Thursday, June 27, 2013

Last of the Holiday Photos

The window display at Converse retail store, Santa Monica.

To finish off the week, here are some highlights from my trip. And as from next week, we'll be back to all things interior design. I hope you have enjoyed my images as much as I have re-living them.
On the way to Italy, I stopped over in Los Angeles for several days and stayed with a friend and fellow architect in Santa Monica. We had lots of fun.

This is how they advertise MAC make up in Santa Monica.

Bamboo forest, Huntington Gardens

We visited Huntington Gardens and I cannot recommend it enough. If you like gardens and landscaping, this place is worth a visit. Just stunning.

Desert Gardens, Huntington Gardens

Lots of gorgeous trees at Huntington Gardens.

Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry, downtown Los Angeles.

Jacaranda trees were in flower all over LA and Santa Monica.

The double helix staircase at Vatican Museum.

While in Rome, I spent one of the days at Vatican City - there is lots to see and take in. It was amazing to be inside the famous Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms at the Vatican Museum. Be prepared to look up a lot - incredibly detailed ceilings. I also did a lot of looking down - lots of cool tiled floors.

Frescoes are everywhere - so detailed.

Lots of cool tiles

Looking up the domes at St. Peter's basilica

Climbing up the high dome of St. Peters and looking down

View from behind at the top of St Peter's Basilica.

The view from the top - Piazza San Pietro and Rome beyond.

The detailed Duomo - Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence.

While staying in Tuscany, we visited the nearby towns of Florence and Siena. Beautiful.

Looking over the famous Piazza del Campo, Siena

I do like angels and there are plenty of them in Rome.

Passionfruit flower in the Villa Borghese Gardens, Rome

Near Galleria Borghese, Rome.

A well deserved gelato on a hot summer day in Rome

I was captivated by draped fabric on statues - so realistic. This lady was at Piazza del Popolo, Rome.

I came across this vintage carousel on the way to Vatican City, Rome.
Photographs by Charlotte Minty.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Rome, Italy II

Piazza Navona with Bernini's Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in front

Here are a few more highlights of the main attractions of Rome - Piazza Navona is a bustling square with the grand and famous Bernini fountain, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (The Fountain of the Four Rivers), taking centre stage. When I first saw the Trevi Fountain, I had a few tears and the Pantheon is amazing - both inside and out.

Close up of Bernini's The Fountain of the Four Rivers

Trevi Fountain

The front of the Pantheon from the Piazza della Rotonda

The altar

Looking up to the oculus

Marble in all different colours and textures

Photographs by Charlotte Minty.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rome, Italy

The Arch of Constantine (by the Colosseum) with the Roman Forum in the background.

Have you ever been to Rome? I was fortunate enough to spend a few days in this amazing city after attending the wedding in Tuscany. What a place! It has everything - history, beauty, architecture, interiors, food, wine...there is something for everyone. If you ever have an opportunity to go, accept it immediately.
I enjoyed it so much and bear with me as I reminisce about my time there on the blog this week.

Looking toward the Colosseum from the Roman Forum

The Colosseum was close to where I was staying so I came here several times (it looked amazing at night all lit up). It is close to the Roman Forum, as well as the Palatine and Capitoline Hill, and there is so much to see within this area. Choose and visit what interests you otherwise you just wear yourself out...

Yes - I admit that I did think of the movie 'Gladiator' when I visited here. Shame.

Loved the brick work as well as the marble details located around the Colosseum.
Arch of Constantine as seen from the upper level in the Colosseum.

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is mind boggling - the history is somewhat hard to absorb as it is so old and the patchwork of ruined temples is, while stunning, hard to imagine the grand and important government buildings that once stood there.

House of the Vestal Virgins was closed off for restoration - so this was as close as I could go.

Photographs by Charlotte Minty.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Montestigliano, Tuscany.

The gorgeous bride and her Dad.

I arrived back in New Zealand last week after a fantastic trip which took me to the shores of the USA and Italy. The above photo will explain how this trip first came about - yes, my dear friends, Wes and Adriana were getting married and their wedding was to be at a small hillside 'borgo' called Montestigliano, Tuscany - which is located about 10 minutes from Siena. How could I turn this invitation down?
So there I was at the beginning of June enjoying this gorgeous place for a week and I just had to share my photos with you - I hope you don't mind. In fact, it might encourage you to go and visit yourself - go on, you know you'll love it.

After a two hour drive from Rome, we had arrived.

Olive trees everywhere - should be no surprise that Montestigliano produce their own olive oil. 

Up those stairs is Casa Ropoli Sopra - my accomodation for the week. This was one of 12 villas that was booked out for the wedding.

The porch had the best views over the valley.
This was the view from my bedroom - not too shabby, eh?

There are three pools located around Montestigliano - this was our 'local' one.

Casa Virginia 1 and 2 - serious games of bocce were played on the front lawn.

Casa Adriana on the lower level by the pool.

Lots of great walks around Montestigliano - including this one through the Cypress Avenue

The Oak Viale which takes you to another villa called Pipistrelli.
The night before the wedding - pizza night behind Villa Donati

Are you hooked yet? We stayed here for a week and it was a blissful time. While the location was fantastic for visiting Siena, Florence and other nearby towns, it was perfect for a wedding. The team at Montestigliano, Francesco (awesome manager who speaks Italian with a British accent) and co, out-did themselves and their warm hospitality made it a relaxed and enjoyable week. I will return! And should you go - let Francesco know that I sent you.

The wedding ceremony was set up by Casa Luisa. During the ceremony, rainbows came out and doves flew by. No, I'm not kidding, it really did.

The reception was held in the piazza. 
Photographs by Charlotte Minty.