The Colors of Italy

Piazza del Duomo, Voghera, Italy @PennySadler 2013

Voghera, Italy

I’ve been back for a few weeks from a recent trip to Italy. While editing my photos, I noticed a recurring theme – the wonderful colors of the buildings. In fact, if I had to use one word to describe this trip, I’d say: colorful!

I adore the colors of Italy: the myriad shades of terra cotta and ochre (from pale pastel yellow to intense rich coral), the greens (from mint to olive). It’s as though the crumbling architecture is enhanced by the colors.

Colors of Italy, terra cotta. @PennySadler 2013

Ever wonder about those colors? Where they came from? And how is that today, even the newer buildings are painted in the same or similar colors? The answer is pretty simple – mineral oxides and plant pigments. I am not suggesting that exterior paint is still made from mineral oxides, but in Italy, the tradition of painting exteriors in earth based colors has remained.

Voghera, Italy @PennySadler 2013

One night a friend took me for a drive in the wine country, the Oltrepo Pavese, and we pulled over so I could photograph this eye-popping coral house. Many modern homes and public buildings are painted in more vivid versions of the original mineral oxide-based colors. Even though it’s a bit surreal, I think it’s fantastic! Color makes me happy.

in the Oltrepo Pavese, Lombardia, Italia


These photos were taken in some of the small cities I visited, and in the countryside, in Lombardia, a region in northwest Italy. Most buildings also have balconies filled with flower pots, drawing your eyes upward and adding to the kaleidascope of colors.

Pavia, Italy @PennySadler 2013

Maybe those colors were inspired by gelato?

gelato in Italy, @PennySadler 2013

Pavia, Italia. Province of Lombardai, Italia @PennySadler 2013

If you like this story you may like:

Cathedral del Duomo, Voghera, Italy @PennySadler 2013

Postcard From Voghera, Italy


Britz gelateria, Voghera, Italy @PennySadler 2013

Hungry? Top Gelato Spots in Lombardia

All material copyright PennySadler 2013. All rights reserved.


Historic Los Angeles: An Architecture Walk

The Million Dollar Theater, Broadway St. Los Angeles, Ca. @PennySadler 2013

The Million Dollar Theater

On my recent trip to Los Angeles I walked the historic downtown area – a fascinating neighborhood packed with interesting old buildings that tell the history of Los Angeles from 1890’s to the present.

I was surprised to learn that there is a huge theater district built mostly in the 1920s and 30s and it contains the largest concentration of theaters located within on city block in the nation. Take a walk down Broadway St. – from beaux arts to art deco, it’s an architects dream come true.

The whole area was once the center of art and culture in Los Angeles, but was mostly abandoned by the 1990’s. However there is a movement to revitalize the area, and funding has been approved to install a downtown streetcar. There are rumours of big name retailers like Urban Outfitters moving into the area as well. Many of the buildings are already being converted into lofts, however there are still a lot of buildings that look only partially refurbished – it looks like a very long term project.

@PennySadler 2013 Detail of the facade on the Million Dollar Theater

Detail, Million Dollar Theater

A great place to start your walk is at the corner of Broadway and 3rd. On one side is the Million Dollar Theater and the Grand Central Market, and across the street is the famous Bradbury Building. The Bradbury is the oldest commercial building in Los Angeles, and it is working building so you can only visit the first floor. The beautiful French wrought iron, five story atrium, and wood and terra cotta details of the interior, were inspired by a futuristic novel from 1887 called, “Looking Backward,” by Edward Bellamy. Interesting anecdote, parts of the building were used in the science fiction film, Blade Runner.

The Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, @PennySadler 2013

Interior: The Bradbury Building

Adjacent to the Million Dollar Theater is Grand Central Market, the oldest open air market in Los Angeles and it’s still a hopping place. You can find everything from tacos to fresh fruit smoothies here.

Grand Central Market, Broadway, St. Los Angeles CA @PennySadler 2013

Grand Central Market

Walk through Grand Central Market to the other side and across the street you will see the world’s shortest railroad, the Angel’s Flight funicular built in 1901. Ride it to the top for just 50 cents and experience a bit of L.A. history.

Angels Flight @PennySadler 2013

Angels Flight

Go back to Broadway to continue your tour of the amazing theater district.

The Los Angeles Theater, LA. California @PennySadler 2013

The Los Angeles Theater was built in 1931 at a cost of 2,000,000 dollars! The owner went in the hole pretty quickly and Fox took over the theater until the 1980’s. Check out this link for photographs of the interior which is magnificent!

