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London and Goya-Travelling to London,Admiring at the British Museum the splendid Exhibition : Renaissance to Goya.Beautiful drawings and prints never displayed before and with highlight the Spanish Master Francisco Goya until the 06th January 2013.

 A free entrance to the British Museum it is not a present you can have every day.London and its fantastic museum offer an immense opportunity to admire free the exhibition : Renaissance to Goya dedicated to a group of fantastic masters displaying some of  drawings and prints by several artists mainly from Spain such as Zurbaran,Murillo Velazquez,Cano,Carducho,also by the great Italian Master Tiepolo but with highlight of one of the great Masters of the 1700s and early 1800s,Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes commonly known as Francisco Goya.

It is undoubtedly a great cultural and artistic event an incentive for tourism,for travelling,to admire the artistic masterpieces of a great talent which the Spanish genius increasing your knowledge.Visit a gallery,a museum is always a reason to enlarge and enrich your skills,art is always a more the valid instrument to transmit people concepts and notions that bring inspiration no doubt,but knowing also the history,asking ourselves because there wasa kind of art at that time,every artistic period is generated from historical influences and situations that have created history,our history, the history of mankind.

The Exhibition dedicated to the Spanish Master displays some of  drawings and prints by several artists mainly from Spain such as Zurbaran,Murillo,Velazquez,Cano,Carducho,also by the great Italian Master Tiepolo.

Goya was a painter who was for many one of the precursors and of course inspiration of Expressionism movement, transmitting sensations and emotions of reality, but also of Expressionism another Movement born many years later,Goya was a spontaneous and instinctive genius as the Impressionists, who probably gave the inspiration to the Impressionists to use certain colours of different gradation for the background ,a variety of lights,soft,vivid and intense in their works.

The originality of Goya painting, always created interest and mistery,also aroused pain is the case of his masterpieces Tres de Mayo de 1808 and La Muerte del Picador (a shooting in the first and a man dying in a bullfight in the second) or cheerfulness and happiness,some examples are the Boda (the Marriage) and El baile en las orillas deel Manzanares (the Dance next to the River Manzanares) Francisco Goya was also an artist transmitted eroticism in his famous works La Maya Desnuda and La Maya Vestida, depicting an attractive and sensual  woman,with a captivating,sensual gaze and expressions,on a couch naked in the first painting mentioned and dressed in the second. ,Goya also painted scenes linked to the religion,daily life, folklore of his country,the bullfighting sin Spain,scenes depicting mysterious scenes of monsters and ghosts in his cycle of works Las Pinturas Negras (, the Black Paintings).

It is really fascinating to discover Goya,the Aragones painter was an artist of immense talent,  versatile enigmatic and multifaceted.Every subject, person or animal,place or object,mood and periods that generated events,were always for Goya a source of inspiration,everything was for him something to paint with its style,using various tonalities and gradations of colours.Goya was also fascinating because apart all that he was also a great portraitist for the Royal Family and for many Spanish aristocrats.He entered in the great history  of life,with his unique style,sometimes romantic,other times decadentist,able to paint with relevant meanings different sides of the daily life,a precursor of psychological painting,generating among his admirers modern artists such as Monet or Picasso who in many occasions took him as a model to create their plastic masterpieces.Further more Goya was also a great engraver, particularly devoted to this artistic activity in his last period of life in Bordeaux. created  other masterpieces.

Travelling to London and discover Goya is a magnificent opportunity to admire the beautiful British Museum and with entrance free,admiring some works of a great Master of art that has shaped generations of artists and that has made history with his impressive talent.
Francesco Mari

Turin and Edgar Degas - A Weekend in a Wonderful City Called Turin Admiring an Unique Exhibtion in honour of Edgar Degas,the French Master of Impressionism until the 27th January 2013.Visit the Piedmont Capital of Art,History and Culture.

