Doors in Slovenija

This year, I had a chance to go on vacation with my sister. We had not had that pleasure in two years during lockdown. She lives in Italy and I live in California, not only an ocean divides us, many other new government rules, pandemics and world disasters keep us distant. We planned to meet in Trieste, the Italian region of Friuli on my way to Italy from America and one stop in Germany, then we would proceed to Slovenija.

Ljubljana – Photo by my sister Cristina Cirasola

We went to Ljubljana, the capital of the Slovenia Republic. The country is part of the Schengen Area and even though the population is made of Slavic people, it certainly comprises a mixture of more European cultures. It borders with Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and faces the Adriatic Sea, waters so familiar to me, thus the city has a bit of customs from the bordering countries. As one might notice in the photo above, the architecture is made of arched doors Italian style, Austrian décor around the windows and colors of Hungary.

In the photo below, we can admire the classic order of the Italian architecture, such as windows with pediments and key stones, all in the same line, designed in the same shape, arched entry doors at the bottom and the red rooves of buildings of Eastern Europe. To complete the picture, a typical round fountain is placed in the center of a piazza just like any European city.

Piazza in the center Ljubljana – Photo by my sister Cristina Cirasola

A beautiful Austrian secession architecture beautifies the downtown city of Ljubljana.

Downtown Ljubljana – Photo by my sister Cristina Cirasola

I have noticed the influence of the surrounding European countries in fashion, food, and various merchandise with a huge difference in lower prices. In fact, Italians and people in the Schengen Area can cross borders without passports, due to this benefit they can shop and buy gasoline in Ljubljana at much lower prices than they can in their own country.

Ljubljanica River – Photo by my sister Cristina Cirasola

We concluded the visit with a ride on the Ljubljanica River admiring the picturesque bridges dated back to the Roman Empire’s time, enjoying the river banks lined with lively cafes and interesting architecture of the 19th Century.

Traveling is like reading a book from cover to cover, I bring back a lot of memories and a wish to be able to see my family again.

I am participating in the Thursday Door Challenge by Dan Antion where we can learn about customs and people in the world. Come and visit with us. Ciao,
Valentina
Amazon Author’s Page

Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble


Romanesque Door

Down in the boot of Italy, Romans, Greeks, Byzantines, Saracens, Normans and Swabians took turns to enjoy the fertile land, the sea overflowing with fish, the pleasant climate, the warm winds, the beautiful women and the easy proximity to the East. The old city of Bari is a mixture of ancient Roman and Byzantine buildings of the 10th century, characterized by round arches, sturdy pillars, thick walls, barrel vaults and decorative arcades. The center of the city reflects a neo-classic style architecture built in the early 19th by Joachim Murat, the “flamboyant dandy king” and Napoleon’s brother in law. The buildings downtown are all very symmetrical, the forms are defined in the simplicity of their order.

Palazzo sulla muraglia

This is the city with a view on the blue-green Adriatic Sea, this is Bari, my native city in the boot of Italy, a door opened to the Mediterranean basin through which trading with the Orient, Middle Eastern and African countries has been a way to live since the beginning of time.

This is a place where people eat bread and tomato for breakfast, and raw shellfish on the bank of the Sea at 10:00 o’clock in the morning. This is a place where mature women make handmade pasta, real masterpieces, in the streets outside their homes and wash the floor of the streets every morning as the streets are an extension of their homes.

Woman Making Orecchiette Pasta

In Bari, the balconies are full of flowers and laundry drying in four winds of the Mediterranean. In Bari people love the alleys with cobblestones where fried polenta, crispy focaccia and panzerotti (a type of closed pizza) fill the air, along with people talking out-loud thinking no one is listening and women walking graciously on stiletto shoes.
It’s the usual story of an emigrant, we leave in search of better things and always find what we were looking for in that same place we left.

Dan Antion keeps offering this Thursday Door Challenge. Please visit with us and discover many stories beyond beautiful doors in the world. Ciao,
Valentina
Amazon Author’s Page

Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Baroque Door

Europe is dotted with castles, each with its own history of families intertwined by political marriages, demagogic expansions and economic wars. Nothing different than what happens today in every country and its people.

