Follow by Email

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

ROME -- INCIDENTAL -- 3

MONTI


Monti is an eclectic neighborhood in the city center, with both bohemian and classical elements. 

Archaeological sites like Trajan’s Markets and Nero’s Domus Aurea palace occupy its southwestern edge. 

Family-run trattorias, hip wine bars and funky vintage boutiques are tucked in its piazzas and back streets, and draw a mix of expats, students and locals. 

Vias Nazionale and Cavour are the area's main commercial strips.


--Dreamstime.com

Monday, December 30, 2019

ROME -- INCIDENTAL -- 2

TIBER



The Tiber is famous for being the main river that runs through the city of Rome. Rome is situated on the Tiber's eastern banks. 

The Tiber (called the Tevere in Italian) is one of the longest watercourses in Italy. Its depth is between 7 and 20 feet. 

The Tiber rises from the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flows for 406 Kilometers. 

Its course runs through Umbria and Lazio and ends at the Sea.

The source of the Tiber is in two springs 10 33 feet apart from each other situated on Mount Fumaiolo in central Italy.


--Vatican.com

Sunday, December 29, 2019

ROME -- INCIDENTAL -- 1

TRASTEVERE



Colorful Trastevere is a funky, bohemian area that clings to its centuries-old, working-class roots.

It's known for traditional and innovative trattorias, craft beer pubs and artisan shops, as well as simple B&Bs and budget hotels.

From the pre-dinner passeggiata (promenade) until late, a young crowd buzzes around Piazza di San Calisto and Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, the site of a gilded, mosaic-filled church.

--Dreamstime.com

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Neal Peirce, urban affairs columnist who championed inclusive cities

Dies at 87


The father of late 20th century urban-focused journalism.

RIP Neal -- you were a trusted acquaintance, colleague and inspiration for my blog.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/neal-peirce-urban-affairs-columnist-who-championed-inclusive-cities-dies-at-87/2019/12/27/a4c28722-0bb1-11ea-97ac-a7ccc8dd1ebc_story.html

ROME -- MONUMENTAL -- 12

LARGO DI TORRE ARGENTINA



A busy transport hub, Largo di Torre Argentina is set around the sunken Area Sacra, and the remains of four Republican-era temples, all built between the 2nd and 4th centuries BC. 

These ruins, among the oldest in the city, are reckoned to be where Julius Caesar was murdered in 44 BC and, while off limits to humans, are home to a thriving stray cat population and a volunteer-run cat sanctuary.

On the piazza’s western flank stands Teatro Argentina, Rome’s premier theatre.

--Lonely Planet

Friday, December 27, 2019

ROME -- MONUMENTAL -- 11

GALLERIA BORGHESE



If you only have time for one art gallery in Rome, make it this one. 

Housing what's often referred to as the ‘queen of all private art collections’, it boasts paintings by Caravaggio, Raphael and Titian, plus sensational sculptures by Bernini. 

Highlights abound, but look for Bernini's Ratto di Proserpina (Rape of Proserpina) and Canova's Venere vincitrice (Venus Victrix).

To limit numbers, visitors are admitted at two-hourly intervals – you'll need to pre-book tickets well in advance and get an entry time.

--Lonely Planet

Thursday, December 26, 2019

ROME -- MONUMENTAL -- 10

PIAZZA NAVONA



With its showy fountains, baroque palazzi and colourful cast of street artists, hawkers and tourists, Piazza Navona is central Rome’s elegant showcase square. 

Built over the 1st-century Stadio di Domiziano, it was paved over in the 15th century and for almost 300 years hosted the city's main market.

Its grand centrepiece is Berninis Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, a flamboyant fountain featuring an Egyptian obelisk and muscular personifications of the rivers Nile, Ganges, Danube and Plate.

--Lonely Planet

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL

WE DON'T REALLY GIVE GIFTS ANYMORE -- WE DONATE TO PET CHARITIES



Okay, we give some small gifts to friends, family and colleagues.

But 90% of our gift giving is to animal welfare.

We make a donation each Christmas to Siamese Cat Rescue, on behalf of family members.

We make a monthly donation to the ASPCA in honor of family member’s birthdays.

This year, our anniversary gift to each other was a combination of contributions to cat cafes in Miami Beach and Paris.

Our birthday gift to each other was sponsoring a Siamese rescue cat at the Largo di Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary.

Our Valentine's Day, celebrating an accomplishment/milestone and other annual gifts are spent on food, shelter and medicine for dozens of Little Havana outdoor cats that congregate on our small urban lot just south of Calle Ocho.