 Autumn is a great season to do tourism,Art Exhibitions are always a great reason to organise a trip,a weekend everywhere discovering new places,new cities and a reason more when there are important events that you can not see every day.In autumn many important museums and galleries are great incentives for travelling,there are a myriad of important opportunities to visit fantastic exhibition thanks to the cooperation between cities and museums.It is the case of Paris and Turin,the charming capital of Piedmont and the wonderful Ville Lumiere,Paris.The Musée D´Orsay of Paris gave Turin the brilliant chance to expose in the Palazzina Della Societá Promotrice delle Belle Arti di Torino an unique and splendid exhibition named Capolavori dal Museo D´Orsay,(Masterpieces from Orsay Museum) displaying 80 paintings by the Master Edgar Degas,80 splendid works by the French genius of Impressionism coming from the Parisian Museum,at Turin until the 27th January 2013.

Degas was a very special artist,he  often refused to be considered and classified as an inpressionist and he proclaimed himself to be a realist,anyway he was one of the most distinguished talented artist of the 19th century,a prominent pioneer of a different style of that movement called Impressionism,a  great painter but also sculptor who conquered fans worldwide thanks to his unique style so different from many other Impressionists of that period.

Impressionism is a kind of art deep,sometimes misterious ,sometimes difficult to classify artists,but it is a movement very fascinating.This style of art is the result of many components, the inspiration of painting connected to other arts as music,poetry, theatre and literature,and a highlight of this movement was of course the way to shape and develop the images with special bright,colours and light reflections,

Impressionism is to give light to an image creating an impression,the light is the centre of the attention and the work is all that created in a spontaneous way,the creation and and the inspiration and the quality of many Impressionist artists was the fast instinct,improvising often what they saw or imagined in  a concrete moment giving priority to the lights and painting outdoors with natural light .

Degas was different,an Universal Impressionist if we can use this two words,he used the colours of the classical Impressionist but giving importance to the human subject,he never forgot or ignored the art of the past,he transported in the Impressionism painting action of humans,ballet with dancers,orchestras with musicians,acrobats in the circusm,more than other Impressionists he painted  nude female figures,further more unlike other impressionists he loved to paint with artificial light.

Degas declared he needed a fictitious life to create his particular lines and shades with his own imagination,the artificial light was for him that fictious life he needed to create his masterpieces.The imaginative talent of Degas could be considered photographic,the Parisian master have been for a short time an amateur photographer and that probably helped him a lot to be different from others in his works,the expressions of his human subjects are very different than other famous Impressionist masters as Renoir,Corot and Monet.

The Exhibition of Turin is almost a record in the last 15 years in Italy because no other galleries received so many masterpieces from a foreign Museum or Art Gallery of this value,and never the Musée D´Orsay gave to another museum so many works of one of the most representative artists of its art gallery.Among the 80 works you can admire in Turin some of the best Degas paintings all time such as Portrait of Bellelli Family,Tests of ballet on stage,Bathers on the grass and Defilé.

Turin is a beautiful city  very attractive to the visitor,with its majestic Royal Palace,the impressive Mole Antonelliana, the charming Carignano Palace and Madama Palace,the Egyptian Museum one of the most important in the World,the Museum of the Sindone,the elegant and beautiful Valentino Castle and its marvellous Park,a big number of Baroque ,Neoclassical, Rococó and Art Nouveuau Palaces,charming squares,Turin is the first Italian Capital,ancient Roman city and it is one of the Italian cities with more elegant cafes located under chic arcades in beautiful wide squares.Further more in this city you can visit several museums as the Car Museum you are in the Fiat city and the majestic Basilica of Superga only some km outside Turin and the list of attractions of the capital of Piedmont is really very long..

In Tourism Industry there are always infinitive solutions,art tourism in autumn is one of them,Degas and Turin are a great combination to spend a fantastic weekend in a beautiful city,until the 27th January 2013,

Francesco Mari

Como | From Tempio Voltiano to Faro Voltiano climbing the Balcony of the Alps and Brunate Rifugio Cao.

