The magnificent Art of Romanticism. In 1861 Italians united Italy. After some battles. Thanks also to a great engagement of artists. All the kingdoms disappear to let space to a unique country. The process that brought all the country under the same king started in 1815, after the Congress of Vienna. We call this period Risorgimento (Resurgence). It gave the chance to Italy to change its shape. People worked hard to reach the goal and art gave an important contribution to it. Art of Romanticism became the flag of the movement.
The ability of the art to make a revolution impress me a lot. This happens many times, in almost all the eras, especially in the last centuries. Anyway, who loves art has an interest in analyzing the historical context. Not only. Who loves art want to pay attention to the techniques. It’s amazing how artists changed the way to paint in the 19th century. I like a lot of painting and sculptures and going around the Italian museums and exhibitions I saw the evolution of the style. Also the differences among the artworks of the various artists of the same period.
Art of Romanticism: the 19th-century revolution
Romanticism started at the end of the 18th century. When the new generation of artists understood that Neoclassicism wasn’t influencing anymore the society, they started to search for something new. They changed completely the way to express their ideas and point of view. The art of Romanticism has various features. Romanticism canceled the Neoclassical reasoning, control, geometric perfection and, above all, imitation of the art of the ancients.
Not all the artists of the period made a radical change, but most of them yes. They wanted to draw a line to separate the past from the present. Their style was dominated by unbridled passion, strong feelings and a renewed fervor for the religious world. Moreover, if the neoclassical artist was convinced that the perfection of art had been reached by the ancients, the romantic drew, instead, inspiration from the dark and mysterious world of the Middle Ages. That period until then had been considered a period of no importance and purely negative.
Art of Romanticism in Italy
Who loves art can easily understand how nice is a journey into the art of Romanticism. That period is really amazing because it takes people into modern art. The paintings are not only a representation of a view, but there is a sign, something more. I think the feature of the style is visible in the vigorous brushstrokes capable of interpreting reality. Color and not too defined signs tell a story.
This is what I like about the art of Romanticism. Then, of course, there are many elements related to the history of that period. I love to explore the most important event of Italian unity. Also, I like to see in the paintings how Italy was at that time. The same feelings, especially talking about techniques, come from the sculpture. If you want to see art in Italy you have a lot of opportunities. But I recommend you to explore the artworks of the 18th century.
If you like art visit Italy. Art of Romanticism has a huge collection spread in all the country. There are many museums that offer the view of great artworks to the visitors. Time to time in various Italian cities there are thematic exhibitions. I like them because they collect paintings and sculptures also from foreign museums and private collections. So it’s easy to see some artworks that are usually not visible to the public.
I will write more about some art galleries and museums. Because Italy can show you the best examples of the art of Romanticism. But now I want to share some pictures I took during my visits. So I let you enjoy them. Before I remind you that after finding a flight, maybe using some free miles obtained with your credit card, you can reserve a hotel and buy the tickets to enter the museum. Planning in advance will be useful especially if you want to see some temporary exposition because you will check the place and the dates.
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you want to read more about my art incursions, check out the dedicated section of my blog. Share this post and subscribe to my newsletter, you will get updates and extra contents.
In the Republic of North Macedonia, there is a city full of history and archeology. In the past, it was very important for Balkans, especially during the Ottoman Empire. During Roman age, it was called Heraclea and a few kilometers out of the downtown you can see the finds of that period. I had the chance to be in Bitola, this its name, a few time and I want to share my experience suggesting you what to see. It is a very interesting destination, like the country.
Bitola is a lovely city with institutional imprinting. I wrote the title of this post thinking about history. Because the city was well known for the presence of more than 100 Consuls. It happened during the Ottoman Empire when in the place became the last capital of Ottoman Rumelia. This was from 1836 to 1867. It was the second European city of the empire after Thessaloniki.
Bitola, history, and attractions
This aspect is, of course, a small part of all the history of Bitola, started in the 4th century BC, with the name of Heraclea. So the “City of the Consuls” had a great past and now there are some prehistory objects and monuments to be admired. Despite some witnesses of the different periods, the city was built, destroyed and rebuilt many times.
