The “Gaudí” House

Ciao Readers!

Now, you may be wondering “what does Gaudí have to do with Florence?”  Or, you may be wondering “who the heck is Gaudí in the first place?”  In either case, I shall explain.   Today I am going to give you a peek at my favorite architecture in the world (which I discovered in Barcelona, Spain), through a house right down our very own street.

Since you can Wikipedia or Google him yourself, I’ll give you the short version – Antoni Gaudí was a Spanish/Catalan Architect (and visionary) who lived from 1852 – 1926 (when he was hit by a tram).  He is known for his outside-the-box style – Modernisme (which is, according to some sources, the origin of the word “gaudy”).  It’s hard to explain, but his buildings usually don’t have edges or corners – they look organic – all curvy and flowing and natural (and, in my opinion, surreal).  Both Steve and I fell in love with his work the first time we laid eyes on it (in Barcelona).  He has several amazing houses (Casa Batlló, pictured first, looks like some sort of a sea creature both inside and out), as well as the famous Sagrada Familia church (pictured next, with work continuing on it to this day).  He also designed an entire “gated community,” but it didn’t go over so well and ended up becoming an amazing park instead of a residential area for rich folks (Park Güell)(second/third row of photos).  There really are no words to do justice to how amazing and unique and awe-inspiring his works are – ya just gotta see ’em for yourself!

Now, you may still be wondering what this has to do with Florence.  I’ll tell you.  There is a house down the street which looks nothing like any other houses in the neighborhood (or any neighborhood in Italy); it looks, well, curvy and organic and a little surreal.  In a nutshell – it looks like the architect channeled Gaudí!  Steve and I both thought so the minute we saw it.  Now here’s a funny side note – we had dinner guests over one night and they started describing this amazing house they had seen on the walk over – we both immediately blurted out “the Gaudí house”!  They weren’t familiar with Gaudí, so we had the pleasure of filling them in and lending them a book about him.  (So, that is how we get to Gaudí from Florence).   The final row of pictures are of the house down the street – ending with a close-crop of one of the weird little webbed creatures that adorn the top (I’ve since learned the house is called Villino Broggi-Caraceni, built in 1910, not by Gaudí).  Enjoy!

Traveling in Europe

Okay, I have to admit after writing that packing post and thinking about all of the work this adventure requires I had fleeting thoughts of retreat.  To redirect myself I re-read some of my own blog posts and decided to contemplate even more cool things about this move… and whatd’ya know – my enthusiasm was renewed!  On that note – ya know another totally awesome thing about living in Italy?  The rest of Europe!!!

I was watching a “No Reservations” episode from Croatia and it really hit me (in addition to the fact that I apparently watch way too much t.v.) that we will be living just a train ride or a €49 Ryanair flight away from everywhere else in Europe!  The way we can now get to Santa Fe, Colorado or Las Vegas, we will be able to go to Venice or Paris.  How cool is that?

When we traveled in 2008 we got to visit many amazing places (and yes, eat lots of yummy food), so I thought I’d reminisce about a few of those and share a few pics from that adventure.  (If you think I am also subliminally trying to tempt you to come to Italy, you are right!).

There were the more famous places, where we had fabulous experiences, including Paris (I took a pastry class at Le Cordon Bleu, we saw the city and the Eiffel Tower decked out for the holidays and climbed the stairs at Notre Dame) and Barcelona (where we went to the amazing La Boqueria food market and spent days exploring the architecture of Antoni Gaudí).  Then there were the lesser known places, where we also had fab, though more “quirky” experiences, such as the breathtaking Plitvice park in Croatia (which we almost never saw as we got stranded in the middle of nowhere Croatia by an ornery bus driver, but were rescued by nice folks at a lodge, who served us the bbq, pictured below [one is a pig, the other…we have no idea!]), Ljubljana in Slovenia (funky cool Euro vibe meets old communist architecture), Brugge in Belgium (where the best chocolates in the world are made…and maybe somewhat known after the Colin Farrell movie “In Bruges”), Orvieto in Italy (where the incredible [and twisted] Signorelli fresco, “The Damned” is painted in a church, and the first place I ever tried real truffles [shaved onto my pasta] – YUM!), and Bath in England (a town so picturesque and storybook-like I seriously expected Hansel & Gretel to come skipping out of the houses).

Here are photos of the places I just described…  Come check it out for yourself!

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