Well Portofino is probably the most photographed fishing village on the Italian Riviera! Whatever you have in mind, relaxing is in store since there is not much to actually DO here! Be prepared to just stroll around the boutiques, the harbor and walk up to Castello Brown maybe and of course, don’t forget people watch!
The yachts that grace this picturesque harbor are luxurious to say the least but it is also full of small fishing boats. Don’t forget this was always a fishing village!
It is worth the short hike up to Chiesa di San Giorgio and Castello Brown. The views from both spots will not disappoint you!
Chiesa di San Giorgio has had a commanding presence over Portofino and the Ligurian Sea since it was constructed in 1154 or perhaps even earlier. This Romanesque church was sadly bombed during WWII and then reconstructed in 1950.
Castello Brown was well suited as a defensive site and was used as such since the 15th century. There are 2 methods to ascent to the Castle. You can walk up the steep staircase or take the winding path up. We walked up the stairs and down the path which opens up the best panoramic views of this town.
Don’t miss a chance to walk around this picture perfect town! The brightly colored buildings just beckon you in. Sit and sip in the Piazzetta or at a seaside bar in the U-shaped harbor or grab some gelato, always a favorite.
Don’t miss the Chiesa di San Martino in town with its beautiful bronze doors is just up the hill off the Piazza. Note the mosaic on the landing made from rocks gathered on the shore.
Portofino is a very convenient day trip from Genoa, Milan, the Cinque Terre or the towns just above it of Santa Margherita Ligure and Rapallo. We made Santa Margherita Ligure our home base to travel the Riviera heading to The Cinque Terre, Portofino and exploring the wonderful town of Santa Margherita Ligure.
If you are looking for luxury; look no further in Portofino than the Belmond Hotel Splendido. This is a luxury hotel built in the 1920’s and sits on a hill overlooking the sea and its lovely gardens.
Okay I know you are thinking: WHAT!!! It’s still summer, but in many parts of the country bulbs go in the garden in the fall from late September until frost so start perusing those catalogs now and get your orders in. If you have favorites, you’ll want to order them quickly in case those special bulbs get sold out!
If you are on Instagram you can’t miss all those lovely photos of fields upon fields of tulips just waiting to be sent to us 🙂
Here are just a few varieties and collections for you to consider when planning your spring garden. Combine Daffodils, Muscari, Alliums, Hyacinths, Tulips, and Camassia for a long lasting display!
In their effort to make the world a more beautiful place the owners of Lavender Pond Farm have created a little slice of heaven right here in Connecticut on 25 acres now filled with all sorts of lavender varieties.
Located in Killingworth, CT the Farm caters to lavender and garden lovers alike. Lavender typically blooms from June into August but can last later depending on the weather. With almost 10,000 plants in the fields there are 12 varieties including: Grosso, Munstead, Edelweiss, Hidcote Giant and Provence.
Children old and young enjoy walking thru the fields, taking their family photos and just enjoying the outdoors. Check out the Rooster and his harem or play some chess on the life size board.
To help with the necessary pollination they have honey bees which play an important role.
Recently they built an authentic covered bridge on the property and there is a lovely gazebo to sit and just surround yourself in this sea of lavender! Stay tuned as they are planning to open a bed and breakfast!
Want to take some home? No problem, they sell lavender plants and a variety of lavender based products in their on-site shop, including sachets, soaps, scrubs, linen sprays, oils and lavender lemonade to name a few.
“Memories are not the key to the past, but to the future.” Corrie Ten Boom
People ask me why I do what I do and why am I so passionate about it?
Those who are gone are not forgotten! They are always with us in our hearts and minds. I spoke to my mother almost every single day of my life until she died unexpectedly of Lymphoma. I desperately wish I had more photographs to remember her vitality and joie-de-vivre and to eventually share with my grandchildren. The same goes for my Dad and grandmother.
“Take care of your memories for you cannot relive them.” Bob Dylan
Don’t make the mistakes many of us make. I was always the one who wanted to take photographs so I wasn’t usually in the picture. If I was busy, playing hostess or dancing at a wedding, I often let it slip. I usually asked someone else to do it but it wasn’t their priority so once again… ‘no pictures’. Even if you only have a smartphone, snap away! They take great photos! One of my sons captures moments and memories through his music and these tell ‘his’ stories. My passion and inspiration is gardening and I capture the moments through my photography. Capture the moment and the memory forever!
Cherish your memories and visit them often and share them! Record the memories and the events of your life! They are the key to the future of your family. Look for the happy moment in each when you look at your photos. What was it that inspired you to take that picture?
What inspires you? Is it writing, music, running, playing an instrument, poetry, sports, photography or gardening?
“Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming!” Joseph B. Wirthlin
My parents gifted me money to get my landscaping well under way. I had just purchased my dream house and I wanted the gardens established quickly. I wish I had found the time to take more photographs to preserve my memories. It was never the right time! That was 2005 and through an unfortunate set of “wrong place”, “wrong time” we lost the house in a foreclosure that occurred when my husband and I lost a company we had purchased prior to the recession of 2008. Sadly, our homes were collateral for our business and a 50 year old company disappeared almost before our very eyes. I never took enough photos and was thinking I would wait until the garden grew into itself. I always thought “tomorrow” would be soon enough. I wished I had taken more photographs of my dream house and gardens.
Now they are a memory only to me! The following is an excerpt from a song in the movie Yentl called A Piece of Sky that has always had great significance for me. There is so much to experience in this world. Why ever stop searching for it all? I will always want to experience more!
“No matter where I go,
There’ll be memories that tug at my sleeve,
But there will also be more to question,
Yet more to believe…” Yentl – Barbra Streisand
I may have lost my dream house but the truth is I can create another garden and another memory TODAY! What memories would you recreate TODAY if you could?
Photos are our connection to our past but we don’t always know what those connections are. It’s wonderful to look back but we must look forward. What are the photographs you are going to take NOW? This is what being alive is about our opportunities from now on! What will those photos mean to us and future generations? We must put mindfulness and intention into them. How will your grandchildren and great-grandchildren know you? Will they see your sense of style and your personality in those photos you leave behind? Tell your stories through your photographs and not just in the ones you have already taken, but in the photos you have yet to take! What was important to you may be important to them and they didn’t know there was a connection. Are you a painter or a gardener? Was your great grandfather a painter too or do your children share your passion for gardening?
“Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.” Rosa Parks
When I look back through old photographs I see images that make me laugh, like bad hairdos, or make me cry, like my Mom in the hospital dying but ALWAYS, ALWAYS I remember the wonderful, loving times of them all and I can laugh. Laughter is a key ingredient to finding happiness. Laugh at the absurd and at yourself … often! I try not to take myself too seriously as life is so unpredictable. Just when we think we have it figured out, it fools us again. We can’t take life for granted though! Don’t take nature for granted! Nature goes through cycles like life! Spring is a time for reawakening and every year we have a chance to start fresh. Keep exploring, seek out new experiences and opportunities. Keep believing and sharing with those you love. Those moments of sharing forever bind us to our loved ones. They comfort and sustain us in times of sorrow and are the cornerstones of great joy.
Just a short drive from Philadelphia, Chanticleer is one of the great gardens in this area. Once the Rosengarten estate, today Chanticleer is a contemporary garden situated in a historic setting. Garden Design magazine has dubbed this “America’s most inspiring garden.”
“The Chanticleer estate dates from the early 20th-century, when land along the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad was developed for summer homes to escape the heat of Philadelphia. Adolph Rosengarten, Sr., and his wife Christine chose the Wayne-St. Davids area to build their country retreat. The family’s pharmaceutical firm would become part of Merck in the 1920s.”
They purchased a neighboring property in 1933. It is now the site of the Minder Ruin Garden composed of three “rooms”. The Great Hall; The Library; and The Pool Room
As you leave the Ruins you enter the Gravel Garden filled with orange butterfly weed, grasses, Alliums and a variety of other plants including Yuccas.
Daughter Emily’s house, located at today’s visitor entrance, was built for her in 1935. It is presently used for offices and classrooms. Here is another house on the property.
The heirs left the entire property for the enjoyment of the public The garden opened to the public in 1993. If you are in the area and are visiting gardens be sure to check out both Chanticleer and Longwood Gardens.
First thing upon arriving, after we were challenged by the hordes of traffic for The International Motorcycle Show and Motor Bike Expo, we made our way to the river and the Museo di Castelvecchio. This 14th century fortified castle houses artifacts from the Middle Ages. There are seven towers and even a draw bridge!