Interior of Castello San Giusto, Trieste, Italy

In 1469, the Triestine people engaged in a war against the Venetian Republic by themselves without the support of the Habsburgs, of which Frederick III was the Emperor. Trieste was sacked, looted and people massacred. To punish the people of Trieste, the Emperor ordered the building of this fortress at their own expense.

Comune di Trieste /  Video by TCD with the contribution of Friuli Venezia Giulia

The fortress is now a very interesting museum to visit.

Dining in the castle

Dinner will be served at 8:00 pm, they are waiting for me. I will make sure I am attired with a nice evening period gown, complete with gloves, a hand fan, silk shoes and a “ridicule”, a small pouch where every woman hides the book of dance arrangements. I will also make sure to raise my right little finger when I bring the glass to my mouth, just to be coquettish.

The Thursday Door Challenge or organized by Dan Antion is growing with interesting posts, make sure you come to visit us and share the fun. Ciao.
Valentina
My Amazon Books

Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Doors at Smiley Park

The area where Smiley Park is located today was a regular city park with islands of many perennial bushes, colorful seasonal flowers, trees and odoriferous eucalyptus. Before Smiley Park, I used to start my daily walk there enjoying the scent of eucalyptus and then went on to my walk of 4-5 miles around the rest of the park.
I was sad the day I saw the bulldozers tearing down trees and vegetation. As often happens here in California, city officials tear down things, parks, old buildings, statues and anything they deem not useful anymore to build in place new offices and parking garage buildings.

House for birds
House for chickens

Instead, I was happily surprised to learn the city was building a colorful and playful animal park for kids. It took them a few years to build it, painting all the houses and making a joyful place for kids to play with the animals. Then Covid hit and was closed for two years. It was sad to see the animals alone, only the caretakers visited them and I had no more eucalyptus to smell.

House for pigs
House for doves

This past weekend finally Smiley Park reopened. The world is alive again, the voices and laughter of the kids filled my heart. The sun was shining on the colored houses and cobblestones, the animals seemed happier, at least that was my perception.

Grain Barn

In the fantasy world of kids, what is the reason to include the reality of adults? Here the park has included punishment institutions and public restraining officials. I would have done without them.

Sheriff and jail

Then, there is Hollywood with the goats as performing actors (somehow it fits the bill) and the iconic Golden Gate. The “animals” living here need to experience crossing the bridge at least once.

Hollywood Hill
Golden Gate

In my fantasy, I was expecting to see in this gazebo a gentile type of animals, maybe some pink flamingoes….

The kids volunteering in the maintenance of Smiley Park painted these homes, cobblestones, fences and directional signs. The park looks cheerful, exactly what’s needed after two years of so-called “pandemic”.

Rabbit Fence

Thursday Door Challenge organized by Dan Antion has become a pleasant appointment. Visit the group and learn about people through their doors. Dan published the first book of his “Dreamer’s Alliance” series. Ciao.
Valentina
My Amazon Books

Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble


Doors In The Medieval Era

A few years ago, I was leading a group of American friends traveling through my native region of Puglia, in Italy, an area any of them had ever visited before. Strolling through alleyways of Medieval towns and country towns, we spotted this quaint courtyard with stone buildings, ancient stone floors onto which horses and carriages have gone through at one point and climbing plants providing a bit of cool and pleasant refreshing area.
(click on each picture to view it larger)

I remember it was early afternoon, around 2:00 pm, when only tourists walk around. At that hour in the afternoon, the heat of the summer is very hot, the sunlight reflects on the white walls of the homes turning the walls to golden yellow and everything else seems to be undulating. Have you ever experienced it? We were looking for a place to stop, sit and get refreshed with a cold drink. We found this courtyard, the arched open door was a “cantina” a wine place that at night turns into a pub.

Cantina – a wine place

Inside, the walls were made of stones and arched ceilings, the type of construction that keeps the heat out in the summertime and warmth in when it’s cold and raining. The décor was sparse in tune with the Medieval age of the building. The rough wood benches with seats alined under the vaulted ceilings gave the exact sensation of being in a different time, but the lights were modern.

My American friends found their way to Coca Cola and the rest of us had very chilled white wines.

My Friends

Above, all of us, the only ones in the street under the hot Mediterranean sun at 2:00 pm in the afternoon.