Como is certainly a marvellous and fascinating city, highlighted by its stunning and incomparable lake well known all around the world, the capital of the Lario also boasts a magnificent medieval historic core, an unforgettable lakeside promenade, a monumental patrimony simply outstanding but it offers a great itinerary from Tempio Voltiano to Faro Voltiano climbing the Balcony of the Alps and Brunate Rifugio Cao, a magnificent experience for all those who love a great outdoor activity and one of the most popular sports in the world called cycling.

It is  a great route of approximately 8000,0 metres simply fascinating bewitching all the passionate  cyclists, especially indicated for all those who consider themselves good grimpeurs, that famous and iconic francophone word which identifies a climbing specialist, kinds of athletes who for special physical features have developed muscles very appropriate  for hard climbs with a notable endurance on highly inclined roads.

It is also an ascent absolutely inspiring for those who are looking for superb emotions, unique feelings and strong vibrations facing a long steep wall but at the same time enjoying historic sites, striking landscapes, unforgettable views of a waters basin considered a dreamland, a destination always in the top list of a multitude of tourists.

In a fantastic journey surrounded by a stupendous nature, art reminding centuries of considerable history, verdant forests, marvellous colours and a scenery frequently chosen by painters with the stunning images of the Prealps and Alps, that notorious climb is since a long time ago a sort of myth for many fans of that sporting activity on two wheels and a special site of daily training of local professional cyclists born in the area

Some of them, former or current had and have in that site as a sort of beloved friend to improve their performances and it It is enough to mention the unforgettable Fabio Casartelli Olympic gold medalist at Barcelona 1992 who sadly died in a crash on the descent of the Col de Portet D' Aspet in the Tour de France during the 15th stage of the 1995 Tour de France born and bred in Como or Guido Trentin, Lorenzo Di Silvestro and Luca Paolini, athletes with victories of important races in the international calendar.

The start of that itinerary is from the emblematic  Tempio Voltiano situated on Lungo Lago Marconi, the lake side promenade flanked by the splendid public gardens, a green urban area containing  sculptures kiosks, attractions for children just ten minutes walking from the iconic Gothic Cathedral elevated in 1396 by the master Lorenzo degli Spazzi using fine gray marble from Musso and only five minutes from the emblematic Porto, the harbour where you can take a boat enjoying a great lake cruise on the Lario.
The monumental neoclassical temple erected as museum conserves the memories of the great Alessandro Volta, famed physicist, scientist, chemist, pioneer of power and electricity,  inventor of the electricity battery, Voltaic Pile,  discoverer of the methane, a genius born in Como on 18th February 1745  (If you are interested I wrote a post about the city)

The city dedicated him, one of his most illustrious sons that monumental construction commissioned by the enterpreneur, businessman and politician Francesco Somaini and erected  by the architect Federico Frigerio, inaugurated in 1928 to celebrate the centenary of the death of that fantastic scientist.

That majestic structures contains documents, projects, tools, drafts and archives of study used by that great man during his scientific experiments. That impressive site is one of the landmarks of  that beautiful centre of Lombardy, a symbol which is also one of the first attractions all visitors want to admire simply for what that character represented and made for the entire humanity.

Alessandro Volta was professor at Pavia University, one of the most distinguished Academical Institutions in Italy and Europe, a figure who was venerated by Napoleon Bonaparte  who nominated him member of the Congress of Lyon in the Cisalpine Republic and furthermore  receiving from that leader of France the medal of the Ordre national de la Légion d' honneur, the Legion of Honour founded in the French Republic in 1802 considered the highest title for military and civil merits.

That eminent character was in addition a prominent exponent of the Royal Institute of The Netherlands, awarded by the Royal Society of London with the prestigious Coptey Medal, the oldest surviving scientifc award in the world, titled with the Order of the Iron Crown, a considerable order established on 5th June 1805 linked to that legendary crown  which coronated on 10th July 774 Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor and  apart all that he also became  Senator of Italy.

