Sunday, April 27, 2014

Along the Po



At the moment I am reading “Il Grande Fiume Po” by Guido Conti a rather inspiring travel book that traces a poetic journey along the river Po. This inspired me to go and visit a part of the River Po that I know well, but never tire of visiting.

My first stop was Boretto where I found the “Museo del Po” nautical museum open. It is the first time I have been able to visit the museum housed in the old “Genio Civile per il Po” buildings.  These workshops once employed 250 people in a logistical structure for the river authority that looked after the navigation along the Po.
Secchia, Museo del Po, Boretto,RE

Secchia, Museo del Po, Boretto,RE

Museo del Po, Boretto,RE

Museo del Po, Boretto,RE

Museo del Po, Boretto,RE
 
Museo del Po, Boretto,RE

To be honest there is not a lot to see. Outside one finds a motley collection of rusting pumps and decaying small boats. Inside is a bit more interesting with a collection old navigational items and workshop tools. It makes for some interesting photographs, but one learns little about navigation along the Po.

Next stop was Brescello. It has been some time since I was last here. In the past, the little port has yielded some interesting photographs. This time I found little to interest me.

Brescello, RE

Brescello, RE

At the bridge, that crosses the Po between Boretto and Viadana there is a little museum where the old river crossing terminal is preserved. From Roman times until the end of the nineteen sixties all the river crossings for road traffic along this stretch of the Po were by means of “Boat Bridges”. A series of boats formed the base for the roadway that passed from boat to boat. The bridge rose and fell with the river level. This particular bridge was built in the late nineteenth century when Lombardy became part of Italy. There is a little exhibition with some old photographs of the bridge. It seems the running of the bridge took a lot of skill and knowledge of the river.

Casa dei Pontieri, Boretto, RE

Casa dei Pontieri, Boretto, RE
Here down by the river I stumbled across a curious structure built in driftwood. This is the work of a curious personality who calls himself “Il Re del Po” – the King of the Po. His palace is a fascinating riot of driftwood combined to form a maze towers and walkways. It is quite a work of art. I have read that it is a continuous work in progress, that has to be rebuilt every so often after the river floods. I took some photographs, but it merits another visit with better light.

The construction built by "Il Re del Po", Boretto, RE

The construction built by "Il Re del Po", Boretto, RE

The construction built by "Il Re del Po", Boretto, RE

The construction built by "Il Re del Po", Boretto, RE

The construction built by "Il Re del Po", Boretto, RE

The construction built by "Il Re del Po", Boretto, RE

The construction built by "Il Re del Po", Boretto, RE

The construction built by "Il Re del Po", Boretto, RE

The construction built by "Il Re del Po", Boretto, RE

From the book I am reading, it seems that the banks of the Po produce many of these self-taught artists. Along the Po at Guastalla There is a boathouse decorated with paintings in the Naïve stile and Gualtieri one of my favourite spots along the Po was the home of Ligabue, perhaps the most famous Italian Naïve artist. 

Lido Po, Guastalla ,RE

Lido Po, Guastalla ,RE

Lido Po, Guastalla ,RE

Lido Po, Guastalla ,RE

Lido Po, Guastalla ,RE

Gualtieri, RE

Gualtieri, RE

Gualtieri, RE

LidoPo, Guastalla, RE

LidoPo, Guastalla, RE

Friday, April 18, 2014

Palazzo Ducale di Sassuolo



By pure chance last Sunday I found myself visiting the Palazzo Ducale di Sassuolo .
 
 Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO
Sassuolo is a rather ugly industrial town at the heart of the massive Italian ceramic tile industry and a place that nobody usually visits for  sightseeing, just mile after mile of industrial sprawl is what you will find if you visit this area. But like lots of other seemingly ugly places in Italy, a visual surprise is always just around the corner.

Sala della Guardia, Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO
I was curious to see this palace before continuing on to somewhere else, not expecting to find it even open. What a nice surprise I had. For some reason the palace was open and better still admission was free that day. Even though photography was officially prohibited, nobody enforced the rule, so I was even able to take some pictures or rather lots of pictures.

Sala della Guardia, Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO
Scala, Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO

 Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO

 Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO
 
The palace was constructed over an older castle in the mid seventeenth century for the Duke of Modena as a summer residence and hunting lodge.  After the fall of the Ducato di Modena during Napoleon’s invasion of Italy, the palace fell into a slow decline ending up at one point as a Salami factory.  The palace is now being slowly restored to something of its former glory.

 Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO

 Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO

 Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO
What a sea of colour this palace is with the walls and ceilings decorated with frescoes  as well as a good dose gold gilt trimmings  around the fittings. Particularly impressive is the “Sala delle Guardie”. In the rooms where the original painting have long since disappeared, their place has been taken by mono colour  panels conceived by a couple of contemporary artists. The effect works quite well.

 Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO

 Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO

 Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO
 Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO
 Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO
 Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO

 Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO


I spent a pleasant couple of hours wandering around this wonderful palace and its park lost  in the middle of one of the ugliest towns in Italy.

 Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO



 
 Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO

 Palazzo Ducale, Sassuolo, MO





Saturday, April 12, 2014

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana.



I have been meaning to visit the new high speed rail station designed by Santiago Calatrava on the other side of town for ages, but I never have quite got round to it. So I Friday I decided to skive off for a couple of hours and visit this temple of structural steel.
 
Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana
I have seen it from a distance, but seeing it close up is quite another matter, one can appreciate the play of form, light and shadow better by standing almost alongside the structure and looking down its length.
 
Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

The structure is formed by a series of rectangular tube portal frames each one slightly different to the one beside it at one metre centres. The effect is like looking at a wave. The wave pattern repeats itself every twenty-five  metres. The structure is four hundred and eighty metres long.

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana
The structure was opened in 2013 and has cost more than eighty million Euros so far. It is still not quite finished. 

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana
Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

I also had a look inside. It is quite impressive but far less so than the outside. Also seeing the structure close up revels that the tubes are formed from welded plate with visible welding giving a less than perfect finish, but then I know what to look for in steel structures ( http://www.nigel-voak.it/ ) .

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana
Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana
Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana
Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana
Anyway I managed to take some interesting photographs  and another visit to take some photographs with the sun at a different angle is definitely on the cards.

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana

Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana
 
Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana
Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana