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Italy, Florence: Florence’s City Hall

It is free to wander thru the Cortile (courtyard) di Michelozzi of the Palazzo Vecchio (townhall of Florence). One reason to come here is to see a copy of Michaelangelo’s statue of David. The original sat here from 1504 to 1873, when it was moved to the Accademia Gallery. This replica erected in 1910 now stands in its place.

The first courtyard of Palazzo Vecchio was designed in 1453 by Michelozzo. The frescoes on the walls were painted in 1565 by Giorgio Vasari for the wedding celebration of Francesco I de’ Medici, the eldest son of Cosimo I de’ Medici, to Archduchess Johanna of Austria, sister of the Emperor Maximilian II. They depict cities of the Austrian Habsburg monarchy: Graz, Innsbruck, Linz, Vienna, Hall in Tirol, Freiburg im Breisgau and Konstanz.

France, Paris: The Throne in the Palace of the Louvre

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France is celebrating 160th anniversary of diplomatic ties between France and Japan. Japonismes 2018: Les Ames en Resonance, will run through February 2019 involving exhibitions and events promoting Japanese art and design. Visual artist Kohei Nawa’s monumental sculpture “Throne” has one of the most prestigious spots in Paris: the Louvre. “I see the location as a connecting portal of modern lifestyles and the past, says Nawa, the Kyoto-based artist whose 10.4-meter-tall work is installed under I.M. Pei’s 1989 glass pyramid in the Louvre’s main courtyard.

The making of the throne itself involved both the past and the present. It was designed using state-of-the-art 3D modeling software and carved by robotic arms, however its gleaming gold leaf exterior was hand-applied by Japanese traditional craftspeople.

“The maximum capacity the pyramid can hold is 3 tons, so I told the museum I would ship a sculpture weighing exactly 3 tons,” says Nawa about the work’s creation. “I think they were bit worried, but after it went up, the Louvre’s curator, Martin Kiefer, told me the sculpture looks like it’s been at the pyramid all along.”

It’s not Nawa’s first “Throne” and it is different in that in previous iterations there was usually a small child seated within Nawa’s unique abstract shapes and geometric forms. For the Louvre, the seat is strikingly empty.

“Thrones are for kings. Here, the seat is for the authority that will eventually take over the control in the future. I left the seat empty to emphasize the invisibility,” says Nawa.

It sounds ominous, but Nawa goes on to explain that he foresees the type of power we see controlling today’s politics, economy and lifestyles as disappearing in the future, and in its place will be a very different form of authority. It could be artificial intelligence and advanced computer technology that will “take the throne,” he suggests, while we blindly follow, something that history has shown us that humans have had the tendency to do.

To us it is interesting that he chose a throne to be placed in this, the Palace of the Louvre, where French Kings sat on their thrones. Francis I chose this edifice as the residence for French kings and where it remained thus until good old King Louis XIV decided to move to Versailles and this building was then used to store his pretty things.

France, Paris: Hotel des Invalides

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Les Invalides or Hôtel des Invalides is a vast complex of buildings in Paris including museums and monuments relating to the military history of France. As per its name it was originally built by Louis XIV as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans. Pictured here is the Dôme des Invalides, a large church, the tallest in Paris which contains the tombs of some of France’s war heroes, most notably Napoleon.

The complex had 15 courtyards for military parades. At the church, attendance was mandatory. Louis XIV also commissioned his architect Mansart to construct a separate royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature (pictured). By combining a royal chapel with a veterans’ chapel, the King and his soldiers could attend mass at the same time while entering the place of worship though different entrances, as prescribed by court etiquette at that time.

I’d like to think the gentleman sitting there (in the wheelchair and on the bench) are two of our veteran heros..