Not far that exhibition you can see The Life Electric, a contemporary sculpture ended in 2015 dedicated to Volta designed by Daniel Libeskind, a Polish-American architect, artist and designer with several works in many important cities, such as Berlin, Dublin, Toronto, Manchester and Copenhagen among others.

If you reach Como by car and you have your bike, a very good suggested choice is to park in the parking fee of Sinigaglia Stadium flanking the lake very close to Volta Temple and that itinerary is in its kind very significant because it starts from a point of the city centre ending to to one of its nearest mountainous nearest areast both related to that  phenomenal inventor and where he lived.
From there you can start cycling taking Via Cavallotti, a street situated in front of that imposing monument not far from  the famous Hotel Metropole Suisse, a charming 19th century building erected in the constantly lively and scenic square Piazza Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, a very central focal point of the city's life facing the lake just two steps from the enchanting medieval borgo.

 Continuing along Via Varese, a strategic artery leading to  Via Carlo Cattaneo, a further important municipal axis in that point you will be at approximately 800,0 after Volta Temple in the beating municipal heart.

Along it you have to continue towards  Via Cesare Battisti and cycling for about 800,0 / 850,0 metres you have to follow the course of Via Tommaso Grossi, an urban hallway next to the famous Via Dante Alighieri consisting in the main road linking the station of Como Nord Lago to the medieval walls of the city.

From that important city's corner cycling for further 300,0 meters you will cycle in direction of  Via per Brunate leaving the mesmerising image of the Lario to start the climb  towards the town with the same name and Rifugio Cao situated on the top of that stunning and exciting ascent.

In that concrete point  the city is situated at 248,0 meters of altitude and the summit of your destination is situated  at 980,0 metres, that means in a simple math calculation a difference in height of 732,0 metres, a date pretty interesting and beloved for all those who love cycling.

That magnificent climb is highlighted by approximately fifteen fantastic bends with further five curves which  could be considered with that definition for a total of twenty. It also has in addition two long straights , a couple of other pretty undulated sections with a medium length and a short stretch to take "a break".

The average media is around 9,7%, 9,8% with some great points over 14%., it is 8,0 km long so facing its slopes it is suggested to use short gears. The last kilometre is  around 8,5%- 9,0% and the final approximately at a 5%. 
Cycling in agility for a cyclist with a weight around 75 kgs it is certainly the best choice forgetting to push inappropriate combinations  trying to develop meters, not all people have the legs of Eddy Merckx or Bernard Hinault who during their careers with those kilos (the French champion from Bretagne a bit less)  both able to use often on those kinds of climbs 42x21 42x22, 42x24 gears.

The Belgian also used on similar ascents a 44 tooth chainring but he was a sort of superman thinking that in his thirteen years from 1965 to 1978 of a professional career he cycled 400,000 kilometres with  an average speed of 37,0 km/h and with a lung capacity of over 7,5 litres.

Forgetting those sporting icons, Cao Brunate is a climb from true Grimpeurs with good physical conditions, reactive, with great feelings with the altitude and of course with good legs. Recommended gears for an amateur cyclist can be a 39x26 or a 39x23 but naturally all depends on your legs while for people with an inferior level is suggested  a 39x28.

The first 3000,0 / 3500,0  metres are really very hard, demanding and challenging, a real test for every cyclist using gears with criteria but also fundamental is mental determination, balancing efforts and energies, looking for pushing large gears trying a brilliant performance since the beginning could be later a bad surprise.

