Friday, April 19, 2019

Milan Italy

Art Architecture Cuisine Design Fashion and Shopping
Milan is located between the Po River, the Alps and Italian lakes region. The concentric layout of the city center has been influenced by the Navigli, an ancient system of navigable and interconnected canals, now mostly covered. There are only few remains of the ancient Roman colony of Mediolanum.
Following the edict of Milan in 313 A.D., several basilicas were built by the city gates, still standing and refurbished over the centuries. The cathedral was built between 1386 and 1577, is the fifth largest in the world and the most important example of Gothic architecture in Italy. In the 15th century, an old fortress was enlarged and embellished to become the Castello Sforzesco, the seat of an elegant Renaissance court surrounded by a walled hunting park.
Economy the Milan metro area generates approximately 9% of the national GDP and is home to more than 8 percent of all businesses in Italy, including many media and advertising agencies. Milan is a major world fashion center - 12,000 companies, 800 show rooms, and 6,000 sales outlets - and manufacturing center. Other important products made here include chemicals, machinery, pharmaceuticals and plastics. Other key sectors in the city's economy are advanced research in health and biotechnologies, engineering, banking and finance.
Museums and Art Galleries the Brera Portrait Gallery holds one of the foremost collections of Italian paintings. The Sforza Castle hosts numerous art collections and exhibitions, especially statues, ancient arms and furniture. Leonardo Da Vinci worked here from 1482 until 1499 and was commissioned to paint the Virgin of the Rocks and the Last Supper. Milan was affected by the Baroque in the 17th and 18th centuries, hosting numerous artists, architects and painters of that period, such as Caravaggio. In the 20th century, the city was the epicenter of the Futurist artistic movement. The Museo del Novecento is a 20th Century art gallery with sections dedicated to Futurism, Spatialism and Poor Art.
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Music Milan is a major national and international center of the performing arts, most notably opera. La Scala is considered one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, hosting the premieres of numerous operas since the mid19th century. Other major theatres in Milan include the Arcimboldi and the Lirico.The city also has a renowned symphony orchestra, conservatory and is a major center for musical composition.
Fashion and Shopping a global capital in industrial design, fashion and architecture, Milan is the commercial capital of Italy and one of Europe's most dynamic cities, it accounts for the lion’s share of the fashion trade, with some of the most renowned fashion houses headquartered here. Its upscale fashion district and Galleria, the world’s first shopping mall, offer the best shopping opportunities. 
Architecture and Design the city’s modern skyscrapers and unique liberty style office and apartment buildings make it a trend setter in architecture. Milan is also a leader in high-quality furniture and interior design and is home to Europe's largest permanent trade exhibition - Fiera Milano - and one of the most prestigious international furniture and design fairs. Milan has recently undergone a massive urban renewal with several famous architects taking part in projects such as EXPO 2015.
Food and Wine home to a proud culinary tradition, Milan specialties include classic dishes like cotoletta alla milanese, cassoeula, stewed pork rib chops and sausage with cabbage, ossobuco, risotto, busecca and brasato, salami and gorgonzola cheese. Sweets include chiacchiere, panettone and tortelli. World-renowned restaurants and cafés can be found in the historic center, Brera and Navigli districts.
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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Hammond-Harwood House Museum