The Tower Theater, Los Angeles @PennySadler 2013

The Tower Theater

exterior the Palace Theater, LA. Cal. @PennySadler 2013

The Palace Theater

The Palace Theater was built in 1911 and was one of the first of the Orpheum Vaudeville Theaters.

There are many other buildings of historical significance aside from the theaters. If you can plan in advance (I did not), the Los Angeles Conservancy offers tours of the various neighborhoods and styles of architecture for only $10.00. Some include the interiors which I’d love to see!

The Chester Williams Building @PennySadler 2013

The Chester Williams Building

For more information on theater district visit Bringing Back Broadway

Farmers Merchant National Bank @PennySadler 2013
theater Broadway St. Los Angeles, CA. @PennySadler 2013

All materials ©PennySadler 2013

The Best Way To See Art Deco Architecture in South Beach

The Starlite Hotel, Collins Ave., SB, Miami @PennySadler 2013

South Beach. Miami, Florida:
Quick, tell me – what do you think of? If you know nothing about the area at all, you probably think of the obvious: beaches, the ocean, palm trees, sunshine, and fruity drinks decorated with tiny paper umbrellas.

What you may not know is South Beach has the largest collection of art deco architecture in the world! And it’s the perfect place for it – it’s as if South Beach exists so that all of those wonderful art deco structures can have a home. South Beach is art deco, and art deco is South Beach.

What is art deco? The term art deco came from the Exposition des Arts Decoratifs, held in Paris in 1925. It is a style that blends many design elements from Europe, Asia, and Africa. Geometry, vertical lines, curved lines, round porthole windows, and strong colors define the more modern art deco designs of South Beach.

@PennySadler 2013 art deco architecture miami

Ocean Drive, Miami

This neighborhood was built in the 1930’s and after World War II, was in decline. By the 1970’s many of the art deco hotels and buildings were seriously rundown and where scheduled for the wrecking ball. Luckily in 1976, Barbara Capitman founded the Design Preservation League to establish this area as an historic district. Today there are still buildings that are being renovated.

The design elements that define art deco are a perfect fit in this easy, breezy beach environment. Come to think of it, even the colors of the buildings remind you of those umbrella drinks.

art deco hotel with Mermaid sculpture South Beach Florida @PennySadler 2013

Mermaid sculpture

Each building is a work of art on its own, and the best way to see the Art Deco district is on foot. Begin at the south end of Ocean Drive at 5th Street and walk north. The beach will be on your right.

Walk up to Lincoln Rd., then head west over to Collins. From there, you can continue south to about 10th St. You’ll want to head back to Lincoln Rd. for one of the best outdoor shopping malls anywhere – and lots of options to gawk at all the beautiful people that seem to be everywhere.

Miami, South Beach, Florida

The Miami Design Preservation League has a guided tour which you can do solo or in a group. If you want to do the tour on your own, you can rent an iPod at the Art Deco Headquarters on Ocean Drive. The MDPL also offers guided tours that include other areas of Miami. All tours depart from the Art Deco Headquarters, 1001 Ocean Drive at 10th Street.

Waldorf Towers,South Beach Miami Florida @PennySadler 2013

Waldorf Towers

I did not take the tour, however, based on the research I did for this story, it seems that not every building is on the tour. Be sure to allow yourself time to really explore this neighborhood. After, or maybe even during your walk, you’ll want to take a break and sample some of the local cuisine, have a refreshing beverage, do some retail damage in the boutiques, and enjoy the luscious architecture.

If you love traveling to see great architecture and public spaces, you will love South Beach.

Park Central Hotel, Ocean Drive, South Beach, Miami @PennySadler 2013

Park Central Hotel

The Breakwater Hotel @PennySadler 2013

The Breakwater Hotel, Ocean Drive

Art Deco shopping strip 9th st. and Collins Ave. @PennySadler 2013

9th and Collins Ave.

For a map of the area stop by
Art Deco Headquarters at 1001 Ocean Drive. There’s also a fun gift store there.

Everyone Loves A Parade

Every August the city of Santa Barbara hosts Old Spanish Days, a week long cultural event. Also referred to as Fiesta, one of the highlights is a fantastic equestrian parade. This was my second year to photograph the parade and I got so many great photographs I decided to do a photo essay.

I really like this particular parade. It does everything a parade should do – it’s colorful, it unites the community, it’s cultural, and everyone smiles at you. What’s not to like about a parade?