The most difficult section is in proximity of Garzola after about 2,0 kilometres a borough of Como integrated in the municipality in 1855 with its boundaries developed between 270,0 and 450,0 metres in that specific point, the only thing to do is push the pedals, the bicycle saddle there will be a pleasant memory for a while because you will face that beloved 14% and be careful with the handlebar because sometimes the face could have with it a strong impact.(I tell you that from my experience)

The climb continues between 9,6% and 10% but reaching a very demanding section of
 12,5% almost in correspondence of the bifurcation of the road leading to Civiglio another splendid hilly neighbourhood of Como. After 250,0 / 300,0 metres there is a little decalage of inclination around 8% descending progressively to a 6,6% until approximately a 3,5 
when you will reach the boundaries of Brunate, a  pleasing  time to take a great breath.

During you climb your efforts will be rewarded by a unique and impressive view of the lake because you reached the so called Balcony of the Alps for its marvellous views of a large section of the Alpine chain which marks the borders between Italy and Switzerland.

You will have the chance to admire, a large part of the  the Swiss Canton of Ticino, the imposing Gran Paradiso, the stunning silhouette of the Monviso, that iconic peak which gives the source to the Po river, the majestic Monte Rosa and the Alpine section of the Valsesia and the Val D' Ossola.

In addition from the road the top you can have a magnificent view of the city of Como with its port up to the old town admiring the Cathedral, the Broletto and in front of you the splendid image of the renowned  lake side resort of Cernobbio, the magnificent Villas established on its shore among them the luxury and stupendous Hotel Villa D' Este with its incomparable bay. (If you are interested I wrote a post about Cernobbio and that accommodation)

The centre of the town is located just over the famous Funicular Station which has linked Como and Brunate since 1894 and it is still the quickest connection between the capital of the Lario and that municipality. That cable railway is unique to its kind in Europe carrying the tourist in one breath, from the shore of the lake to the balcony of the Alps in only 7 minutes with a maximum slope of 55%  and you will be on the top at 715,0 metres of altitude in a sort of Eden where the scenery is true poetry.

You will be  delighted by a panoramic view to immortalise in pictures but also in you memories forever. That centre of approximately 1750,0 inhabitants also has an old history to narrate, it was probably one of the first points of the Lario where the local Celts, the Insubri met a colony of Etruscans establishing a notable cultural interchange.
The Chiesa di Sant' Andrea Apostolo, a stunning Church dating back the 14th century but totally remodelled is a highlight just like the picturesque grid of scenic streets and winding alleys of that jewel which also has other attractions as the Chiesa della Madonna di Pompei next to Via Alessandro Manzoni in irs historic core and a further located in Via dei Piani another one dedicated to the Sacred heart of Jesus Christ.

Crossing the inhabited centre the road is narrow and you start to climb once again with slopes ranging  from 8, 5% to 9.5% for other 3,0 kilometres until the Faro Voltiano  Volta Lighthouse situated altitude of 906,0  meters, situated in the neigborhood of San Maurizio.

Built in 1927 to honour the famous physicist and citizen of Como.It is a tower 29,0  meters high with an internal spiral staircase with 143 steps. From the summit you can admire the entire city of Como but also the entire shore along the emblematic coastal road Via Regina with Cernobbio, Carate Urio, Moltrasio, Laglio and further north towards Argegno, Menaggio Tremezzo and Menaggio, Switzerland and a large part of the Western Alps. It boasts  with an intensity of 100 amperes and a power of over 50,000 candles made by the engineer Gabriele Giussani and the the light of the Faro can reach up to 55 km away, a masterpiece considering the age.

From Faro Voltiano to Brunate Rifugio Cao there are other 750,0 meters and four bends climbing a section corresponding to a 9% descending to a 5% in the final metres before to reach the 980,0 metres of altitude.That ascent is extremely loved by many cyclists and transmits them emotions testing both ability and capacity.

An amateur with a good training and athletic preparation, reactive legs can climb those 8,000 metres in approximately 40 minutes. 

The most beautiful thing anyway is apart the sporting performance an active tourism outdoor, that fantastic route will give you the chance to admire unique landscapes and the beauty of Lake Como from a superb panoramic point spreading from there all its inimitable charm.

Francesco Mari

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