Virgin and Child

At Giseno, Lago di Como.

More on the hamlets over at Mario Taroni’s excellent little web site (do visit his sponsor–does he do mail order?), but I didn’t discover who did the paintings.

Pliny the Younger to one Romanus:

I AM pleased to find by your letter that you are engaged in building; for I may now defend my own conduct by your example. I am myself employed in the same sort of work; and since I have you, who shall deny I have reason on my side? Our situations too are not dissimilar; your buildings are carried on upon the sea-coast, mine are rising upon the side of the Larian lake. I have several villas upon the borders of this lake, but there are two particularly in which, as I take most delight, so they give me most employment. They are both situated like those at Baiae:135 one of them stands upon a rock, and overlooks the lake; the other actually touches it. The first, supported as it were by the lofty buskin,136 I call my tragic; the other, as resting upon the humble rock, my comic villa. Each has its own peculiar charm, recommending it to its possessor so much more on account of this very difference. The former commands a wider, the latter enjoys a nearer view of the lake. One, by a gentle curve, embraces a little bay; the other, being built upon a greater height, forms two. Here you have a strait walk extending itself along the banks of the lake; there, a spacious terrace that falls by a gentle descent towards it. The former does not feel the force of the waves; the latter breaks them; from that you see the fishing-vessels; from this you may fish yourself, and throw your line out of your room, and almost from your bed, as from off a boat. It is the beauties therefore these agreeable villas possess that tempt me to add to them those which are wanting.–But I need not assign a reason to you; who, undoubtedly, will think it a sufficient one that I follow your example. Farewell.


Mario’s latest Haflinger

My general impression is that the Spanish view the Italians as irretrievably decadent, while the Lombards at least consider their Carpetovetonian neighbours hopelessly barbarous. Room for debate there, but no question about where to go if you want good food and drink well served at a sensible price, and it ain’t Carmelitas in Barcelona. The acronymists tell me that {Lombard = loads of money but a right dickhead}, but there is a world beyond RAI. Time for some delicate persuasion.

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