Snowdrops at Cambo Estate, Kingsbarns, Scotland

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© Letizia Morley 2018

A beautiful trail through Cambo Estate in Kingsbarns, Scotland in early March. Cambo Estate, just a few minutes’ drive from St Andrews, is famous in this eastern coast of the Kingdom of Fife for its national collection of snowdrop flowers. I took my children there on a rather dreary and chilly day but our walk was worth it for the view. This path leads onto a beach, which is part of the well-known Kingsbarns golf course. 

Piazza del Campo and the Palio, Siena, Italy

Here below is the Piazza del Campo, the magnificent medieval town square. Sienese architecture is known for its distinctive tower designs and its black and white striped stone walls.

Every summer, the piazza is the site of a very unique event in Sienna: the Palio. It is a horse race tracing back to medieval times. The event takes place twice, once in July and once in August. Large amounts of soil are placed around the perimeter of the square and pressed down to make a firm dirt track. Ten horses with ten bareback jockeys go round this course 3 times. Before the race, there is an elaborate pageant with people dressed as knights and such. Each horse represents a contrada, or city ward. Each contrada comprises residents of a certain part of the city and has its own flag and songs. At the Palio, flags of all colours are flying and being waved as members of different contrade (plural) chant their songs and stared down rivals.

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The magnificent Palazzo Pubblico, technically the city hall but that seems too belittling a description, don’t you think? The 13th century Palazzo has a striking bell tower–or campanile–called the Torre del Mangia, which was built in the 14th century to rival the tallest tower of nearby rival Florence. At that time it was the tallest edifice in Italy. The Palazzo is decorated inside with amazing frescoes which are mainly secular in theme, a thing not often found in a region where so much art is religious.

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Here you see the vans coming to unload the dirt. The entire square will soon be filled with people. The area with brick is where people stand and the grey areas will become the track. 

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The pageant. The light blue and white flag belongs to the Onda (‘wave’) faction. People were filling the square and hanging out of windows, terraces and every possible space. 

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Celebratory dinner on the street

View of St Peter’s Basilica from top of dome

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© 2007 Letizia Morley

I’ve been going through my photo archives recently trying to weed out duplicates; for some reason the photos on my Apple devices are showing up double or sometimes even triple. While I was deleting extras, I culled out the duds and then collated some of my favourite travel photographs from over the years into albums. I found quite a few good ones from my summer in Italy in 2007. 

For this picture I had climbed the many many winding narrow steps to the very top of the dome of the basilica. Boy, did that make me dizzy! It was early in the day and as I gazed out over the nearly empty plaza in front of the façade and Bernini’s colonnade, there was a sense of overwhelming grandeur. What a place! What a place! From the top of the inside of the dome, one could look over a railing and see down to the impressive tomb of Saint Peter himself directly below. Inside the church, with its dusky side chapels and shafts of dusty light coming down in long rays, I even saw the famous Pieta statue of Michelangelo, circling around it slowly and in awe. Michelangelo was one of the principle architects for the basilica, did you know?

It’s hard to believe that trip was 10 years ago. How time flies…

North Sea with Breakers, St Andrews, Scotland

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© Letizia Morley 2017

It was a blustery and bitterly cold day in St Andrews as I walked near the West Sands beach by the North Sea to find some good shooting opportunities. The breakers were pretty big, some even surging up over the railing where I was standing and getting a few drops on my coat. Sometimes one forgets the power of the elements. I made the photo kind of “noir” to encapsulate the mysterious power of the wind and waves.

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