Traveling is very rewarding, it’s one of the many ways to learn about people of the world. Through the Thursday Door Challenge organized by Dan Antion we are also discovering customs, history and ways of living. Ciao.
Valentina
Amazon Books

Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Doors To Food Are Always Open

In the Czech Republic, food is very earthy and flavorful. Meat and potatoes are the staples, not many vegetables grow there due to the cold weather and many months of snow. Sweets are delicious, as it is in most countries in the world. Eating sweets is rewarding after a difficult day or a situation, it lifts up the spirit and it is a way to celebrate good things. The aroma coming out from the Trdelník Shop is inviting and enveloping, that’s what got me to go in there.

Trdelník Shop

The trdelník is a sweet bread, almost like a wrapper, served warm. The filling might be sweet such as chocolate, a choice of jams, caramel and/or a variety of fruit. Alternatively, the filling can be savory with many ingredients such as würstel, cheese, tomatoes, sausages and more tasty choices. In the wintertime, that bundle of warm food in the hand is surely very comforting.

Inside Trdelník Shop

Inside the Trdelník Shop, there is a frenzied atmosphere, sweet frenzy I would say. The workers sing while they prepare a huge amount of the trdelník to satisfy the curiosity of the customer’s taste buds. As in any fast food establishment, customers must order quickly and leave with their warm bundles just as quickly to allow others to do the same, as these places are not made to sit in.

A family-owned restaurant

I was never served a huge mountain of fried potatoes as I have in this place. There were enough chips for four people on my plate every time. The carved doors were the reason to get me inside.

Beer alley as I have named it

The beers in Prague are delicious in any color, texture and style.
Doors of businesses are often made of wood, with heavy wrought-iron bolts and hardware to close the doors. They looked like the same hardware I used to see in the country farm homes of my native Italy, there was a certain familiarity to them. It’s very common to find doors decorated and carved with designs symbolizing the products sold in the business they secure and if they are just simple doors, they are at least painted in colors.

Traveling is for learning customs, history, traditions, food and even languages of other countries. Prague is an easy city for walking, I hope you have a chance to visit it.

Knowing the world through doors is what Dan Antion does with the Thursday Doors Challenge and this is my entry. Ciao,
Valentina
My books on Amazon

Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Shōji – Shadow and Light

A few years ago, I was working on the computer, the day was sunny and warm and I started wondering what I was doing sitting there, closed between four walls of a room. I turned the page to a travel site questioning what country I would have liked to visit, just in case. The answer came without thinking: Japan. I knew some friends there I could visit, I had never been to Japan, it was a good reason to go. I immediately booked a trip and went to surprise my friends. Finally, got to see and experience everything I had studied in books about the Japanese style, home décor, art, colors, and life.
(click on each picture to see it larger)

At the Nijo-jo Castle – Kyoto

I was intrigued by their uses of shadow and light for aesthetic purposes. In the western world, we are used to closing our homes with metal or wood doors, multiple locks, and security cameras. In japan is sufficient a shōji screen made of washi traditional Japanese paper (I am sure in large cities might be different).

At the tea ceremony house

I sat on a lot of tatamis, an art only Japanese people can do. The beauty of a tatami room comes from the enigma of shadow and the suffused light passing from the garden through a shōji screen. Indirect light is the key element that defines a tatami room whose walls are painted in muted neutral colors that don’t distract from the peaceful feeling created.

Home of a Samurai

Japanese highest aesthetic sense comes from living in nature and emotionally responding to its beauty.
They accept nature as it is, they work with what they have and embrace it. If there is a scarcity of natural light, the Japanese create intimacy in their interiors and mystery in corners. The ceilings are not particularly high to allow a resting place for the heart and have no central lights, only one or two lamps. There is a cosmic emptiness in Japanese homes, the silence of the emptiness is disarming for us westerners used as we are to noises.

Tea Ceremony House

What is the beauty of shadow and light in traditional Japanese homes? Homes in Japan are made of wood, the frequent showers of rain create a need to build large heaves to protect the wood and to keep the rain out. The light, therefore, enters the home horizontally and not from the top, it gets diffused through the shōji screen and shadows become prominent.

The entry to a Samurai House
A private home – Kyoto

Temple in Kyoto

“Beauty arises from our daily life”. I learned so much in the two weeks I was in Japan, their culture was an adjustment for me.