An 18th Century Arts and Architecture Museum in Annapolis, Maryland
The gentleman planter Matthias Hammond began work in 1774 with renowned architect William Buckland on plans for a new, elegant townhouse in the most fashionable area of Annapolis.
History Buckland immigrated to the colonies in 1755 as an indentured servant to George Mason of Virginia who commissioned him to work on his home, a seemingly modest site called Gunston Hall. The young architect is credited with introducing a variety of designs into mainstream architecture in the colonies. After several successful commissions in Virginia, Buckland ventured to Annapolis, where his hand can be seen at the Chase-Lloyd House. The crowning jewel of Buckland’s career, however, was the house he designed for Matthias Hammond. This house was the only one of his many commissions that Buckland designed and executed in its entirety. He died before the house was finished.
Ironically, the man for whom Buckland erected this masterpiece never lived at the house. In the waning years of the 18th century, the house was rented by many a well-known Annapolitan, including Judge Jeremiah Townley Chase, a one-time mayor of the city. In the 19th century, the elegant mansion was home to the Pinkney and then the Loockerman families. In an uncanny twist of fate, William Buckland’s great-grandson William Harwood married into the Loockerman family, thereby bringing the Buckland clan into the house. William Harwood’s progeny lived at the Hammond-Harwood House until 1924.
An Anglo-Palladian Mansion with the best woodcarving and plasterwork in America
Through the Civil War and World War I, the house remained an enduring fixture in Maryland’s capital city. After the death of Hester Ann Harwood in the 1924, the house seemed destined to become a memory. Fighting off bulldozers, St. John’s College purchased the site in 1926 and used it for their decorative arts program, the first of its kind in the country. The economic woes of the 1930s, however, forced the College to search for new owners. Finally, in 1940, the Hammond-Harwood House was purchased by the newly formed Hammond-Harwood House Association. Since then, the site has served thousands of visitors and has become a landmark of colonial architecture.
Architecture the Hammond-Harwood House is a five-part Anglo-Palladian (derived from 16th Italian architect Andrea Palladio) mansion that features some of the best woodcarving and plasterwork in America. It maintains a kind of symmetry and system of proportions that are rarely seen in buildings of this period. While most 18th century structures were fashioned by amateurs and artisans, the Hammond-Harwood house was clearly the work of a trained professional architect.
Decorative Arts the museum proudly showcases the finest collection of colonial furniture in Maryland. With authentic works from Philadelphia, New York, Massachusetts, England, Ireland, and China, the collection represents a broad spectrum of 18th century artistic endeavors. Crafts from Annapolis are also featured in the collection, with special emphasis on cabinetmaker John Shaw whose shop is still standing on State Circle. Today, Shaw pieces can be viewed in almost every room in the house. They include a slant-front bookcase in the Study, an elegant dining room sideboard (an original Harwood family piece), a tall case clock now in the Dining Room, a gaming table covered with a green baize table top, and a host of profoundly beautiful chairs that clearly mark this craftsman as a master of his trade. Visitors can also get a glimpse of the everyday lives of colonial men and women as they are treated to authentic items like an 18th century watercolor set, a period medicine chest, a surveyor’s set of drafting tools, a delicate sewing kit, a pair of colonial spectacles, a child’s furniture set, and a vast assortment of colonial kitchen artifacts.
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Fine Arts of special interest are the many images by portrait painter Charles Wilson Peale whose sensitive touch, delicate brush strokes, and knack for capturing the essence of the sitter made him one of the 18th century’s premier painters. Not only does the museum retain Peale paintings that are original to the house, but the Hammond-Harwood House also exhibits one of the most beloved of Peale’s portraits—a painting of six-year-old Ann Proctor. Time stands still for visitors as they examine, first hand, the doll which he painted in Ann Proctor’s lap over 220 years ago.
Educational Programs designed to teach children the differences between modern and colonial life
Then and Now Program designed for the littlest, most curious, it can be easily adapted for 5, 6, and 7-year old students. The program is divided into three 20-minute sessions:
Session I: Tour of the Herb Garden with show and tell of fresh, fragrant medicinal herbs
Session II: Tour of the Colonial Kitchen with emphasis on differences between modern and ancient
Session III: Students dress in colonial clothing, make hornbooks, write with quill pens, or paint.
Colonial Adventure Tour for 3rd - 5th graders, students step back in time and learn about the lives of the men, women, and children living in Maryland during the 1770s. The tour is divided into two 45-minute sessions. In one session, students tour the colonial mansion and learn the basics about colonial life and history through an open dialogue with our expert guides. In part two, students touch or make several of the things they have seen in the house. Through the use of reproduction artifacts and imaginative, interactive games, students get a direct sense of what it would have been like to be an artist, a furniture maker, a gentry man and lady, a servant, and more. They can write with quill pens, make a sachet, play with colonial toys, paint a miniature portrait, play with colonial cards, build a replica brick wall, experiment with furniture.
To Be Colonial targets grades 6 - 8. The program focuses on the lives of four individuals associated with the Hammond-Harwood House between 1774 and 1820. Students are introduced to two women and two men, all with exceptionally different lives: Matthias Hammond, a colonial gentleman; William Buckland, a Pre-Revolutionary War architect; Frances Loockerman, the daughter of a mayor of Annapolis; and Rachel, a slave. Students learn about these individuals via discussions of politics, slavery, housewifery, food, art and clothing:
Session I: Colonial house tour with focus on the daily lives of four characters
Session II: Examination of primary sources documents including wills and inventories, of reproduction artifacts and clothing. Emphasis on learning through real documents and 18th-century objects.
Reading and Writing History designed to give high school students a hands-on lesson about Colonial American history. The program is divided up into three mini-sessions each with its own goals: a colonial house tour, an introduction to history resources, and a session of hands-on group study. The program covers topics which include common and indentured laborers, slave life, the life of craftsmen, gentry activities and leisure time, decorative arts, and architecture.
Professional Enrichment Tours that focus on suburban sprawl, declining water quality, diminishing water supplies, vanishing agricultural land, loss of historic character, wildlife habitat degradation, and threatened biological resources. Learn to:
Protect and conserve land and water, natural, cultural and scenic resources;
Create and strengthen local government efforts that support resource conservation;
Improve site planning and design to support resource conservation;
Plan and conserve of natural and cultural resources;
Enhance awareness and knowledge of conservation approaches.
Cultural Itineraries in Annapolis and Maryland

