October 16, 2015 – Tour of Santo Stefano’s Portici

I’ve had to remind myself to “look up” a few times lately.  It’s not from a fear that I’m about to run into something (although that happens frequently), instead, it stems from a desire to not get too acclimated with our new (temporary) Italian surroundings.  We’ve been here a month and a half now, and finding our way around really isn’t a problem anymore – we’ve even found a few shortcuts to places.  There is an embedded problem with that though, the more you know a place the less you pay attention to it.  When we first arrived, everything was so new and so different that we were trying to look in every direction at once, now, sometimes I notice that we’re pushing through the crowd with our heads down.  And while sometimes you have to do that to get around, I don’t want us to forget the wonder of living in a city with roots deeply ingrained into history.

On point with that notion, as Brittany and I made our “hike” up to San Luca last weekend, we had an interesting conversation about the idea.  We discussed that when walking around, one of the reasons it’s so easy to just “look down” is because there’s almost too much to “look up” at.  As I mentioned earlier, you can get so caught up in the sheer amount of sights to see that your head literally needs to be on a swivel to catch it all.  And while you are mesmerized by this thing over here, you have just completely missed that thing over there, which would have been even more amazing to look at.  We decided that the best approach was to set out with a goal, even if your goal was not your destination.  For instance, on the discussed day, our destination was Basilica Santuario della Madonna di San Luca, but the goal was to look at all the amazing portici that were along the way (if you’ve seen our journal for that day, you know we weren’t disappointed – if you haven’t, go check it out by clicking here).  Sometimes we mentally or physically make notes to ourselves that we need to come back here and check this out (we snap a ton of pictures on our phones as reminders), but we tried to stay focused on the goal for that day.

The result is this blog post.  As Wikipedia points out, “there are some 38 kilometers (24 miles) of porticoes in the city’s historical center,” and on the path we took, we were almost completely covered from our apartment to all the way to San Luca.  We chose to walk down Via Santo Stefano (which eventually turns into Via Luigi Carlo Farini, which turns into Via Barberia , which turns into Via Sant’ Isaia).  Other than the obvious – there are a ton of portici here and they are magnificent to view – the thing that got our hamsters turning was this…someone had to design all of these…someone had to have built all of these…someone had to weave them all together to form this strange pattern-that-isn’t-quite-a-pattern.  In other words, we were amazed because every section of portici has a story, but none of their stories are readily available.  There are a couple of items we wanted to research – 1) Brittany read that the portici were built mainly so that carriages and what not could have a space to travel but there would still be useful space above, then why the elaborate design of some, and 2) We know that portions of this town used to look like Venice, with canals instead of streets, were the portici built as walkways running parallel;  but between now and whenever we might end up doing that research, I went out today to take pictures of the portici of Via Santo Stefano today.  We hope you think they are as lovely and unique as we do.  (Keep in mind that all of these images come from one street.)

WARNING !! If you don’t have an arch fetish this might not be the post for you. !! WARNING

Some are photogenic…

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Some are bright…

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Some are dark even in the light…

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Some are ornate on the exterior…

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Some are ornate on the interior…

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Some are modern and industrial…

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Some are long…

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Some form a wave…

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Some are red…

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Some are white…

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Some are massive…

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Some are thin…

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Some house cafés…

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Some house faces…

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Some of blocks…

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Some of wood…

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Some are old and grumpy…

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(but secretly have hidden treasures…)

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Some have doors that lead to unknown places…

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Some are tall…

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Some are wide…

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Some are mishmashed…

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Some are cold…

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Some are warm…

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Some reveal their inner workings…

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Some are short, then tall, then taller…

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Some are tall, then small, then smaller…

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Some are doors to other arches…

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Some look like works of art…

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Some even more than others…

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Some are round…

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Some are rounder…

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Some are brick…

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Some are orange…

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Okay…so nothing really works with orange, so here’s a statue I found…

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Some go arounds corners…

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Some stand straight and tall…

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But my I do love to look at them all…

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And since I can’t end on such a cheesy note (and because you can’t just go out and see one thing, no matter how hard you try), here’s a really, really cool door’s knob and entryway that apparently leads to Palazzo Zambeccari:

(knob)

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(right side of arch)

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(left side of arch)

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(knob again)

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Italian word of the day: arancione – orange (because orange threw off my groove {Soooorrrryyyyy…..} and because I actually found Tropicana Orange Juice yesterday….yummy)

And now you know…

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3 thoughts on “October 16, 2015 – Tour of Santo Stefano’s Portici

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