The Ponte Scaligero runs from Castelvecchio castle across the river and is a very distinctive bridge landmark in Verona. The segmented arch bridge crossing the Adige River was the world’s largest span at the time of its construction in 1354. Along the river bank there are walking trails surrounding the city. The Scaligeri family ran Venice and the Veneto region in the 14th century much like the Medici’s ruled over Florence. The castle has ornate tombs and towering family statues on pillars. This so the people would “look up to them”. Verona was, after all, one of Italy’s great powers.
Views from the Ponte Scaligero towards the Basilica di San Zeno
From the Ponte Scaligero you can see to the Ponte della Vittoria (see Featured photo) which also spans the Adige River. There are equestrian statues on either end and the view from the bridge back to the Ponte Scaligero and the Castelvecchio especially at sunset was amazing. Since I got over there just before sunset I was too intent on the sunset over the Ponte Scaligero to capture the statues. Next time!
The Ponte Pietra, Verona’s oldest bridge is a Roman-era stone bridge and you definitely want to walk across and up the hill to see the sunset and the views from the Castel San Pietro. The bridge itself is very picturesque both day and night and affords some beautiful photo opportunities as you look up and down the river from the top of the bridge. Built in the 1st century B.C. it is the most ancient Roman monument in Verona.
Duomo Di Verona is the city’s cathedral and can easily be reached from the Ponte Pietra. It was constructed on the remains of two earlier churches that were destroyed in the earthquake of 1117. An absolutely beautiful church in the historic medieval center. The Basilica has striped brick and stone walls not unlike other churches I have seen throughout Italy.
Basilica di Santa Anastasia is the most important religious monument in the Gothic style in Verona. Funded by the Scaligeri family it was built around 1290.
Verona’s majestic Basilica Di San Zeno dates from the 12th century in Piazza San Zeno. The Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore is a striking landmark especially when viewed from the across the river. This Romanesque church’s bronze doors have 48 carved panel Bible Scenes and beautiful frescoes inside from the 12th – 15th centuries.
Chiesa dei Santi Apostoli, is an ancient Roman Catholic church built in the early 12th century on a pre-exiting Roman cemetery. Located right near the Porta dei Borsari mentioned in the previous blog on the Corso Cavour. A striking Veronese Romanesque bell tower stands apart from the church.
Did you miss the last 2 blogs on Verona? Romeo, Romeo and Verona’s Bridges? Link to them to read more about this lovely city.
You know how the story goes…. those unforgettable words spoken by Juliet from that famous balcony supposedly in Verona- not really! Very touristy spot! I skipped Casa di Giulietta. There were however two real feuding families in Verona called the Capuleti’s and the Montecchi’s. Juliet never lived in the 1300’s Gothic style house so popular with tourists in Verona. Instead to show their love the tradition of putting a padlock on the wall was to show that couples were locked together. Well we know how that ancient story by Shakespeare ended. Okay enough about them!
In Northern Italy’s Veneto region, at the base of the alps, Verona was actually the setting for 3 of Shakespeare’s plays. It is one of the 7 Provincial Capitals of the Veneto region and the 2nd largest city in the region as well as the third largest in Northeast Italy where it winds around the Adige River. It was an ideal stop before heading over the Alps. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its urban structures and architecture.
First thing upon arriving we made our way to the river and Castelvecchio. This 14th century fortified castle houses artifacts from the Middle Ages. There are seven towers and even a draw bridge. It was an important military stronghold of the Scaligeri family. Today it houses a museum.
Verona’s Centro Storico, its medieval center was centered around the Piazza dell Erbe the oldest piazza in the city originally the town’s forum during Roman times. Today there are vendors selling a variety of goods, souvenirs, fruits and vegetables surrounded by restaurants, palazzos, and shops.
Standing tall in the Piazza is the Torre dei Lamberti with its octagonal bell tower and bronze doors depicting Biblical stories and old bells from the 15th century. Originally constructed in 1172 it is the tallest medieval tower in Verona and offers panoramic views of the city. Today the Piazza is the home to markets but back in the 15th century it was home to the vegetable market and the fountain that still stands at its center – Fontana Madonna.
