17.9.17

Lecco


Lecco is a city in Lombardy, 50 km away from Milan.   It lies at the end of the south-eastern branch of Lake Como. Nearby is the Bergamo Alps.  At time of our visit in October, peaks had a trace of snow on top which added beauty to the town.


The most famous person of Lecco is Alessandro Manzoni, a famous poet and novelist between 18th and 19th century. Lecco is so proud of the poet and name itself as City of Manzoni. The first sentence of his novel Betrothed is shown at the river side. uel ramo del lago di Como, che volge a mezzogiorno, tra due catene non interrotte di monti.........


After visiting Villa Manzoni on via Mendona briefly, we descended down to reach and cross the river. Walking along the promenade are one after one scene of tranquillity and beauty.  We spent quite much time strolling there and enjoyed the views very much.


Saint Nicolo bell tower is easily seen from the waterfront.  It is situated at the bustling squares of Piazza XX Settembre and Piazza Zermenati.   





The local government invested to make the promenade suitable for strolling and taking rest to admire the beauty. Benches are available. Green grassland next to the waterfront, mountain reflection on the river, the town opposite shore....  all compose a nice big painting of the town.


Near the mouth of Caldone stream stands the Monument to the Fallen (Monumento ai Caduti ).  The work is from the Milanese sculptor Giannino Castiglioni. It was built built between 1922 and 1924 and inaugurated on 4 November of the same year, the eightieth anniversary of the National Unity commemorating the Italian victory in the First World War.

You would not have missed the impressive golden statue of Saint Nicholas in the water.  He is the patron saint of the town.  The town's basilica is also dedicated to him.








Lecco is normally not on the list of tourists visiting Lake Como as it is more an industrial town. But if you have time, it is a nice alternative for its charming waterfront.


1.9.17

Saint Christopher on the Naviglio


Centuries ago Saint Christorpher was the first stop on the way to Santiago de Compostela.  Pilgrims first came here to get the credenziali (credentials, also known as pilgrim's passport) before embarking on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

Originally, it was a simple chapel with a typical bell-shaped roof. The church was added only at the end of the 13th century.  A pilgrim's hostel was added a century later.



There are two entrances. The older one on the left can be recognised by its beautiful 15th century door with a delicately worked Gothic terra-cotta rosette in the middle.  The one on the right is Cappella Ducale (Ducal Chapel) built at the beginning of 15th century by Gian Galeazzo Visconti. Above the entrance is the symbol of the noble family, a snake.

 

I can imagine that the church would have been very beautiful when it served the pilgrims in the past. Why? The reminiscence of the frescoes is beautiful.  Those at the central apse were restored. It houses frescoes of Bernardino Luini's school, portraying the Father with angels. I like a duke or gentleman.



But the rest on both sides of the apse vault were destroyed.  Byzantine-influenced Christ Blessing (dated back to the late 12th century) is the only part which can be seen on the left side of the apse vault.


There are some precious wooden statues.  For examples, a Saint Christopher from the 14th century and one from the 16th century, which reflects the locals' devotion to this patron saint of travellers.



19.8.17

Varenna & Villa Monastero


I arrived in Milan on 29 April 2017.  Friends had a plan of visiting Varenna after my long flight from Hong Kong as the day was blessed with sunshine but the weather would be bad on Monday. It is a bit more than one hour drive from Milan.  I could take naps and was delighted with the little beautiful town along Lake Como.




We were lucky to park our car close to Villa Monastero which we aimed to visit. It was owned by a German and becomes a place for conferences.  Its location is between the street and the lake which means the area of the villa is rather long and narrow.  Nevertheless, the architect managed to scatter the villa, different sections of a garden and many spots for magnificent views of the lake.



The villa has some grand and strange decors.  For example, a sunken bath, intricate patterned toilet and portraits with funny scenes. Click here to have a better understanding of the different rooms inside the villa.





We had a short visit of Saint George (outside) and Saint Giovanni Battista and then headed to the charming lake front.  Tourists were enjoying their meal and the sun on the way to its home. Colourful houses along the shore, the lake and the snow mountains - simply beautiful and romantic.







4.8.17

Lin An Tai Homestead 林安泰古厝


I had been to Taipei a few times but was not aware of Lin On Tai Homestead.  The Homestead is one of the oldest house in Taiwan. It was built by Lin Hui-Kung between 1783 and 1785 (48th to 50th year of Qianlong Period in Qing Dynasty).  It was named On Tai to memorise their homeland in Anxi County and Rong Tai Company which was established by his father and turned the family rich.  In 1978, the homestead faced the challenge of being taking apart due to expansion of the Dunhua S. Road. After hard lobbying, it can stay and has been opened to the public since 2000.

We took the red metro line to arrive at Yuanshan. After we have crossed the main streets, we saw a lot of temporary stalls on the two sides of the street which is like a big event or carnival. Passing through a big park, we first spent a little time at the Fine Arts Museum on a free exhibition of innovative design and products. It was nice to see art and facilities for the public, even a solar bridge for a cozy walk.


Gradually came the main entrance and the crescent point to our sight. A traditional red brick Chinese house stands under the sun with reflections from the pond.  The exterior is constructed with bricks but the interior is mostly constructed with wood. The rich people's living conditions in the old days was not luxury as today.  Comfort might not be a word to describe the life at the old time.  Nevertheless, the nostalgia attracts visitors, photographers with their models.


The courtyard is beautiful, dotted with ponds, partition walls, stone garden, pavilions, artificial hill, Chinese bridge.   All compose together as a beautiful and picturesque picture.


 





On the way back, we passed by Taipei Expo Park.  It was the season for roses.  Beautiful!