Outside the Studio: Finding inspiration in Italy (part 2 of 4 - Cinque Terre)

Inspiration for our work at Carrot Top Studio can be found in so many different places! We find it in the everyday, in readings, in fabric, and in getting out of the normal routine. A recent trip to Italy allowed us days full of “inspiring moments.” Here are the highlights from Cinque Terre….

Cinque Terre is a string of centuries old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. Each of the towns is built around the valley harbor and is filled with colorful buildings surrounded by terraced vineyards and farm land. Hiking from village to village going up one mountain and then down the next gave us sweeping vistas. This is the town of Riomaggiore.   Inspiration take away  — The colors, the community, and highly regarding the hard work of the fishing and farming industries in this area.

Cinque Terre is a string of centuries old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. Each of the towns is built around the valley harbor and is filled with colorful buildings surrounded by terraced vineyards and farm land. Hiking from village to village going up one mountain and then down the next gave us sweeping vistas. This is the town of Riomaggiore.

Inspiration take away — The colors, the community, and highly regarding the hard work of the fishing and farming industries in this area.

There is little car traffic in the villages. It is reserved for deliveries to the businesses. Most of the “streets” are narrow passages with cobblestone or stepped walkways. While exploring Riomaggiore we stumbled upon this chapel sandwiched between the buildings full of apartments. It was small. Maybe only a dozen people could sit. With the wide open doors the purpose of this space was just to welcome people to have some quiet and respite.   Inspiration take away  — Where do we find hospitality and respite in our neighborhoods?

There is little car traffic in the villages. It is reserved for deliveries to the businesses. Most of the “streets” are narrow passages with cobblestone or stepped walkways. While exploring Riomaggiore we stumbled upon this chapel sandwiched between the buildings full of apartments. It was small. Maybe only a dozen people could sit. With the wide open doors the purpose of this space was just to welcome people to have some quiet and respite.

Inspiration take away — Where do we find hospitality and respite in our neighborhoods?

In two days we had unbelievable hikes that totaled 50,334 steps that included climbing the equivalent of 320 flights of stairs! Pushing ourselves out of our normal physical comfort zone caused us to be very grateful for the creation of capable bodies.   Inspiration take away  — The outcome of our hikes depending upon the signs. It was comforting to become adept at spotting them from a distance when they were this bold or within closer range when they were nestled into the landscape. How do I look for the signs in my daily life? Do I take the time?

In two days we had unbelievable hikes that totaled 50,334 steps that included climbing the equivalent of 320 flights of stairs! Pushing ourselves out of our normal physical comfort zone caused us to be very grateful for the creation of capable bodies.

Inspiration take away — The outcome of our hikes depending upon the signs. It was comforting to become adept at spotting them from a distance when they were this bold or within closer range when they were nestled into the landscape. How do I look for the signs in my daily life? Do I take the time?

Those that work the earth work hard to plant and maintain the terraced farmland. We admire the fruits of the labor and the beauty in the midst of the fields.   Inspiration take away  — How am I a part of creation care? How does my art reflect this reverently?

Those that work the earth work hard to plant and maintain the terraced farmland. We admire the fruits of the labor and the beauty in the midst of the fields.

Inspiration take away — How am I a part of creation care? How does my art reflect this reverently?

One of our hikes had the goal destination of this “sanctuary” at the top of the mountain above Monterosso. This is a church, and a place of retreat that offers lodging and food. Above each of the seaside villages is a sanctuary with a trail that unites the five shrines. This is all part of a communication circuit that dates back to 1800 BC. We not only were following historical pathways but were able to admire unbelievably beautiful scenery and architecture.   Inspiration take away  — The Church serves many purposes.

One of our hikes had the goal destination of this “sanctuary” at the top of the mountain above Monterosso. This is a church, and a place of retreat that offers lodging and food. Above each of the seaside villages is a sanctuary with a trail that unites the five shrines. This is all part of a communication circuit that dates back to 1800 BC. We not only were following historical pathways but were able to admire unbelievably beautiful scenery and architecture.

Inspiration take away — The Church serves many purposes.

As we left the first shrine to head to the Lady of Reggio shrine above Vernazza we discovered these left behind hiking sticks. We don’t usually use walking sticks but something made us grab one. We had no idea how thankful we’d be to have it as we soon were upon a trail labeled as “treacherous.” The strength of that stick helped get us down and across a very challenging path to the next sanctuary. As we left the Lady of Reggio shrine we passed four hikers who asked what would be ahead. We gave them a map and passed on the hiking stick as well as our good wishes and encouragement. I wonder how many others have now used that stick?   Inspiration take away  — Small acts of kindness can appear seemingly out of nowhere. The gift should be shared.

As we left the first shrine to head to the Lady of Reggio shrine above Vernazza we discovered these left behind hiking sticks. We don’t usually use walking sticks but something made us grab one. We had no idea how thankful we’d be to have it as we soon were upon a trail labeled as “treacherous.” The strength of that stick helped get us down and across a very challenging path to the next sanctuary. As we left the Lady of Reggio shrine we passed four hikers who asked what would be ahead. We gave them a map and passed on the hiking stick as well as our good wishes and encouragement. I wonder how many others have now used that stick?

Inspiration take away — Small acts of kindness can appear seemingly out of nowhere. The gift should be shared.

To and from the sanctuaries the trails were dotted with niches such as pictured. They contained religious objects, candles, quotes about peace and/or were full of small rocks placed out of devotion and prayer. A series of these even represented the stations of the cross.   Inspiration take away  — Taking time to pause on the path is reasonable and restorative.

To and from the sanctuaries the trails were dotted with niches such as pictured. They contained religious objects, candles, quotes about peace and/or were full of small rocks placed out of devotion and prayer. A series of these even represented the stations of the cross.

Inspiration take away — Taking time to pause on the path is reasonable and restorative.

Next up …. sharing about our time in the area of Lake Como.