Artistic Venues in Pisa and Calcinaia

Blogs have been around for some time. Although the term was first coined by Jorn Barger in 1999 (‘web log’, later abbreviated to ‘blog’), there were several precursors: bulletin boards and newsgroups started back in the 1980’s. I wish I’d begun blogging earlier. However, going back through my emails I see that there’s a vague attempt to describe the photographs I was taking and the activities I was doing. When it’s been raining almost continuously for the past three days there’s no better indoor pastime to occupy oneself than going through one’s photographs from the past.

May 20th 2007 was a day celebrating women artists with two main exhibition centres. The first was held at the limonaia (conservatory where lemon plants are protected in winter) at Palazzo Ruschi in Pisa. After the usual story of decline and fall of aristocratic families the palazzo was acquired by Hewlett-Packard, the computer company, in 1990. They restored the limonaia to its former glory but subsequently moved on, allowing the city of Pisa buy the limonaia and use it for exhibitions and conferences.

The palace’s gardens are quite beautiful and filled with a variety of exotic trees and plants. I particularly liked the statue of Flora raised upon a dolphin on one of the gardens’ water basins.

The theme of the exhibition at the limonaia was ‘Amore e Psyche’ (Cupid and Psyche) and the quality of the contemporary art was exceptionally high.

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There were many fine art works on display and, as usual for these events, a great ‘rinfresco’ (free buffet).

I bought a picture of the Pisa riverfront from this artist.

The picture is signed M.P.5. I regret to say that the artist is now no longer with us.

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From Pisa I moved to Calcinaia where other exhibitions of women’s art were held. I particularly liked these works:

Calcinaia’s symbol is its tower built by the Upezzinghi family.  Dating from the thirteenth century the tower was part of the fortifications guarding the river crossing. Like Pisa’s limonaia it fell into abandonment until rescued and restored in 1999 by the comune for use as an exhibition centre. Incidentally, Uguccionella, the mother of Count Ugolino mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy, was born in Calcinaia.

The views over the town from the top of the tower are pretty:

It was a lovely day in a lovely place and the sunset over the Arno running past this town was beautiful.

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