Thursday, December 19, 2013

Centro Storico at Night ~ A Fellini Party, and Genova All Dressed in Light

There is no end. 
There is no beginning.
There is only the passion of life.
~Federico Fellini

One amazing night in Genova.

After a day going through the beautiful Musei di Strada Nuova Palazzos, we decided to walk through the narrow streets of the Centro Storico. It's a very old area, and quite unique. In some places you feel like you could stretch your arms out and reach the buildings on either side.

Oh, and my song of the trip, is by an artist Vincenzo introduced me to, Malika Ayane. I got home immediately downloaded two of her albums. We basically had this song on repeat for hours, while hanging in his place, and eating 10,000 thousand calories in cheese. OK, that might be a slight exaggeration, but I have never been much of a calorie counter.

The video reminds me of a Fellini movie. I want to have a party just like it! Musicians and a big table full of food and Prosecco! So fun! And yes, I would be in a top hat!

There were lots of markets with pretty much anything you can think of … including gifts, clothes, home goods, and food (which is always fun to photograph!)

Don't forget to look up!

Church of San Pietro in Banchi
built 1572-1585

A little creche, in a shop window … Buon Natale!

More colorful produce ...

This street seemed downright enormous compared to the other streets!

Cathedral of San Lorenzo
consecrated in 1118
Reworked though the 16th Century

Later that night, we were invited to a party. Vincenzo said, "You will never experience this again. We should go." What does that mean?? Well, it turns out the guy who was throwing the party, was the father of a friend he grew up with, and is a well known architect in the area … who lives in an old palazzo!

Realism is a bad word.
In a sense everything is realistic.
I see no line between the imaginary 
and the real.
~Federico Fellini

Vincenzo and I met up with a few friends of his, and began walking through the old town, up and down more tiny little streets, but this time there were very few lights. A woman who was in our little group said, "The Romans made these," referring to the little streets which were now not only narrow, but dark, and a just a bit hilly. Thank the lord, I was in my flat boots, because the old stones weren't at all even!

I thought, unless you knew your way around these little passageways, that they call streets, you would never make your way out! It was a twisty, mysterious maze, of old beautiful buildings, that seemed to be crumbling, in a state of beautiful, exotic, decay.

We finally made it to an old building, (17th century?) that from the outside looked a little dark. Literally and metaphorically. I thought, where in the world are we going?

We stepped up into a little entryway, that didn't really look like much, but then around a corner, a set of shiny black stairs, with blood red carpet, leading us up to the first floor. (In the U.S. this would be the second floor.) 

At the top of the stairs, what looked to be some sort of Roman relic. For a moment, it all felt a little Stanly Kubrick … More Eyes Wide Shut than The Shining, I am relieved to say.

Then, the door swung open, to a room draped in red curtains, with group of ladies in black sheath dresses, dark cropped hair, and modern black spectacles, that looked rather severe, if I might say. They turned to us and literally did the down-up look, giving us the once over, then returning to their champagne and silver electronic cigarettes. 

OH MY GOD, I thought. I am in a Fellini movie! I turned to Vincenzo who had a hilarious shit-eating-grin on his face. I smiled back, shaking my head. Yes! I'm in my fantasy … I'm in a Fellini movie!

A little Nino Rota music, for the party … ;)

The host arrived a moment later, to great us. Very tall, (crazy tall for an Italian, actually! 6'3"?) He was rather handsome and had this beautiful, wavy, silver hair, an immaculately pressed white shirt, and beautifully tailored black trousers. 

I thought, perfect casting. I also looked around the room and thought, I am so happy I wore black!

Let me say, that these photos are the worst quality you will ever see on this blog. At least, I hope so. It was dark, and not at all the kind of party where people were whipping out their iPhones to record the moment, or post every little thing on Instagram. So, I started taking photos on the down-low. Real sneaky like.

You will notice, the many paintings in the sitting room, above. They were all from the Renaissance and the Baroque periods, and let me tell you, I was freaking out. It's one thing to be in a museum, and see all this, but standing around and drinking a glass of champagne under a 7 foot tall painting of a saint floating on a cloud, in someone's home, is another whole experience!

What helps me go forward
is that I stay receptive,
I feel that anything can happen.
~Anouk Aimee

Vince and I, trying to aim the camera to get a shot of the pretty gold ceiling filigree, which I think was actually not just painted but plaster relief..

Pretty antique lamps and an ornate gold clock ...

Vincenzo laughed about the photo, below, remarking that it was nice that I'd gotten the back of Berlusconi's head! Ha! So funny. Not him, obviously, but check out the lanterns. I think I saw similar ones in one the old Renaissance churches, a few days later.

After a couple of glasses of champagne, we were getting a little bold, with the iPhone camera. Check out the beautiful curtains and paintings behind Vincenzo and his friend Alessandro.

I fell in love with the chandelier, behind us, in the following photo. It was actually much larger than it looks and those are candles burning, not lightbulbs. The room was glowing and bathed in this gorgeous ethereal light, that made everyone and everything look more lovely.

And, check out the antique plates and tapestries on the wall. (We were trying not to look like we were taking pictures of the palazzo, but under my breath, I was saying to Alessandro, "Can you see it? Are you getting chandelier ??")

The people on the left, below, were in our little group, including the very funny guy in the middle, who was throwing that cherub's tassel around his neck.  It felt like the party people were all very Armani/Dolce and Gabbana, and our little group was more the Italian equivalent of J.Crew. (Not that there's anything wrong with J.Crew, of course.)

