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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Seek and You Shall Find..at the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

Photography and text © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark Photo, Left: Giorgio Vasari, The battle of Marciano in Val di Chiana, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence Inside the Palazzo Vecchio, one can stroll through the Salone dei Cinquecento. This imposing hall for the five hundred members of Florence’s Grand Council can inspire Stendhal-like syndrome in those who view the daunting, dazing Vasari frescoes lining its walls. One can only imagine the moment a visiting ambassador stepped into the hall for the first time. The look in the ambassador’s eyes as he absorbed the massive, vivid scenes of Siena being conquered, of Pisa attacked by Florentine troops, bodies trampled by muscular horses. Do not cross us, the images seem to warn.  Surrounded by such immense intensity, the ambassador suddenly feels very small. Perhaps, he wishes that his boots were an inch taller, or

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St. Francis and the Cappuccino

Photography and text © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark Okay, so this photo isn’t a cappuccino. But an espresso macchiato from Badia a Coltibuono, Gaiole In Chianti (where I had the most scrumptious Aubergine Terrine on the planet, but I digress…) After years of living as a fashionista playboy, St. Francis took a vow of poverty. Of celibacy. Of Abstinence. He even poured ashes on his food so as not to taste its flavor. But did you know that the Franciscan saint unwittingly influenced the frothy concoction imbibed by so many coffee lovers today? The Capuchin order of friars emerged in the 16th century as a reformist group devoted to following the original ideals of Saint Francis. The Capuchin hood, or Cappuccino, symbolized this spartan order of hermits. Legend has it that the coffee derives its name

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Assisi, Night and Day, August 2013 by Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Photography © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez  Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

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Greetings from Umbria!

Photography and text © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark Greetings from Umbria! Artists including Cimabue, Giotto, Perugino, Fillipo Lippi, and Piero della Francesca spent time in this verdant oasis. How could they not be inspired? Even the crickets in Umbria are creative types, performing a rigorous daily and nightly symphony. Insomniacs needing a quick fix in the US actually pay to hear this chirping sound on their Sound Soothing machine.  Leave the sound soothers at home. The Crickets and everything else in Umbria (the divine Bufala mozzarella, for instance!) are all real. All natural. Alleluia.  

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Cultural Cocktail Hour heads to Umbria

Cultural Cocktail Hour heads this summer to Umbria, which is known as Il cuore verde d’Italia‘, “The Green Heart of Italy.” Check back in September for photography from Umbria, including the Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi, seen in the photo at the left. In the meantime, please enjoy this excerpt of a prayer attributed to Saint Francis. “Make me an instrument of your peace Where there is hatred, let me sow love Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy.” Similarly, Cultural Cocktail Hour believes that the highest goal of art and culture is to illuminate, inspire create joy, and forge human understanding.  Wishing my readers a glorious summer!

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Stradivarius violins and Madrid’s Palacio Real

By Leticia Marie Sanchez All Spain Photography © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark One of the largest collections of Stradivarius violins in the world can be found in…Madrid. Madrid’s Palacio Real houses a collection of antique instruments by Antonio Stradivari that includes two violins, two cellos, and a viola. Four of the five instruments were commissioned at the same time, and this collection dubbed “the Spanish Quartet” is valued at more than 100 million euros. During the eighteenth-century, Madrid boasted more than fifty Stradivarius violins and a royal court of internationally acclaimed musicians including Italian composer Luigi Boccherini. King Carlos IV had a passion for the violin, an instrument that he studied as a young man in Italy. Alas, His Majesty’s musical enthusiasm did not translate into execution. Boccherini found the king’s technique rather

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Cultural Cocktail Hour Photography: Córdoba, Andalucía, Spain

Cultural Cocktail Hour Photography: Córdoba, Andalucía, Spain All Spain Photography © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

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Cultural Cocktail Hour Madrid Photography:Almudena Cathedral

Cultural Cocktail Hour Madrid Photography:Almudena Cathedral All Spain Photography © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

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Cultural Cocktail Hour Madrid Photography: Palacio Real- April 2013

Cultural Cocktail Hour Madrid Photography: Palacio Real- April 2013 All Spain Photography © 2013 Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

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Cultural Cocktail Hour in the Tropics the first week of September..

Cultural Cocktail Hour has spent September exploring the Tropics of Ecuador, a vibrant spot for arts and culture.  This month, none other than actor John Malkovich presented he “Giacomo Variations,” a chamber opera about the life of famed ladies man, Giacomo Casanova at the Teatro Sanchez Aguilar in Samborondón. Mr. Malkovich was accompanied by the Orchestra of the Vienna Academy. The work was previously presented at the Château de Versailles Spectacles in France. Photo Below: Teatro Sanchez Aguilar               Cultural Cocktail Hour also explored Guayaquil’s Parque Historico which displays the architecture of early 20th century Guayaquil, as well as exhibiting almost 50 species of birds, animals, and reptiles. Left: Parque Historico   All Ecuador Photography © 2012 Leticia Marie Sanchez Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark         Cultural Cocktail Hour returns to California the second week of September, just in

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