We encourage our friends to make donations to animal welfare non-profits, rather than buying gifts for us.

Please. Instead of one more gadget, one more electronic toy, or another outfit to take up space in the closet – think of donating your time and money to protecting stray cats and other animals.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

ROME -- MONUMENTAL -- 9

CAMPO DI FIORE



The oldest and most picturesque – also the most expensive – of Rome's neighbourhood markets. 

Each weekday morning, shoppers mix with tourists and visitors amid the colourful stalls that take over the historic piazza. 

As well as seasonal fruit and veg, you can also pick up pasta, cheese, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fruit juice and much more besides.

--Lonely Planet

Monday, December 23, 2019

ROME -- MONUMENTAL -- 8

QUARTIERE COPPEDE



The compact Quartiere Coppedè, centering around the magnificent Piazza Mincio, is one of Rome's most extraordinary neighbourhoods.

Conceived and built by the little-known Florentine architect, Gino Coppedè, between 1913 and 1926, it's a fairy-tale series of palazzos with Tuscan turrets, Liberty sculptures, Moorish arches, Gothic gargoyles, frescoed facades and palm-fringed gardens.

--Lonely Planet

Sunday, December 22, 2019

ROME -- MONUMENTAL -- 7

CASTEL SANT'ANGELO



With its chunky round keep, this castle is an instantly recognisable landmark. 

Built as a mausoleum for the emperor Hadrian, it was converted into a papal fortress in the 6th century and named after an angelic vision that Pope Gregory the Great had in 590. 

Nowadays, it is a moody and dramatic keep that houses the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo and its grand collection of paintings, sculpture, military memorabilia and medieval firearms.

--Lonely Planet

Saturday, December 21, 2019

ROME -- MONUMENTAL -- 6

SPANISH STEPS



A magnet for visitors since the 18th century, the Spanish Steps (Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti) provide a perfect people-watching perch.

The 135 gleaming steps rise from Piazza di Spagna to the landmark Chiesa della Tinita dei Monti.

Piazza di Spagna was named after the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See, although the staircase, designed by the Italian Francesco de Sanctis, was built in 1725 with money bequeathed by a French diplomat.

--Lonely Planet

Friday, December 20, 2019

ROME -- MONUMENTAL -- 5

TREVI FOUNTAIN



The Fontana di Trevi, scene of movie star Anita Ekberg's late-night dip in La Dolce Vita, is a flamboyant baroque ensemble of mythical figures and wild horses taking up the entire side of the 17th-century Palazzo Poli. 

After a Fendi-sponsored restoration finished in 2015, the fountain gleams brighter than it has for years.

The tradition is to toss a coin into the water, thus ensuring that you'll return to Rome – on average about €3000 is thrown in every day.

--Lonely Planet

Thursday, December 19, 2019

ROME -- MONUMENTAL -- 4

PANTHEON



A striking 2000-year-old temple, now a church, the Pantheon is the best preserved of Rome’s ancient monuments and one of the most influential buildings in the Western world. 

Built by Hadrian over Marcus Agrippa’s earlier 27 BC temple, it has stood since around AD 125, and while its greying, pockmarked exterior might look its age, it's still a unique and exhilarating experience to pass through its vast bronze doors and gaze up at the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever built.

--Lonely Planet

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

ROME -- MONUMENTAL -- 3

ROMAN FORUM



An impressive – if rather confusing – sprawl of ruins, the Roman Forum was ancient Rome's showpiece centre, a grandiose district of temples, basilicas and vibrant public spaces.

The site, originally a marshy burial ground, was first developed in the 7th century BC, growing over time to become the social, political and commercial hub of the Roman empire.

--Lonely Planet

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

ROME -- MONUMENTAL -- 2

ST. PETER'S BASILICA



In this city of outstanding churches, none can hold a candle to St Peter's, Italy’s largest, richest and most spectacular basilica.

Built atop a 4th-century church, it was consecrated in 1626 after 120 years' construction. Its lavish interior contains many spectacular works of art, including three of Italy's most celebrated masterpieces: 

Michelangelo’s Pietà, his soaring dome, and Bernini’s 29m-high baldachin over the papal altar.

--Lonely Planet

Monday, December 16, 2019

ROME -- MONUMENTAL -- 1

COLOSSEUM



Rome’s great gladiatorial arena is the most thrilling of the city's ancient sights.

Inaugurated in AD 80, the 50,000-seat Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, was originally clad in travertine and covered by a huge canvas awning.

