angels and martyrs

If I hadn’t been told about this amazing church by a work colleague before leaving for Italy, I’m sure we would have missed it. The façade is somewhat disguised amidst the opulence of the Piazza della Repubblica.

1.facade

The Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs) was built in part of the remains of the Baths of Diocletian, the largest public baths in ancient Rome.

2.facade

It absolutely boggles me that this massive structure was completed in the year 306. It took them seven years but where is that talent and temerity in this technological age? I digress! The siege of Rome brought an end to the baths in 537 when the water supply from the aqueducts was cut off. A priest, wandering through the ruins in 1541, had a vision of angels which Pope Pius IV interpreted as a message from God. He thus ordered the building of the church on the site, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the angels and the Christians who died during the construction of the baths. The old wooden doors were replaced in 2006 with a very impressive bronze pair by Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj. The right hand one depicts the Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary, while a risen Christ emerges from the left hand door.

In 1563, Michelangelo was commissioned to design the church but, unfortunately, he died the following year and the work was completed by his student, Jacopo Lo Duca. Stepping through the doors, the sheer magnitude and beauty of the interior was breathtaking.

5.transept

There was so much to take in, around as well as above.

6.dome

The dome originally had an opening in the top to allow rain to fall into the bath waters below but is now filled with a fabulous work of stained glass by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata.

8.Light and Time

The church is built in the shape of a cross, a magnificent altar at the end of each section.

9.altar10.altar

One of these is the Chapel of St. Bruno,

11.Chapel of St Bruno

the left hand wall filled with a spectacular cherry, walnut and chestnut organ built by Bartélémy Formentelli. Inaugurated in the year 2000, the organ has 5,400 hand-made pipes and is often used for concerts.

12.organ

I can imagine listening to the incredible sounds while slowly dissolving into the ceiling.

13.ceiling Chapel of St Bruno

There was so much to absorb, from stunning stained glass windows

to statues, frescoes, ceilings and the 3D design of the marble floor.

23.marble floor

Following directions to the sacristy, we passed through a room with exhibits displaying the history of the baths before entering a tranquil courtyard. We were greeted by an imposing bronze statue of Galileo Galilei, a gift from China designed by Professor Tsung Dao Lee, winner of the 1957 Nobel prize in Physics.

24.Galileo Galilei

On completion of the church, it was given to the Carthusian monks who built a monastery next door. It is thought that this courtyard may have been the garden and the back of their cells.

We were very happy to avoid the crowds and queues at the more well-known sites in Rome, very few tourists seem to be aware of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

timber transformation

Some of you may recall a post I wrote two years ago when we replaced the timbers on the bridge in our rainforest.  https://cannonhillchronicles.com/2016/02/05/broken-bridge/

1.broken bridge

We had stacked the old ones and left them down there in case we had a use for them later.

2.old timbers

Our new back room needed a dining table and we thought it would be interesting to use the reclaimed bridge timbers. We then had the idea that a ‘mini-me’ coffee table would be a perfect addition. We selected the best lengths, loaded them on the trailer and took them to the carwash for a spot of pressure cleaning.

We had to rid them of stones and any nails before taking them to the local sawmill to be sized to the same thickness. It was exciting to see the fantastic colours and grains under the years of accumulated detritus.

6.sawmill

After laying them out to determine the best order, Michael went to work with the circular saw. The long edges were tidied and the ends finished.

9.trimmed

A couple of hours of sanding

10.sanding

and the true nature of the timber revealed itself.

Two coats of Cabothane

and they were ready for the frame. We had bought a firewood holder at Agfest last year from a very talented local artisan. We approached him with our ideas for the tables, wanting something with a chunky industrial feel that would showcase the magnificent timbers. He understood perfectly and, two weeks later, delivered the goods. The base frame came in, supported on two trestles

15.frame

and the timbers placed on top.

16.timbers placed

The ends were fitted flawlessly

17.ends in place

and the trestles removed. The same procedure saw the birth of ‘mini-me’.

18.mini me

Two more coats of Cabothane added further protection.

19.more Cabothane

The original plan was to coat the metal in black but when we visited the workshop, we preferred the beaten look.

20.finished

We love the nuts and bolts and finer details, even the metal manufacturer’s initials.