Actually going around for the streets it is possible to see many buildings made with European style. There was a covered bazaar, but the fire destroyed it in the 19th century. There is one more new and it is interesting to go there and to visit the shops with a combination of modernity and tradition.
It has also to be mentioned the local park, big, peaceful and full of statues of the most famous people of the area. Mainly they are related to the culture and the art, as poets, writers, painters and so on. But I have to proceed with some order so I can explain better what I like the most and to suggest to you, my dear readers.
Let’s make a list: Shirok Sokak Street, Heraclea, the Clock Tower, and the local Museum. These are the main places that I visited and I liked, but I will write a few lines also about mosques and the most important churches in the city. In the end, there will be some notes about accommodations and restaurants.
The main street
When I arrived in Bitola I started a walk in front of the theatre. It is a modern building that host also the cultural center where are organized time to time expositions. From the small square, there is the entrance to the carsija, the old part of the town with the traditional shops. Here you can meet most of the local inhabitants. It is the center of Bitola’s life.
Going ahead on Shirok Sokak Street the visitor reaches the park. The pedestrian way is alive day and night. Because locals go to spend their free time, especially families with kids, during the day. In the night young people go to the discotheque located in the park.
Starting the exploration of this beautiful area of Bitola it is easy to notice the elegance of the neo-classical buildings. Most of them were used by Consuls in the past and they are quite well conserved. Today there are shops because it is the shopping street, offices and apartments. As usual in downtown, there are a lot of bars and restaurants located on the pedestrian street and few hotels. I guess their number is increasing also because it is one of the cities preferred by tourists.
The Stara Čaršija of Bitola is a great example of how it is possible to restore and preserve the ancient buildings and set. The constructions are of course adapted to modern society needs. As well it is for trendy bars and shops. In general, it has to be said that the speed of Macedonia is slower than in western Europe. Even if there are well-prepared people who are working hard to improve the country.
In one side this is positive for the growth of the country. But on the other side, I guess it should be an example, they shouldn’t follow the Western Europe lifestyle. It’s not good for the community to develop the country too fast and with fewer values. This is only my point of view that has no relation with my travel experience in Bitola.
The Clock Tower
This monument is a landmark for Bitola. It was built in 1830, the same period of the Orthodox Church of St. Demetrius. The Clock Tower is now the way for inhabitants to check the right hour and of course it is an important monument for all visitors. Bitola as a vocation for tourists, maybe because it was considered since the past to be a cosmopolitan city. The tower is located in the center in the northern part of the main street and very close to Magnolia Square. In the same place where most of the local attractions are located.
In the beginning, there were bells. But in 1927 it was decided to substitute the people in charge of ringing the bells with a clock. Thanks to a German mechanism it was possible to ring the bells in the different hours and shows to the people the exact time. In the years the mechanism was restored and improved. Now, since 1970, the Clock Tower is one of the 180 in the world to use that system.
A couple of kilometers far from the actual Bitola it is possible to see the remains of the Greek city of Heraclea Lyncestis, ruled by Romans. The ancient civilizations built the important center and new there are witnesses of the buildings and of the way of life at that time. The site is well kept and the archeologist worked hard to recover many elements. You can see the beautiful mosaics done during the Byzantine period when it was built a big and important basilica, discovered during the II World War time.
To mention the basilica is necessary because the city founded by Philip II of Macedon in the IV century BC was chosen as an Episcopal seat. Some of Heraclea bishops present in the early Christian era were part of synods in Serdica. The religion was a feature of the ancient center, abandoned in VI century AD after a big earthquake and an invasion made by Slavics.
Who has a passion for history can not miss the chance to visit the Bitola Museum dedicated to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. He was the guy who made Turkey the modern and great country. The main elements are related to the history of the 1920s-1930s. So there are a lot of connections between Macedonia and the Ottoman Empire. Inside there are military finds, but also many ancient objects.