Two thousand years on and it's Italy's top tourist attraction.

--Lonely Planet

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Midnight in Paris: Surrealism at the Crossroads, 1929


A MUST SEE AT THE DALI MUSEUM, ST. PETERSBURG


When Salvador Dalí & Luis Buñuel’s film Un chien Andalou premiered in the City of Light, Paris was an avant-garde hothouse rife with artistic conflict and friendly rivalry. Midnight in Paris: Surrealism at the Crossroads, 1929 immerses visitors in this particularly rich and vital creative era by examining the works, friendships and clashes of Jean Arp, André Breton, Luis Buñuel, Alexander Calder, Giorgio de Chirico, Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, René Magritte, Joan Miró, Francis Picabia, Man Ray, Yves Tanguy and others.

Through a host of 20th-century works from the renowned Centre Pompidou in Paris, Midnight in Paris, 1929 brings to life the personal relationships and the intellectual passions that threatened to tear apart the newly formed artistic movement called Surrealism. Just as this art form began to penetrate Western culture, from literature to fashion to advertising, disagreements erupted among its famous practitioners. Are dreams or spontaneous emotions more central to image-making? Should painting take precedence, or are more technical approaches and media more effective tools? Perhaps most importantly, how can Surrealism embody the concerns and values of a new class of activist artists shaped by the profound destruction of the first World War?

“As the preeminent movement of its era, Surrealism reached an innovative turning point in 1929, a crisis of consciousness that has had a sweeping impact on visual art ever since,” said Dr. Hank Hine, Executive Director of The Dalí Museum. “The Dalí Museum, with its outstanding legacy, collection and international partnerships, looks forward to affording our visitors this rare window into one of the most critical epochs in cultural history.”

Organized by the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and The Dalí Museum, Midnight in Paris, 1929, in its first and only appearance in North America, is curated by Dr. William Jeffett, Chief Curator of Special Exhibitions at The Dalí Museum, and Didier Ottinger, Deputy Director of the Musée national d’art moderne at the Centre Pompidou. The Dalí Museum’s unique installation was adapted from a selection of works organized by Dr. Ottinger and previously exhibited at the Palazzo Blu in Pisa and the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest.

The exhibition is designed for visitors to stroll through the streets of Paris, with a focus on the paintings, photographs, sculptures and personalities of iconic Surrealist artists. The exhibition will also feature archival film and documents from the movement, as well as several rarely loaned Salvador Dalí works, including one of his earliest double-image paintings.

  

Saturday, December 14, 2019

GALLERIA UMBERTO 1 -- part 6

19TH CENTURY NAPLES ITALY




Based on Giuseppe Mengoni’s design for the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan (1863 – 1875), Galleria Umberto I (1885 – 1892) was designed by Emanuele Rocco and Francesco Paolo Boubèe as a covered passageway connecting the San Carlo Theater to Via Roma.

Its iron and glass construction is a rare example of “industrial architecture” in Naples. 

Today, Galleria Umberto I is a shopping arcade. 

Below the Galleria, is the Salone Margherita, a fixture of Naples Belle Époque.


Friday, December 13, 2019

GALLERIA UMBERTO 1 -- part 5

19TH CENTURY NAPLES ITALY




Even without the shops, the people watching opportunities and the architecture of the Galleria Umberto I make it an essential part of any visit to Naples.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

GALLERIA UMBERTO 1 -- part 4

19TH CENTURY NAPLES ITALY




The Galleria fell into disrepair for some decades but is now being extensively renovated in keeping with its status as a part of the UNESCO listing of the Historic Centre of Naples. 

Today it is a place for shopping, eating and meeting your friends. 

There is also an upmarket hotel (the Hotel Art Resort Galleria Umberto) built and furnished in the Baroque style within the Galleria itself.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

GALLERIA UMBERTO 1 -- part 3

19TH CENTURY NAPLES ITALY



Built in the shape of a cross, the gallery has the feeling of a cathedral, soaring upwards to a vaulted glass ceiling and a vast glass dome at the centre. 

As you walk around, note the rich architectural detail and the mosaics on the floor, in particular the central mosaic with the signs of the zodiac.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

GALLERIA UMBERTO 1 -- part 2

19TH CENTURY NAPLES ITALY



The Galleria is no ordinary shopping arcade.

Unlike many modern constructions, it is of architectural interest in its own right, a magnificent confection of iron and glass. 

Modeled on the Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II in Milan, it was intended as a centrepiece for the risanamento, or revitalisation, of Naples in the late 19th century.

