Category: Italy

On the slopes of Mount Vesuvius

Azienda Vinicola Sorrentino, Mount Vesuvius, Naples, Italy 2016

A commanding view that belongs to Mount Vesuvius.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Lush, with a hint of aridity in the air, is what I would describe the climate that surrounds the undulating lands around Mount Vesuvius just about this time of year. That, and a certain solemnity and silence that blankets the surroundings. But this solemnity is permeating, because I have felt this sense of quiet even in the heart of the city of Naples when walking along the Gulf of Naples. We walk around the vineyard with our guide who knows the grounds well. The landscape reminds me somewhat of the landscape found in southeastern France.

It was about lunch hour when we strolled about the grounds where we were introduced to the various grape varieties planted, as well as other friendly vegetables complementing. Walking with a few steps between us in distance, our guide suddenly turned to us and said, “You know, I’m training running”, with a nod in the direction of Vesuvius. Continue reading “On the slopes of Mount Vesuvius”

Pompeii, Campania, Italy 2016

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Pompeii, Campania, Italy 2016

At the Forum, the central area in the ancient ruins of the city of Pompeii, Campania, Italy 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I developed an interest in archaeology as a hobby read from when I was about fourteen years old. Having read about Pompeii, and followed its archaeological uncoverings through my teenage years since the early 1990s, I visit this UNESCO World Heritage site in 2016 with mixed feelings.

Located across the Bay from the city of Naples in southern Italy, you seem never allowed to lose your bearing to Mount Vesuvius. Gaping at the top where in ancient paintings it was once capped, Vesuvius dominates the horizon. It stands in statement of the events that took place in 79 AD. As a reminder of its last large outbreak in 1944, it is still 95 centigrade warm a few meters under the ground. That is a hair’s breath from boiling. But for now, on the surface, the fire mountain slumbers.

The region around Vesuvius today hosts some three million inhabitants that would need to be evacuated immediately when, not if, Vesuvius wakes up again. Inhabiting the area could possibly be human optimism, else, more pragmatically, the fertile soils of the land afforded by the very fire mountain itself gives the possibility of good trade (thus good living), especially in wine. Continue reading “Pompeii, Campania, Italy 2016”

Gelato, gelato, gelato

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Capri, Italy 2016.

Bar Corallo, Capri, Italy 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Just a few days prior to landing in southern Italy, I walked out of a little gelateria, Gelato Da Luca, in Gothenburg, Sweden. Newly located in the heart of Gothenburg’s older marketing district where cobbled streets were set out in grid format, I had in hand from this gelateria, a paper cup of two generous scoops of Italian made ice-cream. Caffè and cioccolato fondente (extra dark chocolate).

I could always do gelato, the sequence being caffè and cioccolato fondente, then cioccolato fondente and pistacchio. If there was no caffè or pistacchio, then it will be nocciola. I was only too happy to know that the owner, who had come to Sweden from Rome, had decided to open a second outlet in Gothenburg, both outlets being equidistant to the Business School at the University of Gothenburg.

Already then, I had decided that when in southern Italy, or Italy at all, I would gelato.

And that, I did. That, and cioccolata calda, a smooth, thick hot chocolate concoction that rivals Granja M. Viader xocolata calenta in Barcelona, Spain.

Swapping different types of cobbled stones from Gothenburg to southern Italy, I was beyond delighted to once again, gelato. Continue reading “Gelato, gelato, gelato”

Food market at Järntorget, Gothenburg

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No overcast sky would discourage the long queue for this warm lunch
served at the most popular stall at this food market.

Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2014

I love marketing. And what better way to market than to chance upon these tented food stalls at Järntorget in Gothenburg during lunch hour?

Despite the overcast sky that threatened a tropical rainstorm, it was a decision to head towards Järntorget for lunch that landed this serendipitous find of a food market, courtesy of Tentazioni of London. Continue reading “Food market at Järntorget, Gothenburg”

The Tower of Pisa, Piazza dei Miracoli, Italy

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Pisa, Italy. 02

In front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which up close, looks disconcertingly precarious. The beautiful symmetry of the stacked arches distracts some from the precarious leaning of the tower though.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

Pisa, the birthplace of Galileo Galilei the physicist and one of my favourite tenors, Andrea Bocelli (born in Lajatico, Tuscany), is a city that lies in the west coast of the Tuscan region of Italy. Tuscany in central Italy, is a most inspiringly beautiful place to visit in general, with the lands undulating with vineyards and restaurants atop hillocks. Florence is one of the more beautiful cities in Italy to visit, with fantastic food and scenary. The Tuscan region in Italy is like poetry, with its land sculpted via both the force of nature over time and its people.

An architectural marvel and personal curiosity is the Tower of Pisa that in my view, so elegantly leans to one side. Well. Alright, it was miscalculated, but still – beautiful.
Continue reading “The Tower of Pisa, Piazza dei Miracoli, Italy”

Into the heart of the St. Peter’s Basilica – The Vatican City and its treasures in Rome

Small treasures on this trip to the Holy See – fresh summer fruits and some time away from the mid-day sun. This particular café served a good range of lunches from pizzas to fresh fruit and ice-cream.