Do not worry, the recent history is just a part, even do very important, of the local museum. In fact, who visits it can explore all the history of the country, since the origins. Jewels, objects of daily life, costumes and many other things can be found in the permanent and well-curated exposition. Archeology is the feature of some rooms, so I suggest to go after a tour in Heraclea. They need to improve the lights in order to show better the collections, but it is a very good museum.
As I wrote at the beginning of the post in Bitola there are different Orthodox churches and mosques. They were built in different periods. Even if most of them are recent because of the different vicissitudes of the city, destroyed and rebuilt many times. I want to mention Isaak Kadi Mosque because it is one of the oldest religious structures still used in Bitola.
The mosque is entitled to an important Turkish person. He was part of a well-known family that left Anatolia to live in Bitola during the Ottoman Empire. The guy went to study in Istanbul and he got a lot of success, so to celebrate his position in the society he decided at the beginning of the 16th century to build the mosque. Now it is considered a cultural monument of Macedonia. It is a few steps from carsija, where there was the old covered bazaar.
Where to eat and sleep
There is a famous and very nice hotel, called Epinal. It is located at the entrance of the main street. But it has a casino and I preferred to choose a more quiet accommodation 150 meters far from it. The Hotel Ambassador is a four-star structure located in a small street close to the theatre. It is quite modern in the setting and also it has contemporary equipment to give to the guests what they need.
The apartments are spacious and they offer a room, a separate lounge, and a very nice bathroom. It is not so big, but the kind of staff is going to assist the guests with every need. They have also a bar where they serve a huge breakfast in Macedonian style. That means to have a big quantity of salty and sweet food.
In the city, there are a lot of traditional restaurants around the center. So the best way is just to follow the instinct and enter the preferred ones. The prices are quite cheap, especially for “Western standards”. If you want anyway an elegant restaurant where to taste delicious local recipes presented in a very innovative way, you can reserve a table at Gradska Kafeana. It is the restaurant of the Hotel Epinal.
Bitola is the perfect Macedonian Consul to welcome the tourists.
Are you ready for Bitola? To find the mean of transport for your trip, I suggest you Infobus. On the platform, there are the best offers for planes, trains, and buses. Book tickets at the lowest price and plan all the connections. Compare the solutions and combine them.
If you want to find the flight plus the accommodation you can visit Omio. The site is one of the best search engines to find planes, buses, and trains tickets. Then, thanks to the connection with Booking, it offers the list of accommodations with convenient rates.
Compared to Western standards the country and Bitola are quite cheap. Anyway, there are some ways to save money or earn extra cash to finance your trip. For the flight, you should use free air miles. Redeeming them you can have huge discounts or travel for free. Everything depends on your travel credit card and on airlines’ loophole. Watch this video to know how to get a lot of air miles bonuses and save money.
I guess it can be useful to get inspiration from my “make money to travel” guides. Some activities will help you to earn extra cash to pay for your trip’s bills. There are various activities you can do. For instance, rent your car or your flat. Start a travel blog. Also, with a small investment in training courses, you can learn how to be successful in web marketing. If you like to work with your hands and with your creativity, I have another proposal. Get thousands of woodworking plans for a very cheap price, realize items, and sell them. It’s funny and profitable.
I also prepared a packing list for you. It is the one I use to avoid mistakes and to not forget things at home. You can personalize it. And if you want to get advice on how to pack to use properly all the space, check out this guide.
Before to leave your home for some days or weeks, you should consider housesitting. Why? Because a trusted person in your house will keep away thieves and she or he will take care of it. A house sitter can collect mail, water flowers, feed pets, clean, and so on.
My last tip
Before to go I ask you to share this post if you liked it. It can be inspirational and useful for your friends too. Get the chance to receive more updates and extra contents to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to my newsletter. I will send you information on reviews, tips, guides, and deals.
I had the chance to visit the Republic of North Macedonia and especially Kruševo. Despite the business meeting, I could go a bit around. I want to post more articles because there are different places that I want to tell you about.
One of the villages that left me positively surprised. It is in a perfect location, from where to join a special panorama, but at a first look is just a little ensemble of old houses.
