Sketches from Italy ..............................................................pen & ink renderings by John de Pillis

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Piazza della Frutta (detail) Pza della Frutta In Padova (Veneto), (pen & colored ink) Deserted on this Sunday morning, the Piazza della Frutta, and the adjoining Piazza dell'Erbe of the historical center (Centro Storico) of Padova are normally bustling open-air markets. When the business day ends, all the stalls (bancarelle) vanish. The piazza now belongs to the window shoppers and to the people-watchers as they sip their coffee.

A Piazza in Padova: (pen & ink) This restaurant view on a hot, humid day, shows the Molino bridge which traverses one of the few canals left in Padova. After WW II, there were many canals in Padova. They have been mostly filled to allow for more automobile traffic. When you see a street name like "Riviera Tito Livio", you can be pretty sure this pathway is covering what was once a canal. In this sketch, you see some ducks which  endorse the old life-style: The Duck family chooses to spend their Sunday afternoon close to the canal --- yet comfortably far from the restaurant.

Ferrara (Emilia-Romagna) (pen & ink) The historic center of this city is not as well preserved as Padova's. Shown here is the moat of the Castello Estense. The Este family influence lasted from 1208 to 1598. The turrets, moat, and skinny windows (suitable for archers) suggest that not every visitor came to share milk and cookies with the Estes.

Today, this castle serves as a site for calm art exhibits and other cultural functions.

Neptune's Fountain in Bologna Detail Neptune's Fountain Bologna (Emilia Romagna) (pen & ink) Recently restored, this fountain dominates a small side-piazza in Bologna. (to be continued)

Siena (Tuscany) (pen & ink) We see a view of the Piazza del Campo, which is the only piazza in Italy that is fan-shaped. Uncharacteristically for Italy, it is OK to flop down here and laze on the ground, soaking up the sunshine. Siena is composed of seventeen neighborhoods (contrade) ten of which , by lottery, are represented each July and August by a horse in the Palio di Siena. This classical horse race is more than just a race --- it is believed that if your horse comes in second, that is far worse than had it come in last! You will hear that inter-contrada marriage is frowned upon. (We're talking about marriage between look-alike, sound-alike Italians!) But let'em squabble, I say. As long as they maintain those wonderful restaurants.

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