Today marks the final leg of our European Grand Tour. We shall end with a bang as we trip lightly through Italy and Spain.
Italy has a long and impressive history.
With patrons such as the D'Medici and the Papacy, the arts flourished in Italy. This is the home of Michelangelo, DaVinci, Botticelli, Titian, and Raphael, a list of men with artistic accomplishments too many and varied to list. So too, is Italy the home of the musical glory of La Scala, Verdi, and Pavarotti. Dante and Boccaccio penned some of history's greatest literature.
Today's Italy is home to fashion giants, Gucci and Versace. It is a country where the ancient mingles easily with the modern. Ferraris race around the perimeter of the Coliseum; Vespas zip past the leaning Tower of Pisa.
Dine on pizza and pasta, and sip Pinot Grigio. Take a Venetian canal tour. Marvel at the wonders of the Sistine chapel and the striped tower of Siena's Duomo. And of course, as Italy, particularly Milan is one of the world's great fashion capitals, be sure to shop.
Milano, is home to altdesign. Romantically inspired items abound in this shop, such as this rose petal necklace:
Look to the sky as the sun goes down over the Italian landscape and you are likely to see sunset colours much like those in this beautiful scarf made by mireloom, of Turino.
Travelling on to lively Spain. This is a country of excitement, with both the running of the bulls and bull-fights. It is also the home of the flamboyant flamenco. Even the food has excitement with flavourful gazpacho, paella, and chorizo.
Spain, has also produced a number of influential citizens over the years. The fictional character Don Quixote was imagined by Spanish writer, Miguel de Cervantes. Modern masters Picasso and Dali were also Spanish.
Spain boasts an enviable location sandwiched between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, with a share of the Pyrenees mountain range added for good measure. It also shares borders with many countries, and has strong North African influences. These influences have resulted in a unique and delightful mix of architectural styles. The European influence of the Renaissance and the Baroque, were pre-dated by the Moorish influence, and in some areas, the Celtic influence appeared even earlier.
One of my favorite "architects" currently working in Spain however, has to be Intres. This whimsical fabric home just simply captures my soul:
The coastal locations in Spain, have also provided artist alganet with a range of readily available natural materials, with which these incredible artworks are made:
Do you feel a little homesick, yet? I think it is time for us to return to our homes. The tour has indeed been grand, and so many treasures have been collected along the way. I hope you remembered to save a little money for excess baggage fees.