Monday, December 9, 2019

GALLERIA UMBERTO 1

19TH CENTURY NAPLES ITALY



Naples' most famous 19th-century arcade is a breathtaking pairing of richly adorned neo-Renaissance fronts and a delicate glass ceiling capped by a lofty 56m dome. 

Complete with a sumptuous marble floor, the galleria is at its most spectacular at night, when it becomes a surreal setting for impromptu soccer games.

--Lonely Planet

Sunday, December 8, 2019

ADVOCACY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES 24-7

TAKE TWO MINUTES TO REQUEST MORE EQUITY
FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

I’m a sucker for filling out online “tell us how we did” surveys.

I’m not talking about nominating myself for dozens of unwanted daily emails, I’m talking about responding only to customer service surveys that more frequently contact you after everything from a gourmet meal to a trip to the dentist to a mom and pop shop that supplied an out of print book via Amazon.

All of these have an additional comments window and this is more important to me than all the “strongly agree…to strongly disagree” comments combined.
My additional feedback, as the spouse of person who uses a wheelchair for mobility, is always disability equity-related.

I tell the firm to:

Recruit and hire people with disabilities

Ensure that all focus groups are convened with people with a wide range of disabilities
If a place had a great lobster roll, but all high top seating – I tell them we will never return till it has accessible tables

If a place has nice, wide aisles, automatic doors and employees that are trained to accommodate without making a big production – I tell that store that I will drive an extra 10 miles to vote with my dollars there

If it is something techie that I bought, I give feedback that states that engineers without a disability CANNOT, no matter how smart they are, anticipate the good, bad and ugly of product design and its impact on people with a wide range of mobility, visual, hearing and cognitive disabilities


Over time, I we can teach companies that everything they do, from R&D to multiplatform marketing – MUST involve people with a wide range of disabilities




Saturday, December 7, 2019

AIRLINES ROUTINELY DAMAGE WHEELCHAIRS:

DESTROYING MOBILITY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES


This treatment is as bad as African Americans were treated in Jim Crow era.

When will airlines be held responsible?

When will society elevate people with disabilities to "whole human" status?

When will a person who uses an assistive mobility device be able to board a plane -- for business, recreation, to attend a conference or check out a university -- and be able to deplane knowing their wheelchair is 100% safe, secure, ready for them and undamaged?

This kind of 3rd class treatment is keeping people with disabilities the most under and unemployed minority group on the face of the planet.

Having a disability isn't limiting.

Dealing with society's and the business communities Middle Ages view toward disability is.


Friday, December 6, 2019

PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

ARE TREATED LIKE 10TH CLASS CITIZENS BY AIRLINES



There is no reason why power wheelchairs cannot be safely driven onto planes, with users in them.

Flights are the only way to move about the nation efficiently -- or at all the other continents.

If the CEO of an airline became a wheelchair user, you bet there would be safe tie-downs, wide entrances and other features.

The airlines discriminate horribly against people with disabilities...making it almost impossible for a power wheelchair user to accept a job that requires business flights.

This must be changed. 

People with Disabilities have yet to even have their Rosa Parks, when it comes to civil rights with air carriers.

click the link to see the story that inspired my comments


Thursday, December 5, 2019

OF ALL THE THINGS IN THE WORLD WE ARE MOST THANKFUL FOR...

IT IS HAVING FRIENDS LIKE ENRIQUE CARRILLO



I met Enrique in the mid-2000s when I was the Senior Urban Policy Advisor for a Miami City Commissioner that represented Little Havana and he was working with a media-marketing group. 

His firm was working with General Mills on a campaign to introduce more healthy eating habits to the Hispanic Community. 

An art contest for youth was associated with the campaign as it touched down in Miami. 

The event, which my boss presided over, earned some positive media for both my elected official and Enrique's national client. 

Being a kid from Ohio, whose espanol was really horrible back then, I relied on Enrique's good counsel through every step.

I remember by boss and his chief of staff being very impressed with my organizational and media skills. 

Truth be told, I got out of the way and simply said "okay" to every brilliant, innovative, efficient and time-saving suggestion that Enrique came up with. 



Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Gratified to have worked with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and others on this project for historic Little Havana

TOP 12 PRESERVATION WINS IN 2019


An international symbol of the role of immigrants in the American story, Little Havana—named a National Treasure in 2017—is Miami’s most iconic neighborhood. 

Yet poverty, displacement and other issues threaten this vibrant community, prompting the National Trust to create a road map for improving life for Little Havana's residents while protecting this one-of-a-kind place.

In partnership with local organizations led by PlusUrbia Design, and developed with input from more than 2,700 residents, stakeholders, and public health advocates, the award-winning revitalization plan focuses on building a healthy, equitable, and resilient neighborhood that retains its unique character. 

Drawing on best practices from a variety of fields, the plan increases incentives, lowers barriers, and respects the existing heritage of Little Havana. 

With this innovative tool in hand, Little Havana now has a path forward that will help future generations continue to thrive.

--Text by National Trust for Historic Preservation


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Firsts: Coming Of Age Stories By People With Disabilities Wins Non-Fiction Anthology Category, Honored during Book Fair Miami

HEIDI JOHNSON-WRIGHT SHARES WINS FAVORITE AWARDS GOLD MEDAL


Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite:

Firsts: Coming Of Age Stories By People With Disabilities is a nonfiction anthology edited by Belo Miguel Ciperiani. Ciperiani lost his vision when he was 27. 

He grew up looking forward to his weekly trip to the library where he would pick up a new selection of audio books. 

Popping the first one in his Discman for the bus ride back home, he’d forget his surroundings and get lost in the newest story.

One thing in particular bothered him; that was the depiction of disabled characters in those stories.

It seemed as though the failings of those characters were intricately linked to their disabilities. 

The nonfiction memoirs he read were equally unsatisfying as they were generally written by people who had beaten the odds and regained their sight, hearing or the use of their limbs. 

Ciperiani gravitated to writing in part in reaction to his efforts to find writers who could share the experiences of the disabled. 

This book is the result of his call for disabled authors to share their coming of age experiences.

Out of the hundreds of submissions he received, he selected the eleven stories that are found here.

Firsts: Coming Of Age Stories By People With Disabilities is one of those rare books you want to never end. 

I lost myself in each of the stories found within this collection. Heidi Johnson-Wright’s short story, Life with Lexie, is the perfect opening tale; one that anyone, able-bodied or not, would have a hard time not relating to.

Heidi’s life went pear-shaped when she was nine years old and rheumatoid arthritis left her totally dependent upon a mercurial and ill-tempered mother, until that day when she went off to college.

Once I had begun reading Johnson-Wright’s story, I was hooked into reading each of these marvelous and inspirational stories. 

Monday, December 2, 2019

HEIDI JOHNSON-WRIGHT WINS READERS FAVORITE AWARDS GOLD MEDAL

Firsts: Coming Of Age Stories By People With Disabilities Wins Non-Fiction Anthology Category, Honored during Book Fair Miami



Multiple award-winning author Heidi Johnson-Wright contributed the best-loved mini memoir to the anthology collected and edited by Belo Miguel Cipriani, founder of Oleb Books.

5 star reader reviews include:

"I personally found the section on Heidi Johnson-Wright to be my favorite as I felt like I could sympathize and understand her condition on a personal level, since my Ehlers Danlos flare up reminded me a bit of Heidi Johnson-Wright’s flare ups."

"I found Heidi Johnson-Wright’s opening piece to be particularly emotive as it resonated with my own conditions."

Sunday, December 1, 2019

WE ARE GRATIFIED THAT THIS BLOG HAS MORE THAN 215,000 UNIQUE VISITORS

SAVING THE WORLD ONE CUTE CAT PIC AT A TIME...
WELL, NOT EXACTLY -- BUT WE DO BELIEVE IN PROMOTING KINDNESS, FAIR PLAY AND MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE

This blog has taken on serious issues – lack of affordable housing, planning/architecture that fails to meet the needs of people with disabilities, consumer rip-offs and much more.

It also has published probably 100 cute cat photos, many of HoneyBear our Siamese cat.

But even the cat pics have meaning. HoneyBear was rescued from the streets of Miami and our love for her inspired us to donate supplies and money to Cat Network and other groups that take care of thousands of stray cats.

Our recent photo series from Rome spotlighted the good work done by the all-volunteer Largo di Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary.

Our images from Turkey, Morocco and far beyond portray how others live –so our readers can open their hearts and minds in this time of bigotry and bullying.

Our mini stories about urban design trying to teach people about the need to build for climate change in a sustainable way that enhances mobility and livability for people who use wheelchairs for mobility.

We certainly don’t take ourselves too seriously.

But when we look back – over 2,500 blog posts dating back nearly a decade – we know that each narrative and original image is focused on leaving the world a better place than we found it.