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Venetian Countryside Food and Wine Itineraries

 Cooking Classes and Culinary Tours
Veneto is the most productive wine area in Italy and a unique area where the flavors of the local products combine to create delicious dishes, both in traditional and innovative ways. When natural products are put together to create a dish, the choice of ingredients and the way they are combined, cooked, and eaten are a function of identity, lifestyle and social status.

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Cooking classes designed to acquaint you with Venice and its territory by explaining how these local dishes developed and changed over the centuries. Learn to cook a savory risotto al radicchio, sweet white asparagus, baccalà, corn meal with boiled baby shrimp seasoned with Italian dressing, homemade noodles with basil pesto and scampi.

Tiramisù was created in Treviso just 40 km from Venice

Wine tours include an overview of the issues facing winemakers and how they retain family traditions and preserve the local environment. The Prosecco Wine Hills visit includes stops at local wine cellars, an ancient abbey and an imposing medieval castle
Medieval Treviso walk along its narrow, pebbled streets and chic boutiques. Learn the history and mysteries of the city known as the Garden of Venice. Have lunch in a typical restaurant and enjoy a typical Spritz with Cicheti in a local Cicchetteria.
Venetian Villas participate in a typical cooking class, where you will learn some of the secrets of the Venetian cuisine, in a charming Venetian Villa designed by Palladio and walk through the medieval village of Asolo, a widespread museum.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Exploring the Brandywine Creek and Valley

Brandywine Creek is a tributary of the Christina River in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware. The Lower Brandywine is 20.4 miles long and is a designated Pennsylvania Scenic River with several tributary streams.
Development and Conservancy Issues in the 1960s, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania in the historic Brandywine Valley, faced a possible massive industrial development that would impact a largely rural community.  Also, development plans in floodplain areas threatened to devastate water supplies for numerous communities in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware.
Residents bought endangered land and founded the Brandywine Conservancy in 1967.  The first conservation easements, protecting more than five and one-half miles along the Brandywine, were granted in 1969. 
These Experiences have placed the Brandywine Valley communities in the forefront of responsible land use, open space preservation and water protection with a focus on integrating conservation with economic development through land stewardship and local government assistance programs working with individuals, state, county and municipal governments and private organizations to permanently protect and conserve natural, cultural and scenic resources.
The Conservancy opened a museum in 1971 in the renovated Hoffman’s Mill, a former gristmill built in 1864, part of the Conservancy’s first preservation efforts.  It contains an unparalleled collection of American art with emphasis on the art of the Brandywine region, illustration, still life and landscape painting, and the work of the Wyeth family.
River Museums Microbrews and Shopping in Delaware and Southeastern PA
Professional Enrichment Tours address suburban sprawl, declining water quality, diminishing water supplies, vanishing agricultural land, loss of historic character, wildlife habitat degradation, and threatened biological resources. Learn to:
·         Protect and conserve land and water, natural, cultural and scenic resources;
·         Create and strengthen local government efforts that support resource conservation;
·         Improve site planning and design to support resource conservation;
·         Plan and conserve of natural and cultural resources;
·         Enhance awareness and knowledge of conservation approaches.
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On the way to the Brandywine Valley, it is worth visiting three cultural venues in Wilmington:
Rockwood Mansion & Park, an English country estate featuring unique gardens, a Rural Gothic mansion with conservatory, and a Victorian house museum with 19thand 20th century furnishings.
The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, located in the Wilmington Riverfront District, is a non-collecting contemporary art museum dedicated to the advancement of contemporary art. The DCCA houses seven galleries with over 30 exhibits annually, featuring the work of regional, national, and international artists.

