Posts Tagged ‘ italy ’

You wait ages for a blog (part 2)

A lightning trip to Italy recently to shoot a couple of features – first, an unchanged 18th-century kitchen in a villa near Venice, still in use within living memory

Alex Ramsay

Then a three-hour drive to the mountains around Lake Como to stay in the sort of splendidly eccentric family-run hotel that is getting harder to find these days, followed by a day working in a lovely sixteenth-century villa, frescoed from top to bottom. Wonders behind every door – here a cupboard containing some of the family archives, going back to the early fifteenth century

Alex Ramsay

And back to catch the last of the sun and a little reward for two hardworking people . . .

Alex Ramsay

And finally, my latest book has just been published, The Gardens of Venice and the Veneto. Lots of pics, of course, and a luminously beautiful and perceptive text by Jenny Condie. As a reward for those of you who’ve scrolled down this far, I’m offering one free copy via Goodreads – see below to enter

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Gardens of Venice and the Veneto by Jenny Condie

The Gardens of Venice and the Veneto

by Jenny Condie

Giveaway ends November 05, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Death, in Florence

Alex Ramsay

In the Cimitero Inglese, Florence

Back again and full of the joys of Spring, as you can tell from the picture above. I’ve just had a few days in Florence, combining a shoot in the curious ‘English Cemetery’ with a modest birthday celebration. I took the sleeper from Paris for the first time since about 1965. Nothing about the train, including the smell, seems to have changed much in the intervening years. I think I may be getting a little old for the intimacy of a six-berth couchette. An early breakfast in the astonishing Milan Central Station was a treat, however – coffee and brioche surrounded by a dictator’s imperial fantasy.

Alex RamsayAlex RamsayAlex Ramsay

And home to find that at least one creature in the garden had decided that spring was imminent, despite all evidence to the contrary:

Toadspawn

Toadspawn

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit

Tyrrhenian Sea

A view with a room

Just back from Calabria, a fleeting visit for which I had no excuse other than to accompany Helena Attlee on her research trip to the Jewish citron harvest. This peculiar event will soon be properly described by Helena in her forthcoming book on the role of the citrus family in Italian culture. Briefly, though, the citron (etrog in Hebrew) takes a central part in the annual Feast of Tabernacles (sukkot); what’s more, each fruit has to be absolutely flawless. We met a citron merchant from Brooklyn who talked us through the business, at the same time giving us a crash course in elementary Judaism. Who knew, for example, that the only commandments that apply to us (non-Jews, I mean) are the seven ‘Noahide’ commandments – six of which were given to Adam before the Fall and the seventh to Noah after the Flood?

citron (citrus medica)

A perfect citron

Harvesting these fruits is a brutal job – the trees are covered in vicious spines and grow low to the ground, so that the pickers have to crawl on all fours and pick the fruit while lying on their backs. All this in the furnace heat of a Calabrian summer. And then each fruit must be washed and checked by the merchant for the slightest imperfection, variation in colour, etc. before being packed in bubble wrap and foam rubber like a piece of glassware.

citron harvest

Looking for the perfect fruit

Citron merchant

The citron merchant

Citron farmer, Calabria

The citron farmer

Checking the citrons

More pictures may be found here. After a brief break for beach time it was north to Amalfi to look at the precipitous and beautiful lemon gardens that hang above the Tyrrhenian Sea. The first picture on this post shows the view from our room, so high above the sea that we could just make out the mountains of Sicily 100 miles distant. Then home – and within 24 hours we were swimming in the rain in Hampstead Ponds. Funny thing, travel.

Amalfi lemons

Amalfi lemons

Amalfi lemons

Amalfi lemons

A new feature – more Italian gardens

In tomorrow’s Telegraph Magazine (Saturday October 9th), the first extracts from Italy’s Private Gardens. I imagine this means it’s now officially out there in the wide and savage world – please be gentle with our latest infant. The Telegraph has chosen to feature some of the Sicilian gardens we visited – a good choice, as they’re not often visited and completely different to anything you’ll find elsewhere in the country.

 

stena paterno

An expectant Stena Paterno next to a Chilean wine palm in the Paterno garden

 

 

garden photography often requires patience

 

 

Behind the scenes at San Giuliano

 

 

helena attlee

The author at San Giuliano

 

I’m just back from a few days in Oslo, shooting a gigantic building in the city centre for The World of Interiors. Less than straightforward, having to shoot on film with the most mixed collection of light sources imaginable, most of which could not be turned off. The building was the size of a young power station, and it also rained continuously for three days. Not an unmixed delight, all in all.

 

laughter

actually it read 'slaughter', but I was feeling optimistic that day

 

A new feature – Bramafam

A new garden feature in this week’s Country Life magazine (29th September issue), written by Helena Attlee. It’s about the clifftop garden of Italy’s most distinguished landscape architect, Paolo Pejrone.

Paolo Pejrone's garden at Bramafam

The villa in the mountains of Piedmont

Paolo Pejrone

Paolo Pejrone and young friend

gardeners

topiary work

New feature – La Scarzuola

A new feature by Helena Attlee in the current issue (25th August) of Country Life magazine – the extraordinary ‘ideal city’ created by the architect Tommaso Buzzi at La Scarzuola.

la scarzuola

la scarzuola

Alex Ramsay Photography now has a Facebook page of its very own, where you may find quite a lot more pictures and further scraps of news – please visit, comment if you feel moved to do so, and click the ‘Like’ button if you approve – thanks!

Alex Ramsay Photography

A new feature – La Foce, Tuscany

wisteria at la foce

Wisteria tunnel at La Foce

An appropriately spring-like feature in the current issue of Country Life magazine  (21st April edition) is Helena Attlee’s piece about the garden of La Foce in Tuscany, made by Cecil Pinsent for Iris Origo and her husband in the 1930’s. One of its major features is the wisteria tunnel, which we were lucky enough to find in full flower when we visited it last May.

I’m just back from a short trip to Cornwall, where I went to photograph the amazing magnolias at Caerhays Castle, some of the trees being as large as a full-grown elm – an astonishing sight, though so high that I really should have brought a field camera with me. Nikon make a couple of good lenses with a fair range of movements – may have to be this summer’s expensive acquisition.

magnolia

Magnolia at Caerhays Castle

The Gardens of Japan continues to do reasonably well – the French edition has now sold out so they’re reprinting there too, and it had a good review from Robin Lane Fox in Saturday’s FT – you can read it here.

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