Photo of the Day: welcome to Rajasthan

Dear Reader,

This is the I know spot used as a cover for Lonely Planet Rajasthan.

The door is found in the Pink City, Jaipur.

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The Smallest Theatre in the World

Yes dear Reader,
the smallest theatre (or theater) in the world is precisely in Italy, more specifically in a little town of Umbria. The Teatro della Concordia as we were saying

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The cutest little theatre you can imagine. it’s the smallest theatre not in terms of number of seats it offers but because it is the smallest architectonic representation of the typical Italian theatre of the 700th century. It is the typical teatro all’italiana in Goldioni style.

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Impressive affreschi decorate the ceiling of this marvellous theatre.

It was built by a bunch of rich families during the occupation of Napoleon and it officially opened in 1808.

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The thing is, dear Reader, that as you can imagine the name “smallest theatre on earth” sparked some considerable controversy as in fact many other theatres around the world claim the same record.

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This is a 2002 Italian post stamp showing the Teatro della Concordia

However, dear Reader, only Concordia is the true and faithful model of the great Italian and Europeans theatres. Here is why:

It has a bell-shaped floor plan, a proscenium, fresco decorations on the entire surface and in the foyer, dressing rooms, a meeting room, a grand staircase entrance, a lobby, a ticket booth…

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Travel Buddy gently offered to pose in this photo to give you an idea of the size of the theatre and the number of seats.

All the classic architectural elements of the “Italian theater” are here, thrown together in the cutest mini teeny tiny scale.

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Stanito is on stage to give you an idea of how petit it really is.

Teatro della Concordia has 99 seats squeezed in 68 square metres and the stage measures 50 metres with a foyer of about 30 metres.

Isn’t it adorable? 🙂

 

 

The Tiring Sagrada Familia

Dear Reader,

when you go to Spain and especially to Barcelona is sort of a must-see thing a visit to the Sagrada Familia basilica.
I have a strange feeling when it comes to visit super touristic places, like it happened in Beijing, so I had extra patience packed when I arrived in front of the basilica.

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The unfinished emblematic temple of Barcelona was lately under the hands and care of a Japanese architect so that he may finally put an end to its construction. In fact, apart from Gaudí, 3 architects put their dedication to it and yet the monument is still not finished…

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The 130-year master piece of art that is Barcelona’s Sagrada Família could soon reach an end, but I wonder, would Gaudí like it the way it is? Does the monument reflect his initial vision?

When he died he left large plaster models of the nave and of key elements. He also left drawings of the whole temple idea which included the famous cucumber tower everyone talks about but that is yet to be built. Seems like Gaudí himself changed his mind during the development of the church giving the idea that maybe during the progress he would have continued adding new elements or changing style direction.

Reason why I wanted to mention this monument is because of the tiring feeling it provoked in me.
The art nouveau gothic temple made my eyes feel very tired due to the extensive amount of details and the mix of styles of each architect confused my eyes and decreased my enthusiasm…

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If you count each row no matter which order you choose or direction, the sum will inevitably be 33, the age when Jesus died.

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Hagia Sophia: Islamic Calligraphy Roundels

Dear Reader,

Turkey is an astonishing country filled with cultures blended together and marked by wars and empire atmosphere can still be felt in the air.

Where do you see this majestic blend? Basically everywhere you walk although my favourite place still is the Hagia Sophia.
This temple was once a church, then mosque and then museum is known as Church of the Holy Wisdom or Hagia Sophia (Άγια Σοφία) in Greek, Sancta Sophia in Latin or Aya Sofya in Turkish, is a former Byzantine church and former Ottoman mosque in Istanbul. Now is mostly a museum and is globally acknowledged as one of the great buildings of the world.

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This is a photo I took of the interior view of the Hagia Sophia, showing Islamic elements on the top of the main dome which are called Roundels.

It is truly breathtaking and decorated with mihrabs, portals, domes, mosaics and urns.
Inside the monument I found 8 beautiful hanging medallions which are in fact known as Roundels. To me these medallions, added in the 19th century, represent a strong contrast with the Christian mosaics giving us an idea of how these religions blend in one place.
These roundels have Arabic calligraphy signs painted painted wooden plaques that were added in the 19th century as part of the restoration ordered by Sultan Abdülmecid and supervised by the Swiss-Italian architect brothers Gaspare and Giuseppe Fossati. The calligrapher is Kazasker Izzet Efendi and the roundel I show above is the name of the Muslim Rashidun Caliph Uthman Medallion written in in Thuluth Arabic calligraphy.

Art of the Day: The Rape of Persephone/Proserpina

Dear Reader,

As soon as I saw this statue I was completely mesmerised by it. It is called the Rape of Proserpina or Abduction of Proserpina (Ratto di Proserpina) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the year 1622. As he was Italian he used the Roman names of the Greek gods. I will use Persephone and Kore, the Greek original ones.

I know the story by heart as it’s one of my favourites, and as intense as it is, only a very intense piece of art could represent it the best way. Bernini did it. And majestically.

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Hades and Persephone in one of the most beautiful and dramatic representations of this myth. Photo source: Google.

Brief story of Persephone (Kore) and Hades:

Hades was the god of the Underworld, therefore god of all the dead, good and bad, and god of all the precious gems and stones that are found in the the underground. He was lonely, very grumpy and as you can imagine with very bad luck with women. Every attempt of seduction failed miserably. He never left the Underworld unless he had business to do or when he is overcome by sudden lust. Tired of his failed attempts he asks his brother Zeus to give him Kore as his wife. Kore (in greek means ‘young girl’) was a young joyous girl, daughter of Demeter, jealous goddess of harvest and agriculture. Zeus knew that by giving his consent he would have to confront the severe Demeter so he unwillingly gave the permission to his older brother to take Persephone to the underworld.

The coming of Kore to the Underworld symbolises the beginning of autumn and then winter, as the mother cried her daughter disappearance by shutting down any agriculture growth and prosperity on Earth. This fact prompted to her name changed into Persephone, which means ‘her who brings destruction‘ in terms of life and vegetation. Negotiations were made in such way that it was decreed that Persephone would spend six months in the underworld with her new husband (autumn and winter) and the rest of the year with her mother Demeter (spring and summer).

This piece of art is a delicate balance of violence and seduction, bodies binding together with excellent attention paid to details that give it an effect of firmness and strength.

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Hades grip on Persephone’s thigh. Photo source: Google.
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Photo source: Google.

Persephone’s desperation is remarkable in this piece of work as her eyes and tears portray the fear and anger upon being taken away from her mother, Demeter, and her home town to be dragged in the Underworld.

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Persephone’s desperation is shown by her tears and features. Photo source: Google.
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Photo source: Google.