We parked our car in Rome and then in all of about 300 meters, it seemed we were standing right in the middle of a different state; the Vatican City.

The Vatican state and its structures, to me, seemed to blend seamlessly with everything else Roman. Large, majestic looking sculptures, passageways and corridors that seem almost too large for any efficient or practical use of space, making one feel almost insignificant when walking about. I can imagine the purpose of the imposing structures from ancient times, that people needed to feel the power of the ruling, for the masses to feel at once diminished, yet safe. The structures work to the very same purpose today, except with a different flavour.

As a tourist, it’s splendid with so much space to conquer during your visit. And the Vatican state allows you these conquests as it invites hoards of visitors into its arms, into its heart which is St. Peter’s Basilica and into its treasure filled museum wings. The high arches and open spaces aid in dispensing with the overly crowded feel; a feel that Venice for example, could not overcome.

A curious feature: an Egyptian obelisk stands in front of St. Peter’s church.

Though small as a state, by foot, the grounds of St. Peter’s Basilica are still vast, with an intriguing sight of an Egyptian obelisk in the middle. Its slightly skewed alignment to Michelangelo’s building is said to have been compensated by Maderno’s nave inside the Basilica. Continue reading “Into the heart of the St. Peter’s Basilica – The Vatican City and its treasures in Rome”

Piazza San Marco: the heart of Venice

In front of the Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Square in Venice.

When visiting Venice, it isn’t difficult to gravitate with the crowd and find your way to the heart of Venice itself, the Piazza San Marco or St. Mark’s Square.

I agree with art historian Hugh Honour when he described the Piazza San Marco as “beautiful at all times of day or night” (2001). The piazza, like a compass to Venice, it contains so many interesting facets that contribute to the personality of Venice itself, that we found ourselves drawn back to St. Mark’s Square several times during our stay there.

Basilica Di San Marco.

The wide space, devoid of any modern day traffic, is devoted solely to travel by foot. Souvenir vendors line the late 13th century herring-bone paved square, the patterns on the pavement reminiscent of the market stalls that traded in the square centuries before. The bustle is no less today, the colourful summer clothes of tourists around the square add to the festive feel of the place during the day.

A cozy sight is the vast number of pigeons that swelter in the shady pavement under the high arches of St. Mark’s basilica away from the direct heat of the hot summer sun, oblivious to the curious tourists seeking out their interests to the corners of the square. Continue reading “Piazza San Marco: the heart of Venice”

Views from a Gondola

Not a cloud in sight but the gondola excursion proved cooler than expected as the gondola glided into narrower waterways with shade from the brick-walled buildings.

With over 400 bridges in Venice, it is perhaps quite unmistakable that Venice has been built for one to navigate it on foot. Still, considering Venice’s history as a city of trade, with most building facades and main entrances facing the waterways, I think one cannot discount exploring the ancient waterways of this lagoon city when there.

Venice has always been connected with the sea with its triumphs, conquests and adventures being mostly seaward bound. Marco Polo for example, was a Venetian merchant during the 13th century who gave us the most fascinating insights to China in his book Il Milione, where he met with Genghis Khan and travelled the Silk Road trade route. In the 14th century, despite its population being halved by the plague, the water city succeeds in becoming the leader of four seapowers of the Mediterranean Sea. A century later, it conquers the island of Cyprus.

The Adriatic waters are seasonal in oscillation, with summer months being low tide and winter months, high tide. The waters go right up to the doorsteps of many private homes, shops and warehouses.

Because of its lagunal structure that somewhat prohibits the expansion of the city, Venice is one of the most unspoiled and untouched (with the exception of time) cities of Italy. Today, it is still the Adriatic waterways, with its seasonal oscillations, that run like veins through its buildings, coming right up to hundreds of individual doorsteps, shops and warehouses, going under hundreds of bridges. You can use these interconnecting waterways to explore the various lagoon islands of Venice – Burano, Murano, San Francesco del Deserto, San Lazzaro degli Armeni and Torcello – each lagoon having its own distinct characteristic traits and personality. Continue reading “Views from a Gondola”

Il Canovaccio: the art of Venetian masquerade

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A grand carnival Volto mask from Il Canovaccio, Venice, Italy. This dramatically elegant mask has gold gilded eyes, its temples framed with deep turqoise plumes against black.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

Mention Venice and what comes to mind are masquerade balls and since 1979, the annual Il Carnevale di Venezia.