US: Newark, DE – Courtyard Newark-University of Delaware Exceeds Expectations

We all know that not all hotels measure-up the same, and there is good reason why the Courtyard Newark at the University of Delaware is the winner of numerous Trip Advisor and Marriott awards for excellence in guest service, as evaluated by direct guest feedback. With over 250 years of hospitality experience on the management team, Bill Sullivan and his award winning crew do an amazing job exceeding your expectations.Fall Aerials

Enjoy modern accommodations, state-of-the-art technology, and impeccable service at the four-story, 126-room Courtyard Newark-University of Delaware. The hotel offers all of the comforts of home for your visit – whether you’re in the area for business, or to visit the campus of the University of Delaware, the  hotel places you in the center of the action with easy access to the Daniel S. Frawley Stadium, Market Street Mall, Christiana Mall and the Financial District.Brickyard CafŽ by Marriott Hotel

Nestle into the comfortable accommodations in the spacious rooms and suites, equipped with a well-lit work desk and ergonomic chair, free high-speed Wi-Fi, flat-screen HDTVs, mini-fridges, and you will sleep soundly on the comfy pillow-top mattresses.

The hotel works closely with the University Hospitality Program, helping to teach future hoteliers, and has always employed hearing-impaired staff. It’s not only disability friendly, it is pet friendly too – including small pet yard outside.

Location: Courtyard Newark: 400 David Hollowell Dr., Newark, DE 19711 (GPS use 200 New London Rd)
Tel: 302-737-0900
udel.edu/hotel
For Regional Restaurants & Accommodations: visitwilmingtonde.com

US: New Haven, CT – International Festival of Arts & Ideas

What do you get when you assemble authors, scientists, and leading innovators alongside outstanding artists? The International Festival of Arts & Ideas – a 15-day festival of performing arts, lectures; dynamic public programs to captivate, entertain, and motivate a diversity of communities.Arts & Ideas2017-05-05_16-12-09

Each June, the Festival takes over the theaters, open spaces, and courtyards of New Haven, Connecticut with performances and dialogues that tickle the senses, engage the mind, and inspire the soul. More than 80% of festival programs are completely free to the public, including events that feature some of the most influential jazz, classical, dance, and theater artists of our time.

Dancers Arts & Ideas 2017-05-05_16-16-33This year will feature an array of world-premiere theater performances, internationally renowned musicians, modern dance, circus theater, weighty discussions on contemporary issues, food and bicycle tours. Be empowered through the rhythms of BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play, healed through the communal music of (Be)longing, and surprised by international premieres from China, cutting-edge, retro-tech experiences of Manual Cinema, and LEO’s gravity defying theatrics.  In addition, more than a dozen new performances and experiences in ALTAR’d Spaces surrounding the New Haven Green, the Big Read, The Wailers and Rusted Root… the line up is bounteous!

Photo Credits:New Haven Green – Judy Sirota, Pop Up Fair – Haven Anderson

Location: Town Green and various venues throughout the city
Downtown New Haven, CT 06510
Dates: June 3- 24, 2017
Hours: Various
Tel: 203-498-1212
artidea.org/festival
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitnewhaven.com

US: Savannah, GA – Eli Whitney Slept Here

Why not stay at a hotel that has embraces a piece of Southern history –   Inn at Mulberry Grove. Mulberry Grove was the name of the plantation where Eli Whitney arrived as a tutor for widow Mrs. Nathaniel Greene’s children. Her hubby was 2nd in command to Washington, and had been given The Mulberry Grove Plantation as a gift from the spoils of the Revolutionary War.

Whitney was no average tutor. A Yale graduate, he tinkered with inventions, and recognized the need to speed up the process of separating cotton seeds from cotton fibers. He gained worldwide recognition for inventing the cotton gin, which revolutionized the South’s cotton industry. During the Civil War, General Sherman burned down Greene’s original house, but now you can stay in this Inn on the same land.orig_cotton_gin

There’s a touch of European elegance here, with gilded mirrors and dark wood furnishings. The hot breakfast with sausage, biscuits, grits and waffles can be taken in the courtyard. There’s a guest laundry, and it’s budget friendly.