Piazza dei Signoria, another city square has a statue of Dante Alighieri, Renaissance Palazzos as well as magnificent churches. It is lovely to just hang out in the these Piazza’s, visit with friends and of course drink an aperitivo! Of course, this is Grappa country! The longer it ages the smoother it gets. Who knew!
The Verona Arena is a 1st century Roman amphitheater and very well preserved and Verona’s most famous monument. It is the third largest Roman amphitheater after the Colosseum and the Arena of Capua. It is always amazing to me to walk the ancient streets in these cities where the Romans once walked and gladiators fought. Today the Arena is used for opera concerts. If you are lucky enough to find yourself there in summer plan to attend the Opera festival. The Arena is located in the largest square in the historic center in Piazza Bra. Another lovely spot to sit and enjoy the cafes, the company and the atmosphere. Just take it all in and don’t be in a hurry! Savor this opportunity.
Enter the city through the Porta Borsari- the ancient Roman gate that once marked the southern entrance into the city and was the main gate. Verona successfully marries the old and the new. You are at once transported back to Roman times while shopping at new high end boutiques.
The Roman Arena constructed in the 1st century of pink marble was the 8th largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire and actually predates the Coliseum in Rome.
Castel San Pietro, begun way back in 1851, sits high above the city. This was an Austrian military installation and was used to control the city during the Austrian occupation.
Teatro Romano is Verona’s most ancient structure built at the end of the 1st century B.C. It sits right below Castel San Pietro across the Ponte Pietra. Today it is used for events like the Shakespeare Festival.
Chiesa Di San Giorgio sits along the river and can be seen from the Castel San Pietro. The views from up there were amazing in every direction! There was quite a gathering waiting for sunset!
If you have time, try to visit the Palazzo Giardino Giusti (Palace and Garden) widely considered one of the finest examples of an Italian garden. This garden, a masterpiece of Renaissance landscaping planted in 1580 combines manicured and natural cypresses and a parterre. Sadly, I did not have time to get over there. As a garden designer I would have loved to see this but there’re only so many hours in a day, right!
This is not a small city but I found it very walkable. I wish I had more time to explore, but more next time. Always a reason to return! Did you miss the other blogs on Verona?
Thank you again to my friend Kris Beal who happened to be in Verona about the same time as I was and she did manage to capture Juliet’s balcony when I couldn’t get there. Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/krismbeal
One of the private gardens open this year for Trade Secrets was Coltsfoot Garden in Cornwall, CT. This is an enchanting cottage garden that along with the colonial home has been in this family for almost 100 years. Upon arrival you are immediately dawn in by the multi-colored lilac trees surrounding the garden, the crabapple trees and the surrounding landscape. This is Litchfield county CT at its finest.
The garden while formal in structure is welcoming and plants are encouraged to self sow wherever they can find a spot.
There is a newly added second vegetable garden placed closer to the house, surrounded by a picket fence, gravel paths and artful colorscaping of vegetables like asparagus, lettuces, peas, beans, tomatoes, peppers and rhubarbs. Plants are staked using branches and twigs in artful and rustic ways.
There are perennial gardens framing a neighbor’s old barn featuring boxwood, peonies, crabapple trees, dwarf Alberta Spruce, roses, irises, bachelor buttons, spurge, and daylilies which create a delightfully soft, uncluttered effect.
Gravel paths are created in a geometric pattern to facilitate your winding your way throughout with their edges being blurred by lady’s mantle, nepeta (my favorite plant) and others.
This is another garden area with an ingenious method of taming climbing vines. This garden features, raspberries, vegetables, peonies for cut flowers. I suggest if you love to have cut flowers in your home and hate the idea of cutting in your ornamental beds that you plant a separate area for cutting flowers both perennial and annuals for all season flowers. Don’t forget to use your greens like hostas, astible, solomon’s seal, grasses and branches etc. to fill in.
This couple lovingly maintains the property coaxing dahlias, hydrangeas, lilacs and roses to thrive year after year. The formal yet informal design of the garden allows for times of not too much fuss!
Thank you to the Hubbard’s for opening their garden to us for Trade Secrets Open Garden Tours 2017. Can’t wait for 2018!
I have written many times over the years about the Trade Secrets event which takes place in mid-May each year. You can read more about this fabulous event in previous blogs.