The Venetian carnival however, had its origins from the 11th century as a celebration of the passing of Lent, reflecting the etymology of the word carnival, from the Latin carne + vale meaning farewell to meat. Michael Tieuli lends a brief overview of the history of the Venetian Carnival, where he mentioned that the carnival was thought to be an annual celebration of Doge (Chief Magistrate) Vitale Michieli II’s victory over Ulrich II of Treven (the Patriarch of Aquileia) in 1162. Ulric was taken prisoner and his release was conditional, in that he had to pay an annual tribute to Venice in the form of twelve loaves of bread, twelve pigs and a bull. It was during this time that a tradition began of butchering a bull (representing Ulric) and twelve pigs in the Piazza di San Marco to commemorate the victory. Continue reading Il Canovaccio: the art of Venetian masquerade”

Discovering ‘Bistecca alla Fiorentina’, at Trattoria Quatro Leoni, Florence 2008

Our first decision in Florence was that we should go out to explore the city by foot. A good friend set out to book a table at her favorite place and after some time walking in and around the old streets of central Florence, we ended up at Trattoria Quatro Leoni at Via Dei Vellutini 1/R at Piazza Della Passera.


Our waiter and sommelier recommended us a Brancaia 2005 as well suited for our purpose and budget. It’s a full flavored red Tuscan wine of decent quality. In 2007 it received quite positive reviews in the Swedish newspaper, GP.

Quatro Leone or The Four Lions is a mind-bogglingly old restaurant. Having originally opened in 1550, both Dante Alighieri, members of the Medici family as well as Michelangelo himself could well have sat on these chairs before us. Well, maybe not. The chairs were probably replaced in the mid 1990s when the restaurant was renovated, restoring some of its old charm while removing centuries of kitsch.

The restaurant is central but still difficult to find, and it has a large proportion of locals in the eating crowd, both being good signs

For those unfamiliar with Florence in Tuscany, the region is famous for its true concern of the quality of the food ingredients, and traditionally alter as little as possible when cooking. Green and fruity olive oil, garlic, unsalted bread, parma ham and parmaggio cheese plus generous helpings of black pepper are expected staples of many Tuscan dishes.
Continue reading “Discovering ‘Bistecca alla Fiorentina’, at Trattoria Quatro Leoni, Florence 2008″

San Lorenzo, Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy. Street.

Beautiful façade.
San Lorenzo, Florence, Italy

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

San Lorenzo in Florence has a charm of its own quite different from other cities of Italy that I’ve visited. A main marketing district, it’s historical buildings, its winding streets that interconnect that seem to make all things of interest within walking distance to each other really grounds your perspective as to how this place might have functioned hundreds of years ago.

San Lorenzo Florence Italy

The Church of San Lorenzo.

And, I love marketing.

It doesn’t matter which country I visit, it’s the sights, sounds and aromas of the local markets that draw me to their heart. Piazza del Mercato Centrale is no exception and I found myself walking end to end under the roof of the main market, curious at what they had to offer.
Continue reading “San Lorenzo, Florence, Italy”

The Mall at Leccio, Florence, Italy

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Florence, Italy 2008

At The Mall, Leccio, Italy.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

Italy is really everything that has ever been written and described about in its designs and designers. In a world of ever increasing low priced and sloppily made consumer goods, the attention to design detail and craftsmanship in Italy is a breath of fresh air. Perhaps it is something with the stubborn and highly individualistic Italian mind-set that just can’t take orders and insists on doing things their own way – down to the local village cheese preparation – that feels just right applied to the making of clothes and accessories.

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“The Mall” is located just 30 minutes along the A1 motorway from Florence. A Gucci mecca of sorts, The Mall at Leccio, hosts several luxury brands.

In combination of urban and country, with its soft rolling hills in the region and beautiful vineyards, I’ve found Florence also to be a shopping haven for things well-designed. An ill protected secret is the availability of numerous factory outlets who away from city centers, sell the real deal at discounted prices. And if you are prepared to venture outside the extreme first class locations in the city centers, such as right outside the Palazzo Veccio in Florence, your efforts will be richly rewarded with hefty discounts on luxury items. True shopping gems, if you find them.
Continue reading “The Mall at Leccio, Florence, Italy”

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

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View of the tower of Palazzo Vecchio from the riverside.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

The scene was crowded at Ponte Vecchio and it seemed that many – mostly tourists – were awed by this old bridge that has more than once been swept asunder and rebuilt, perhaps testament to a strength that never wanes. I was personally struck by how merchants and shops perched on the bridge in hues of terracotta and yellow. It was a different kind of architecture from what I was used to, and I thought this was quite beautiful. Continue reading “Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy”

Palazzo Ducale, Venice

Palazzo Ducale, Cheryl Marie Cordeiro-Nilsson

In Piazza San Marco, near to the Ponte dei Sospiri, you’ll find the Palazzo Ducale.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

It is difficult to navigate the streets of Venice at peak season which is the summer months, and I can more than understand the disdain and even hostility of the Venetians towards visitors who leave more than their fair share of markings on the ground as visitors. More than a million individuals walked the grounds of the Palazzo Ducale alone at about the time of this visit in 2008. Continue reading “Palazzo Ducale, Venice”