Location: Inn at Mulberry Grove, 101 O’Leary Road, Port Wentworth GA 31407
Tel: 912-965-9666
innatmulberrygrove.com
For Regional Information, Restaurants & Attractions: visitsavannah.com

 

US: Newark, DE – Courtyard Newark/Univ of Delaware is Pet, Disability and Ice Cream Friendly

This is a special Courtyard, located on the grounds of the University of Delaware, so you can take advantage of University fun. Check to see if you can catch a game or something exciting going on on the campus. The hotel works closely with the University Hospitality Program, helping to teach future hoteliers, and has always employed hearing-impaired staff. It’s not only disability friendly, it is pet friendly too – including small pet yard outside.courtyard-newark-outside

There is good reason why this hotel is the winner of numerous Trip Advisor and Marriott awards for excellence in guest service, as evaluated by direct guest feedback. With over 250 years of hospitality experience on the management team, Bill Sullivan and his award winning crew do an amazing job exceeding your expectations.

Enjoy modern accommodations, state-of-the-art technology, and impeccable service at the  four-story, 126-room Courtyard Newark-University of Delaware. The hotel offers all of the comforts of home for your visit – whether you’re in the area for business, or to visit the campus of the University of Delaware. Make yourself at home in the spacious, pleasingly designed rooms and suites, equipped with a well-lit work desk and ergonomic chair, free high-speed Wi-Fi, flat-screen HDTVs, mini-fridges, and comfy pillowtop mattresses.bedroom-courtyard-newark2

For an interesting dining experience, ask them about the unique student restaurant on the campus – and the student ice cream parlor too. It is truly farm-to-table, since other students learning about the dairy industry care for the cows, milk them and prepare the cream for the ice cream.  Sample healthy American fare and award-winning crab cakes at The Bistro, which also serves Starbucks® coffee. Squeeze in a workout in the fully-equipped fitness center, or take a swim in the indoor pool. Book today, this hotel won’t disappoint!

Location: Courtyard Newark: 400 David Hollowell Dr., Newark, DE 19711 (GPS use 200 New London Rd)
Tel: 302-737-0900
udel.edu/hotel
For Regional Restaurants & Accommodations: go-delaware.com/Newark-Delaware

Germany: Munich Residenz

The Wittelsbach dynasty ruled the German territories of Bavaria from 1180 to 1918 – that’s 738 years,  pretty impressive.  Munich Residenz,  their former royal palace, is  located right in the center of Munich and very much open to the public. After 4 centuries of building it, the giant palace is made up of  many styles: late Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Neo-Classicism.PalaceMunich

Though spartan on the outside, it is very opulent inside. You can tour it for its architecture, over-the-top room decor (130 rooms), and displays from the former royal collections. After WWII, the Cuvilliés Theatre was built into the Festsaalbau wing. You can also catch the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Hercules Hall. In his time, Mozart performed in this palace.

The Treasury houses the jewels of the Wittelsbach dynasty and spans 1,000 years, from the early Middle Ages to Neo-classicism, and includes: crowns, swords, golden objects, rock crystal, ivory, goblets, icons, tableware and toiletries.

The palace suffered huge damages during WWII, but the curators managed to store furnishings, art and  details of its architecture in mines. When you are wandering around the 10 PalaceStatuecourtyards, see if you can find this fountain with statues of  fire, water, earth and air on its corners.

The Wittelsbach family’s head, since 1996, is Franz, Duke of Bavaria, and he still hangs out in Munich. During WWII, the Wittelsbachs were anti-Nazi and were arrested when Franz was 11. He spent time in several Nazi concentration camps. After the war, he studied at the University of Munich and became a collector of modern art. Some of his collection is on loan to the Pinakothek der Moderne Museum (see other post).

www.muenchen.de/int/en/tourism.html