The Delaware Art Museum founded in 1912, it offers vibrant family programs, studio art classes, a diverse collection of American art and illustration and an outdoor sculpture garden.

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Capua Archaeological and Provincial Museum

Capua is an illustrious and antique metropolis in Campania. Its museum contains the most resplendent archaeological and medieval relics from this region of Italy.
The Archaeological Museum stands on one of Capua’s most ancient settlements, first occupied by the Torre di Sant’Erasmo during the Longobard era. Inaugurated in 1995, it contains archaeological finds coming from the excavations carried out in the territory. The complex consists of 32 exhibition rooms, 20 areas for deposit, three large courtyards and a vast garden. 
Twelve halls, illustrative panels and legends allow visitors to retrace the history of the territory from the first millennium BC to the 9th century AD, a period of decline for the city. From Bronze Age to Iron Age, from the archaic period to the Etruscan civilization, from the Sunnite to the Roman period, a history full of influences and changes retraceable through the objects on display. Votive sculptures, weapons, golden jewels, grave goods, bronze vases, the reconstruction of a tomb crypt with a natural size fresco of the dead, red figure chinaware, votive medals, architectonic elements and many other objects.
The Provincial Museum of Campania in Capua was founded in 1870 and inaugurated in 1874; it is the most significant museum of ancient Italian civilization in Campania. The museum is in the historic Antignano building, whose foundations go back to the 9th century and incorporate the ruins of San Lorenzo ad Crucem, a church dating from the Lombardic age. The building boasts the splendid Durazzesco-Catalan portal which bears mountings of the Antignano and Alagno coats of arms.

a royal decree led to the museum’s founding to house the region's archaeological and artistic heritage
The first director, professor Gabriele Iannelli, a distinguished archaeologist, historian and epigraphist who, according to the words of Norbert Kamp "possessed a truly unique vision for his time of the entire Capuan tradition "- was a tenacious organizer who managed the museum for over 30 years.

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The museum is a mirror-image of the three millennia old life of a metropolis which has seen rulers that include the Oscans, Etruscans, Samnites, Romans, Longobards, Normans, Swabians, Angevins, Aragonese and Spaniards. Its history is linked to names such as Spartacus, Hannibal, Pandolfo Capodiferro and Pietro della Vigna, Cesare Borgia and Hector Fieramosca. By 1956, with the addition of new rooms, the collections had been rearranged with the most modern criteria. The new Museum of Campania is among the most important in Italy and Europe. The layout was realized by prof. Raffaello Causa, responsible for the medieval and the modern section, and by prof. Alfonso De Franciscis and Mario Napoli, responsible for the archaeological section. The museum is divided into an archaeological and a medieval department along with an important library.
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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Ships, Captains and Leaders

Crisis, Accountability and Responsibility

This is the story of two ships, their masters and how they reacted in the aftermath of a mishap. You have heard of the Costa Concordia; a ship with state-of-the-art navigation and communications technology. The other ship was a 1637 ton sailing barque that lost all its masts in a storm off the Falkland Islands in December 1905.
So, at face value nothing in common; different times and ships, part of the world as well as type and cause of the accident.  Even the ending is different: the sailing ships managed to limp into Montevideo harbor after 46 days with its valuable cargo of nitrates intact.
What they have in common are the culture, values and traditions of the two masters and crews. So, how could their behavior and performance after their respective mishaps have been so different.
There are of course many reasons but the one that is key is the role of a ship’s captain, and for that matter any business or government leader, in the 21st century compared to 100 years ago.
Today a ship and its captain are pretty much on automatic pilot; in fact, many decisions are made off the ship in an office somewhere where “managers” decide on a course of action. While maintaining objective responsibility, a captain is reduced to a mere figurehead.
The captain of that other ship was the ultimate decision maker. He had no choice, being so far away from home and for long periods of time. He and the ship owner shared in the risk and responsibility as well as in the rewards in the event of a successful voyage. In other words: total accountability!
Technical issues aside, this could be a determining factor in the performance aboard ship and in the conduct of a business, a government or a nonprofit institution.
A century ago the captain had every incentive to perform. He also had total responsibility and the unconditional allegiance of the crew; the ultimate team effort with a clear leader! Today’s captains are salaried employees. Nothing wrong with a salaried employee but who are the real de-facto captains of today’s ships? The implication is that today’s highly trained and sophisticated managers do not take responsibility by design. They have a job to do and they do it extremely well. Under this scenario, when something goes wrong it is difficult to establish accountability and assign responsibility. More importantly, it takes a long time to determine the causes of a problem and make the necessary adjustments.
Systems with diffused power and limited liability have major advantages but, as with the economic crisis of the last several years, they also lead to disasters with long term consequences for everyone.
Note: The captain of the sailing ship was this writer’s grandfather.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Mid America Destinations