The timber has retained its character and beautiful imperfections,

the coffee table is a very special smaller version.

32.mini me coffee table

Four pre-loved dining chairs have been given new seat covers and a dose of TLC to complete the picture.

39.dining area

We now take the time to relax and watch the birds feeding around the pond – when we aren’t too busy doing more renovations.

40.sitting area

A huge thank you to Adam and Clarissa for sharing our vision and helping to create the reality. https://www.facebook.com/adsfabs/

 

summer sunset

Last evening, after a sweltering 30°C day, we drove Cooper, with the top down, into Burnie to attend the preview of the “National Geographic 50 Greatest Photographs” exhibition at the art gallery. We are very privileged to have this fantastic exhibition here in Burnie as part of the world tour. Each 3′ X 4′ image is accompanied by the story behind the photo as well as the photographer who captured the moment. I shall have to return and spend more time absorbing the works and to watch the many videos with behind-the-scenes stories and interviews. We used the excuse of being in town to dine at our favourite Bayviews Restaurant once again. With heavy cloud cover I didn’t expect much of a sunset but at 9pm, the world outside turned a stunning shade of pink.

1.summer sunset2.summer sunset

I should never have doubted nature’s ability to produce a spectacular show.

3.summer sunset

Swallows Welcome

There are many fabulous wineries in the Margaret River region but Swallows Welcome, the smallest winery in the region, is really something special. Tim & Pat Negus first planted grapes in 1994 and the family run business has been producing wine since 1997. The rural setting is peaceful and the artistic influences are evident on arrival.

Patricia Negus is a well known watercolour artist, her illustrations of wildflowers and birds have graced the pages of many books. Tim & Pat built the mudbrick and timber Chapel of the Flowers, a serene gallery, to exhibit 102 of Pat’s works that are featured in Wildflowers of Southwest Australia (the plastic chairs were remnants of a recent social occasion).

9.Chapel of the Flowers

The beautiful leadlight windows create a subtle ambience.

The delights continue outside,

the garden is a testament to Pat’s love of nature.

31. honeyeater

We made our way, past the magnificent magnolia tree, to her studio, filled with stunning artwork, books and cards for sale.

We wandered through a gorgeous courtyard cottage garden,

inhabited by a few frogs

and the occasional snail.

45.snail

After all the distractions, we finally reached the tasting room,

46.tasting room

adorned with more colourful leadlight.

Pat guided us through the range of superb reds,

finishing with a nip of Pensioners Port. Tim’s self-portrait graces the label

51.tasting room

and his other works decorate the walls. Pat instructed the boys on the fine art of labelling

52.Pat, Michael and Dave

and they soon had a dozen ready to ship home.

53.labelling

I could have lingered in that garden all day but lunch was beckoning. It’s a good life for some……..

54.winery dog

Hay Shed Hill

After a morning exploring the beautiful Margaret River region coastline, we had worked up an appetite. In the heart of the Wilyabrup Valley, Rústico at Hay Shed Hill vineyard was the perfect destination.

1.Hay Shed Hill

The setting was serene

2.Hay Shed Hill

surrounded by vines

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and the 6 course degustation menu was irresistible.

4.6 course degustation

If you’re not into food porn, look away now. We started with Esperance Scallops: West Australian scallops in the shell, chorizo, pear purée, candied jamón.

Fried Goats Cheese with orange blossom honey followed.

8.Fried Goats Cheese

Salmon Bresaola: dill aioli, pickled ginger & cucumber was a fabulous third course.

9.Salmon Bresaola

After the Free Range Linley Valley Pork Belly with apple purée & sticky Pedro Ximinez,

10.Pork Belly

I wandered around the garden, admiring the rustic artworks

while the boys discussed the fine art of cigar box guitar making.

21.Hay Shed Hill

I returned in time for the Margaret River Black Angus Petit Mignons: beef fillet wrapped in bacon, sweet potato, asparagus, green peppercorn jus.

22.Petit Mignons

We decided to forego the dessert tasting plate in favour of the European cheese board with muscatels, honeycomb & house breads.

23.Cheese Board

Obviously, there was wine involved in this fantastic experience, I just can’t remember which one. Thank you, Dave, for a wonderful afternoon.

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