic shape of the Vespa in other mediums. They have been painted, bejeweled, sculpted, photographed and made into jewelry. Right now we will take a look at the art of mosaic, where cut pieces of tiles or stone used--some mosaics created on the vehicles themselves.
Finally, there is this amazing mosaic illustration by Chris Sumka, an amazing mosaic artist from Edmundton, Alberta, Canada. Chris uses ceramic tiles and natural stone in his pieces. He often has existing creations for sale but also works on commissioned assignments.
Wrinkled skin, warts, black shawl, flying broomstick... sounds scary, right? Such a witch on a flying broom would strike fear in the hearts of most children, but not in Italy, and not on January 6th, the Epiphany (Epifania in Italian) .
This witch--la Befana--comes down chimneys and leaves gifts for children. And if they've been bad, she'll leave a lump of black coal... but she's usualy compelled to leave a black sugar lump rather than real coal. She's that good!
Since the 13th century, La Befana has been leaving her presents in children's stockings, but her story goes back much further than that. La Befana was stopped by the Three Wise Men and asked her to lead them to the manger and stable where baby Jesus was born. La Befana was so nasty and shoved them away without helping. But seeing the Christmas Star in the sky, she was drawn to find the reason for their quest and brought her own gifts for the Baby Jesus. Although she followed the Star, she wandered without finding Him. To this day, she flies around the world in search of that special child, and just in case she misses him, she leaves gifts for each and every child to make up for her past indiscretion.
In just about every town in Italy there will be celebrations, feasts, parades, marching bands, flying witches, floating witches, puppet witches and witches brooms and black cats everywhere...
On January 6, children will find their stockings filled with presents... and also discover that all too suddenly (at least to an Italian child), the Christmas season comes to a close. Some slices of sweet panettone, a cup of cioccolata calda, and playing a few rounds of tombola with the famiglia after playing with their new toys, and this magical Natale season tucks gently into their lifelong memories...
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Greccio is a small town near Rieti, where St Francis conceived the first living nativity scene ever made in history, in 1223. To keep this tradition alive, the inhabitants of Greccio recreate this live nativity scene every year since 1973, a great event one might participate during Christmas time.
Click on the Photo Above to play the video.
In Italy the crisis began on February 1, 1956; on February 2, the Po Valley was below a -15°C, and snow storms were all over the North. Rome experienced a snowfall that became historic.
On February 4, snow was falling over most of Italy, and new ice-cold currents hit the Adriatic region reaching a peak on Feb. 7, when a powerful cold core struck the southern regions.
On 8 February, a new low pressure between Corsica and Tuscany again caused heavy snowfalls in Rome and throughout central and southern Italy, with blizzards and freezing temperatures, frost and snow. In those days it snowed even on the Sicilian coast. In Palermo, the minimum temperature went down to 0° C (32° F) and the city was blanketed over and again by several centimeters of snow, which also fell on the southern coasts of Sicily and the island of Lampedusa.
On 13 February new ice-cold currents came from the Rhone valley, resulting in rigid temperatures that struck the north of Italy and led to new snowfalls especially on the Marche, Umbria and Tuscany, moving the day after southward, while the regions of the north and centre were enveloped by frost. In the next days frost and snow continued, with new snowfall from February 18 until February 20 on the whole north and centre, and even in Rome.
In many mountain towns of Abruzzo, as well as in alleys of the historical centre of L'Aquila, people moved only through tunnels excavated through the huge snow heaps. With the new snowstorms many places became unreachable: Ovindoli, Campo di Giove, Campotosto, Castel del Monte, Pizzoferrato, Gamberale. Civitaluparella at 903 meters (2962 ft). SOme were isolated for over ten days, partly because of a large avalanche in the vicinity. At Pescina, just over 700 meters (2296 ft) of altitude, in some spots the snow had reached 23 ft deep, halting the Avezzano-Sulmona railroad.
While La Bafana, the good Christmas Witch is something only found in Italy, Santa is really the same all over the world, but in Italy, his name is Babbo Natale--Daddy Christmas. Babbo Natale is who we call Santa Claus in the States, or Saint Nick or more formally, Saint Nicholas, but his roots are in many European countries' traditional folklore. To the French, he is Pere Noël (Father Christmas), Father Christmas in England, Julenisse (Christmas Elf) in Scandanavia , Sinterklaas in the Netherlands, and Sankt Nikolaus or Weihnachtsmann in Germany.
All children know that Santa Claus comes from the North Pole, is bearded and overweight and that on Christmas Eve brings presents to children around the world traveling on a sleigh pulled by reindeer. They also know that he is magic--the reason why he can pull off this time-stopping feat, somehow getting into each and every house, whether or not it has a chimney. But the idea of Santa Claus was really born on the shores of the Mediterranean, evolves later on in Northern Europe and assumes its final form (Santa Claus) in the New World as an advertising gimmick.
Santa Claus, as we know him today in American, was made popular throughout the world by Coca Cola ads and Clement Moore's story "A Visit from St. Nicholas" ('Twas the Night Before Christmas) so there are many similarities. They all are kind and give presents. Most wear red. Some are fat and short, others are thinner and taller.
Santa has a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer, and so does Babbo Natale. Their names are a bit different, though: Cometa, Ballerina, Fulmine, Donnola, Freccia, Saltarello, Donato, Cupido (in place of our Comet, Dancer, Dasher, Prancer, Vixen, Donder, Blitzen, Cupid).
In reality, in the beginning there was St. Nicholas, a greek born around 280 AD who became bishop of Myra, a Roman town in the south of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). Nicholas earned a reputation as a fierce defender of the Christian faith in the years of persecution and spent many years in prison. None of the early representations of St. Nicholas look fat and jolly. As recently proven by forensic anthropological studies of the saint's actual remains resting in a cathedral in Bari, Puglia, Nicholas was an thin, old man, with olive skin, a broken nose with a beard and gray hair. So much for that jolly, red nose and rosey cheeks.