Alessandro and LaCalani, who came with us. They actually create music videos together ...

Here are two of her videos … not sure if he directed the first, but it looks like he did the second one. 

Back to the party … trying to get shots of the paintings without being obvious.

The only food I remember at the party was cake. Panatone, actually. Pantone and more panatone … and more Champagne, and discussions about which regions make the better Panatone. Then, tasting the different kinds and making some serious judgements, but trying not to offend anyone. Some are more fluffy, you know, and some more crumbly. Food is an intense topic here, in case you were wondering. Especially pesto, but that's for another time.

At this point, I noticed a lady with very enormous breasts come in, wearing a silver and black sequin tube top. I think we were all wondering, how long that elastic could possibly hold.

There was music playing and I kept thinking that, like in La Dolce Vita, that someone was bound to do a striptease, or at least a provocative dance. I mean, this was my Fellini fantasy after all,  but alas … it never happened.

This little Rococo cherub, that looks like a Francois Boucher, was in the little room where we were piling up our coats, on the way to the bathroom. 

Oh, and did I mention that I knocked over a glass of champagne, at the party? Of course I did. Fortunately, most of it ended up on the table but it startled some lady that was checking her outfit for stains. Somehow, I was so happy, I didn't care. I mean, I was polite about it and if I'd ruined something I would have been mortified, but it all didn't seem very real.

I had gone back to the early 1960s, and Marcello Mastrioanni was definitely in the other room with Anouk Amiee. So how could I possibly be disturbed by anything? It was my little fantasy and I was just floating around the party and taking it all in.

I think it was around midnight, people were clearing out, to go God knows where, and at this point, I just wanted photos of the room with the big red curtains.

Here's Vincenzo, above. Check out how huge that painting is behind him, and the lovely rugs that people had been spilling champagne on. Come to think of it, maybe that's why he was serving champagne!

This is actually the first room we came into, with the ladies in black … who by then had disappeared.

There were so many beautiful etchings and a collection of beautiful antique silver, and all kinds of other wonderful things I didn't get photos of, but I'd gotten distracted with the champagne and cake!

I wish I'd gotten photos of those ladies in black, and the gal in the coat made of tapestry fabric, the grey haired man in the white satin suit, and the strange bald character in his black turtleneck ...  but that was not to be. I was trying to act casual, but I'm quite sure I failed miserably, anyway. But you know what? I don't care. It was all amazing!

Me, below, trying to act casual under a big battle scene, before leaving the party.

You would think that would have been the end of the night, but you'd think wrong. After that, our little gang headed to this Ethiopian bar, for beers. It was like we had left one planet and ended up on another. We drank Italian beer and danced to Bob Marley, with a very nice group of Ethiopian ladies and gents.

Then, back into the maze of dark little stone cobbled streets, to find a place to go dancing … And by the way, I would never do this without locals. Ever.

We did find a place to go dancing, until around 4:30 am! A that point, I reminded Vincenzo that if we were going to make it to his sister's for a huge Pranzo (big Italian lunch) with his family at 1pm, I needed to be in bed as soon as possible. 

And, by the way, the club was playing Billy Idol, B52s, Madonna, Elvis, Cindy Lauper and Banana Rama! I think I knew every song and most were from high school! (Except Elvis.) Those are just the ones I remember.

It was one crazy night. I think I was in bed at 5:30 a.m. And yes, somehow, we made it to the family lunch.

Well, there is more Liguria to come, including Boccadasse, Portofino, Santa Margarita and the best pesto on the planet!

You have to live spherically-
in many directions.
Never lose lose your childish enthusiasm-
throughout the journey of life
and a things will come your way.
~Federico Fellini

My apologies for the crazy grammar and punctuation!

Blessings and light!


Joop Zand said...

A wonderful post Lucinda....... very well done.

Wish you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2014.

Ciao, Joop

Di Mackey said...

I kept looking for people I knew but no one. Lucinda, you had such a special time in Genova! I love that city but that party ... divine. I recognised the streets and some of the carruggio you wandered. Loved this ... but you can tell :-) I can't wait to get back. I'm hoping January or February, I miss it every day I'm not there.

donna baker said...

Fun, fun, fun, Lucinda, grinning like a Cheshire cat. I think this might be one of your best posts ever.

jmac said...

OH MY!!! I'm still swirling from being at that party with you! Such drama. Such curiosity. I felt like I was right there with ya'll....and indeed, like being in a movie! So fun. Everything in Italy is just so much un-America like.
And always an adventure with a capital "A"!!!

Nancy Kay said...

Wowza. What a party! What a place! What a long evening!! Wahoo! It does look like stepping into a movie. What fun for you!!

Victoria said...

Massive hugs exciting and magical....what an over the top beautiful journey..I am feasting on your gorgeous photos and words and sharings!! so much more to explore and vids to watch, a glass of red will be perfect while I enjoy the rest of these gems you have shared..many thanks for all of the fabulous-magic that you share! You look super gorgeous in the photos..shine on and massive sparkles and blessings to you in 2014!

MARTY said...

so many beautiful images
Lucinda, I wish you a merry christmas

Lucinda Keller said...

Merry Christmas to all of you too!
Thanks for coming by and checking out my post. It was such a strange, unique, fun experience, that I was excited to share it!

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