The village of Kruševo
Going around Kruševo it is easy to discover some pearls. Actually, it is well known for different reasons. The first one is because the village, less than 10.000 inhabitants, is the highest in Macedonia: 1250 meters above the sea level, then because it was a political entity proclaimed in 1903 when it became Republic as a consequence of a fight against Ottomans. Its life was short: from 3rd to 13th August 1903. Also, the contemporary national history made it famous: there is a museum dedicated to Todor “Toše” Proeski, a Macedonian singer died in 2007 (26 years old) in a car accident. He was very popular and for him, it was organized a state funeral.
Despite these aspects, I found many interesting attractions to see around Kruševo. First of all the village itself. Walking in the small streets is the first step to get inside the local atmosphere, where the time seems to be stopped. It is a quiet place, where old cars move around together with horses and donkeys. Life is going calm, but there is a space with some computers provided by the government where people can go to use the internet for free. So modernity is approaching the village.
There are a few attractions that I want to mention: the museum dedicated to Nikola Martinoski, the sanctuary and the lake. They made me fall in love with Kruševo. The art and nature show somehow the soul of the village and I was happy to go back there to spend a bit more time to explore the area and know better the place.
Nikola Martinoski was a painter lived between 1903 and 1973 and it is considered the founder of contemporary Macedonian art. He also spent two years in Paris where he studied at Académie de la Grande Chaumière. His paintings are wonderful artworks in an expressionistic style. With few lines and a good combination of colors, he was able to show the people and their life.
In each person painted it is possible to see how they feel, their condition. I did not know anything about this artist before but discovering that gallery I had the chance marvelous artworks. I have been twice and the first time I met a lady who speaks French, so it was easy to understand, meanwhile the second time there was a lady who speaks only Macedonian but anyway she wanted to take me in the different rooms and explain me all the paintings.
The staff is very kind and in the museum, there are also some rooms to show how was the house in the past when the painter was alive. Some of the artworks are present also in the National Art Gallery in Skopje. But you can check out my other posts about the local attractions. I want to explain a lot about my last visit to the country.
The sanctuary is between the village and the top of the hill where is a big cross made with iron, as in Skopje. It is a small monastery with a lovely church and spaces where groups can stay to eat and spend some time for their meetings. To manage all the structure there is a man who is the uncle of Todor “Toše” Proeski, or at least is what he says. For sure he is proud to show the room where his nephew was used to spend time when he was a child.
As I mentioned a few lines before in Kruševo there also the museum of the singer, with some of his objects. Then there is also a strange construction where it is located the Museum of National Liberation War with pictures and some objects to remind the victory against the Ottoman Empire. Also if it has lasted for a few days. In the village, there is also the museum of local history where it was rebuilt a bit the setting of the typical houses.
Now it is time to write about the third reason why I love this Macedonian village: the lake, called Gumenje. In general, it is never too crowded, but it is used for recreation and for fishing. From there it starts the Kruševo-Norovska river, but the main feature is the peace that each person can feel walking there. There is also a pathway with benches built to easily move around all the lake.
The water appears calm, the trees around are well cleaned and gives different colors reflected on the water. Autumn is surely the best season to see it. At the moment spent there I was totally surrounded by nature, almost in communication with it, the sky was closer, blue with some white clouds. A wonderful experience to reconcile with what matters in life.
Where to sleep, drink and eat
Who wants to sleep in Kruševo can book to Hotel Montana, a lovely four stars accommodation on the top of the hill, with wood from one side and the village from the other side. The panorama on the houses is really amazing. They have rooms with a balcony with the view. The structure is quite new, spacious and well equipped. The standards, according to Macedonian average ones, are high.
If you want to stop for a drink I suggest you visit one of the two bars in the main square. One is old and characteristic, with a nice balcony, but be careful because also the balcony is quite old too. The other one is more modern and with tables directly in the square. There are also some restaurants since it is a village for tourism, but I tried one: Kruševska odaja. It offers genuine local food prepared according to traditional recipes. The setting is really lovely with some traditional clothes on the walls.
Check out Infobus website to plan the journey. The platform allows you to compare different solutions to reach the destination with a plane, a train or a bus. The company reserves some discounts for new clients.