Fiesta 2011-2012 ©pennysadler

Fiesta Parade

Fiesta Santa Barbara ©pennysadler

Read more about Santa Barbara and be sure to check out my other images from Fiesta in the weekly photo challenge posts, Wrong, Fleeting Moments, Growth and Movement.

Fiesta Santa Barbara ©pennysadler

Past presidents of Fiesta

Camarillo white ponies

detail of bridle

For information on Fiesta go to Old Spanish Days – Fiesta.
Fiesta 2103 is July 31 – August 4.
I know you want to go now.

All materials ©pennysadler 2012

Panzano in Pictures

Panzano in Chianti is located in Tuscany, midway between Florence and Siena. It’s a tiny place, and most people come to have dinner at Mac Darios. I spent about five days visiting a friend, and enjoying some of the best views in Chianti – not to mention there are some pretty interesting people that call Panzano home.

I filled my carry-on with stories of the local people and photographs of the hillsides blanketed with olive orchards, vineyards, and wildflowers. Panzano may be small, but I returned home with an abundance of memories and a few good photos. Here are my recommendations on what to see and do in Panzano, illustrated in pictures.

Every Italian city has an important church or duomo. Panzano is a hill town and the church, Santa Maria Assunta sits next to a castle at the highest point in the city. After all, what’s a castle if you can’t see who’s coming to visit long before they can see you?

Santa Maria Asunta

On the corner in front of the church is Il Vinaio – Enoteca and Pub, one of a handful of restaurants in Panzano. It’s a great place for a casual meal, a cappuccino, or to buy a pack of cigarettes. I ate my lunch sitting outside in this pretty little garden. And yes, they speak English. Be sure to ask for Brian.

©pennysadler2012 Garden at Il Vinaio, Panzano in chianti

Il Vinaio, Panzano in Chiani

A few doors down (in my opinion), is the most interesting place in Panzano, Accademia del Buon Gusto. The owner, Stefano Salvatori, has created this unique and eclectic space where you can not only taste the local wines, there is also olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and local honey. The only problem is you will want to take it all home with you – that’s what UPS is for.

Academia del Buon Gusto ©pennysadler 2012

Stefano Salvatori in front of Academia del Buon Gusto

By far the best thing about Accademia del Buon Gusto, is Stefano.  His love of life emanates from his sparkling blue eyes and his easy smile. Stefano is the kind of person who never meets a stranger and is happy to share wine and philosophy, as long as you care to stay.

Stefano Salvatori ©pennysadler 2012

Interior Academia del Buon Gusto

The first Sunday of each month, there is an outdoor market with produce, cheeses, antiques, hand-made soaps, olive oil, honey, fresh produce and most anything else you can think of. All of the cheese, olive oil and honey vendors offered tastings. The market begins in Piazza Bucciarelli, and continues up the hill towards the church. I coveted a globe from the 1970’s with colorful, graphic, constellations. There was also a nice selection of vintage jewelry.

Market Panzano ©pennysadler 2012

1st Sunday Market, Panzano

Mac Darios is a happening spot in Panzano, especially on the weekends. People come from all over the Italy, indeed all over the world, to eat, drink, talk, and just enjoy the scene at L’ Antica Macelleria Cecchini. There’s always an antipasti spread, and wine served from straw wrapped bottles. I had to pass Dario’s every day as I walked towards Piazza Bucciarelli. One day I heard Slave To Love, by Bryan Ferry blasting from inside.  That got my attention. It was a combination of wine and music that evoked memories and emotions long forgotten. I just didn’t expect it to happen while passing by the butcher’s shop! I don’t really eat meat outside of an occasional slice of salumi but if you are a carnivore, or just enjoy a good party, this is the place for you. Mac Darios is the restaurant across the street. Probably best to make a reservation.

©pennysadler 2012 Antica Macelleria Cecchini

Tourists waiting to dine at Mac Darios

This was the view from my friend’s place one foggy morning. I remember seeing the fog rolling in, and not knowing at first what it was. I thought it was smoke from a fire in the distance. It kept growing and swirling around like a living thing. I think it’s the first time in my life I’d seen fog like that.

Of course the story would not be complete without a stop at a vineyard. There are many to choose from. It seems around every turn there was a sign announcing another vineyard. This lovely vista was a five minute walk from my friends’ house. Just drive until you see something interesting, you can’t go wrong.

Finally, I have to thank my friend David, for extending the invitation and providing the opportunity for me to see another side of Italy. Some of the most interesting people in the world either live in Panzano, or travel there on a regular basis. If you need a great driver check out his website:
Follow Your Nose.

All materials ©pennysadler 2012