Ponies, Mosaics and Murals.

We are staying in an amazing b@b in the countryside outside Bologna.  It’s a gentleman’s farm, actually.  There is the main farmhouse where the owners live, a cottage they use as a b@b, and a building they rent for weddings and other special occasions.  As a matter of fact, tomorrow, they are hosting a baptism party.

Our cottage is meticulously renovated preserving the integrity of an old farm.  It is tasteful and timeless.  The floor is made of rustic tiles, the doors are massive wood, all hardware is heavy cast iron, the bathroom is modern but fits perfectly into the farm scene.  The sink is a farmhouse sink, but made of tumbled marble tiles,  This is actually not a room but a whole apartment complete with a living room and a dining area.  The table in the dining area is a long farm table big enough to sit sit 8 to 10 people.  All the furnishings are antique, a collection of old cameras adorn the shelves, and there is even an antique crib in a corner.  The windows are huge to take a full advantage of the peaceful grounds below.  Two ponies roam the grounds.  In fact, they are grazing right now in front of my window 🙂  And there are artsy books on Italy; albeit in Italian that we can’t read, but can enjoy the glossy pictures.  I’m so happy we are spending 3 nights in this serene place!

This morning we visited Dozza, a quaint old village at the foot of a castle.  The most distinguishing feature of the village is the frescos painted on the walls of the houses by Italian artists from different parts of the country.  Truth be told, these artists will never be on the path to any kind of success, but still, their work, very different from one another, gives the town an aura of fun and artistry.  Two winding street and a piazzetta in front of the castle – that’s all there is to this hamlet, but so joyful and uplifting it is,  it’s well worth a visit!

The next stop was Ravenna.  This ancient town would not be on the tourist’s map if it weren’t for the 5th and 6th century Byzantine churches housing perfectly preserved mosaics.  We crisscrossed the small town going from church to church, from chapel to chapel.  The mosaics are striking – stones don’t fade with age, so the colors remain as vivid as they were 1600 years ago!  The people’s faces that mosaic artists created are expressive and life-like and I coveted their chic outfits.  How amazing is it that 16 centuries ago there lived artists so skillful that they could create that?!

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