Few kilometers from Avigliana, at around 900 meters above sea level there is Sacra di San Michele. It is a jewel of the architecture. It is an abbey built 983 and 987 on the mount Pirchiriano and the building is directly posed on the rocks. It is amazing to go there on the top also because there is a marvelous panorama. It is possible to see all around Val Susa and a bit of Turin, but for this, you need a completely clear sky.
Inside there is a church completed in XII century where there are the tombs of some members of the Italian Royal family Savoia. It is dedicated to the cult of the Archangel Michael, defender of the Christian people. The Sacra di San Michele is part of a pilgrimage route over 2000 km long that goes from Mont Saint-Michel, in France, to Monte Sant’Angelo, in Puglia.
Sacra di San Michele: art, history, nature, and religion
What I like about Sacra di San Michele, apart from the sight, it is the way how the building is mixed with the rocks of the mount. It looks like a big sculpture born from nature and that is amazing. At the entrance of the abbey and the church, there are some flowers and hedges very well taken care of. The structure is well kept by few Capuchin friars and some people of the staff that are opening the building to visitors.
The religious artworks conserved inside are not the only objects present in the collections of the abbey. There is the museum of daily life with instruments used in the past by the people for their life and their different jobs. It is very interesting because it is a reconstruction of the local population activities in the past centuries. The inside library, visible by visitors, has more than 10.000 books, many of them ancient. During the year are realized different thematic exhibitions about different topics.
The place is connected with the closest towns by a unique road. But there I felt out of the world, in a magic atmosphere, kept as it was in the past. Sacra di San Michele represents the most important attraction of Piedmont, maybe because it can host tourists with any type of interest. It is a religious building but you can admire just the architecture, the nature that surrounds the place or explores the local life in the past.
If you like to walk in nature, you can go up using the trails from Sant’Ambrogio di Torino and Giaveno. They are well kept and realized completely in the woods. The pathways were already used in past centuries by the pilgrims. It is a great experience especially to stay with yourself and with your trip mate. If you want to walk you need a few hours, depending on your speed, to reach the top.
Piedmont and Italy
The region, that is the one where I live, is one of the biggest. It is known mainly for Turin, the first capital of Italy or the headquarter of Nutella fabric in Alba. Well, there are many things to see in Piedmont, like the Sacra di San Michele. A lot of attractions you should see. So if you want to know more about the region and Italy, you have to check out my posts. There is a section dedicated to the country on my blog. You can find impressions, information, facts, curiosities, and much more.
I am going to update it soon, so subscribe to my newsletter to get weekly news and extra contents. I will be happy to give you tips and tricks to support your holiday planning. Don’t forget to reserve a hotel. If you want to have some more tips about Piedmont, feel free to write to me. I will be happy to answer you.
Last sunday I spent few hours in Milan visiting ”Amart”, the antiques and art exhibition organized by the Association of Antiques Dealers of Milan. It was really nice to be there. It passed quite a lot of time since my last visit to this type of event and I have to say that in last years the market of ancient artwork was decreasing, not only in relations to the prices but also about the quality of the manufacts.
In this case I saw a great exhibition, full of masterpieces from XII century to contemporary period. There were lovely and important paintings and sculptures, but also some furnishings, silver objects, carpets and many other art examples. In some stands there were antiques from China, Japan and various Asian and African countries. To be there gave me the chance to learn something new about art and history.
Anyway I noticed how the antiques market is going to live again a good period, also if not many young people were visiting the exposition and this is not a good sign for the future. Anyway ancient artworks are considered a luxury, some objects to be bought as investment or to decore prestigious houses. It is true they have this function as well and it is correct to consider those objects as status symbol, but they are more.
To have into the house an antique painting or sculpure is a pleasure. It is a piece of history that can tells a lot, a unique expression of art, a technique to be analyed. So it is a luxury now, coming from the past and staying forever as a witness of a passed period. Each artwork is also an inspiration for a new piece of art, because the real modernartists always start studying the old ways and techniques.
I love antiques and I consider each masterpiece more than a luxury to put in my home.
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