Contributing to the Thursday Door Challenge, organized by Dan Antion has enabled me to go down memory lane and relive those moments. Ciao,
Valentina
Amazon Author’s Page

Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Historic Doors

How many times do I get to see a historic building in the US? Hardly ever. The country is so new that has not yet had the time to grow old, make history and memories. In fact, I heard that when a building reaches 50 years of age, it goes down like dust. This past weekend I went to an art festival on the streets of Redwood City, a quaint town in Northern California and while walking around I noticed a few buildings designed in a classical style architecture. The Fitzpatrick building got my attention for its round shape over one of the entries, I thought it was a loggia above, but in reality, it is a turret with windows and a dome on top.

Redwood City, CA

Fitzpatrick is certainly not an American name. It seems it is a surname of a native Gaelic-Irish origin person with the Norman French Fitz as a prefix.

Redwood City in 1868 was a shipping port for all the industries present in the area. During the great earthquake of 1906 in San Francisco, the Fitzpatrick Building survived with minimal damage and for safety reasons, the dome was temporarily removed.

I love to see a plaque with a date.

The second entry of the Fitzpatrick’s building

Beautiful Ionic columns and decorated pilasters visually support a secondary entry. It must be pleasant working in this business building and be part of history, even if I think that the daily routine of those who work there, does not give much space to the imagination or to the realization of spending most of their days in a beautiful building that still stands after 112 years and that perhaps was part of many vicissitudes. I know that feeling, I studied fashion in a building 400 years old.

I hope you enjoy my findings and my participation in the Thursday Door Challenge organized by Dan Antion. Ciao.
Valentina
Amazon Author’s Page

Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Mediterranean Door

It’s one o’clock, businesses are closed, schools are closed, and everybody goes home for lunch. In the Mediterranean basin, life stops from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm every day. The main purpose of those four hours of pause is to have lunch with the family. After lunch, people have different activities, take a nap, read, talk on the phone, do house chores, help kids with homework, go out to exercise and many others. At 4:00 pm, all the businesses start again until the evening at 8:00 pm. This is the Mediterranean life, summer and winter.

The balcony above a business, as in my photo, often says the owner of the business lives above. In the Middle Age, it was a custom to live above the business to care for the family easier without having to walk or take the carriage to go home. Today, in Europe, the same work/living arrangement is still valid, unfortunately, there are only a few examples left.

Gioia del Colle, Puglia, Italy

The shutters of the French door on the balcony are real, meaning they have a real function, versus the decorative types I often see on houses in America. In the Summertime, the shutters are kept closed to let the fresh air in through the slats and keep out the ferocious sun. Behind the shutters, inside, the glass panels are always open.
If you are visiting Italy, make sure you eat during the hours Italians eat. Restaurants are closed for a good part of the day, as Italians love to eat under the moon and not under the sun. Lunch in restaurants is served between 12:00 and 2:00 pm, and dinner doesn’t start until 8:00 in the evening until the smallest hours of the night. In some areas on the coasts, restaurants have a full house even at 3:00-4:00 am.

I am happy to participate in the Thursday Door Challenge organized by Dan Antion, I am learning so much about doors in the world.

Ciao.
Valentina
Amazon Author’s Page

Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Tapas, Wines and Doors

Often, when I walk, I feel curious about things I see in the streets and if I am allowed I push myself inside to explore. I saw these colors through the large windows of this place, they draw me in like a magnet. Warm, vibrant, bold, sunny, these colors spoke to me a Mediterranean language and feelings of savory epicurean delights paired with rare wines. I didn’t know it was a Spanish tapas bar and restaurant with the exotic twist of culture from Latin America.

“Old World taste meets New World appeal at Cascal”, says the advertisement. This is a place where friends could linger over exotic cocktails, music, the bold personality of the architecture and daring food. flavors.

Inside, rather than having a great dining open space, the arcade function as divider of spaces, providing privacy between diners without totally obstructing the lights while mixing the colors into each space.

In the Mediterranean culture, arches embellished with columns, capitels and stones usually surround beautiful doors, also enclose kitchens’ cooking areas and wine storage, but often many arches divide spaces that would be otherwise too open, too cold and too unmanageable.

Colors create cozy interior atmospheres. Painted doors are inviting and show the personality of the people living there. For the Thursday Door Challenge organized by Dan Antion, this is my contribution. Ciao.
Valentina
Amazon Author’s Page

Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

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