Illinois River Towns Quad Cities North Shore and South Dakota
Illinois and Iowa
Champaign County is nearly equidistant from Chicago, St Louis and Indianapolis; a thriving micro-urban oasis supported by local agriculture, technology and research and home to the University of Illinois. The College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Science is a leader in crop science, bioenergy and animal science.
Farmer-owned Grain Cooperatives in America’s heartland and the Illinois grain belt; rich soils and modern farm practices produce record yields of quality grains. Ethanol and distiller’s grain production. Research in soybeans, from production to consumption, by the National Soybeans Research Laboratory. The National Center for Supercomputing Applications, whose Blue Waters Supercomputer is the largest and most powerful on a university campus and among the largest in the world.
The River Towns of Illinois along the banks and bluffs of the Mississippi River hug the western border of Illinois for 550 miles. Experience an Illinois winery, brewery, farm, u-pick, or local farm to table restaurant. Four Centuries of history and heritage and thousands of stories that recount America's evolution while experiencing breathtaking views, majestic landscapes and species that travel thousands of miles for a visit or to make themselves a home
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The Quad Cities area consists of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline, East Moline and Rock Island in Illinois. The region has the excitement of a big city and the hospitality of a small town with award-winning museums and cultural centers, internationally-recognized festivals, beautiful riverfronts and a vibrant nightlife.
Davenport has beautiful riverfront vistas and an active downtown area with the Figge Art and Putnam History Museums and great shopping at the North Park Mall.
Bettendorf the Library and adjacent Family Museum provide exciting programs and storytelling. The numerous outdoor activities include the Splash Landing water park, Wallace's Garden Center and Duck Creek Recreational Trail.
Rock Island downtown is known for its festivals and nightlife with Cajun food and zydeco music; Jamaican food and reggae music; and a fall Irish folk festival. Family activities include the country's largest go-kart street race. Experience a downtown architectural tour and the Broadway Historic District.
Moline is one of the agricultural capitals of the world, home of John Deere and steeped in history. The modern downtown area features great riverfront views and evening entertainment with musicals performed by local actors.
East Moline is home to many great events and festivities. Empire Park is right on the Mississippi River, walk along the riverfront trails of The Quarter or visit to the John Deere Harvester Works, one of the world's largest combine factories.
The North Shore Communities along Lake Michigan are minutes from Chicago’s city center: Evanston, Glenview, Northbrook, Prospect Heights, Skokie, Wheeling and Winnekta.
South Dakota
Aberdeen South Dakota Before the arrival of European settlers, the area was inhabited by the Sioux Indians. The first group of Euro-American settlers to reach the area in the 1820s was a party of four people, three horses, two mules, fifteen cattle, and two wagons. This group of settlers was later joined by another group the following spring, and eventually more settlers migrated toward this general area. Like many towns of the Midwest, Aberdeen was built around the newly developing railroads. Officially plotted as a town site on January 3, 1881 by the Milwaukee Road which was presided over by Alexander Mitchell, who was born in Scotland, hence the name Aberdeen. The town was officially founded on July 6, 1881, the date of the first arrival of a Milwaukee Railroad train.
the perfect family and business destination
The Dacotah Prairie Museum The idea for a community museum in Aberdeen dates back almost 70 years. In 1938, John Murphy, a Northern State College professor, and Marc Cleworth, a salesman, created the Northern South Dakota History Museum which was housed on campus. The collection of this first museum grew rapidly through loans and donations until by 1941, it had amassed a collection of over 500 items.
Rapid City is centrally located to visit the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park and the Badlands. Western and Native American Heritage throughout the city you will find Native American history exhibits, fine arts display, and interactive museums like the Journey Museum that takes you from the formation of the Black Hills over 2.5 billion years-ago to the continuing saga of the Western frontier.
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