Monday, June 24, 2013

Tivoli's Villa d'Este

One of my favorite spots to visit in Italy is the quiet town of Tivoli, which hides the luxurious gardens of Villa d'Este.

 The villa was the brainchild of Ippolito d'Este II, who was the Cardinal of Ferrara. Because he considered his governor's palace in Rome too rustic, he wanted to create the perfect summer retreat.
 Today visitor's can stroll past the Organ Fountain (above), the Hundred Fountains (left), the Fountain of the Dragons, the Grotto of Diana, and the Fish Ponds, and those are just for starters!
I like the Hundred Fountains the best. All the figures are slightly different. On a hot day, the fountains cool you off. More importantly, they seem to be whispering, "What secrets would you like to share with me?"
Despite the beauty of the Hundred Fountains, though, I also found some people who just wanted to relax and read. At Villa d'Este, there's something for everyone!

For a better view, check out Tivoli Reads Mariachi Murder.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


One of the charms of living in Tucson includes listening to live mariachi music. This style of Mexican folk music has evolved over the past century. The instrumentation includes a guitarr├│n, which is a kind of string bass and provides the downbeats, a vihuela, which provides the upbeats, trumpets, and violins. Typically, the players take turns singing. Favorite songs include “Jesucita en Chihuahua” and “Mariachi loco” or romantic songs such as “Cerca del mar” or “Spanish Eyes.”  The musicians play at restaurants, parties, civic functions, weddings, baptisms, quince├▒eras (birthday parties for 15-year-olds), and even funerals. The players most often wear black outfits that have, at least for this player, a welcome slimming effect. The trajes, as they are called, are decorated with plata, which are silver-plated decorations that run up and down the legs and across the chest. When the musicians walk, they jingle. This makes it hard to come home quietly late at night!

When you hear mariachi music, what’s the song you most want to hear?

However, not all Tucsonans want to spend their free time listening to mariachi music. Many are graduates of the University of Arizona. When they have free time, they might well make use of the wonderful warm spring weather to read outside in their rock gardens. They are so concentrated that they don’t accept interruptions!

(Check out youtube video for Tucson Reads MArIACHI MUrDER)

Coming next time: Orvieto, Italy.

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