The Magic Paths of Italy

I have just spent two weeks in Italy during the dark month of November. My trip began and ended in Ferrara. This beautiful city has a special attraction for me. It may not have the glamour of Florence or Venice today, but was for 300 years the seat of the Estes, a family reknowned for their power and intrigue. From 1300 to 1600 they built palaces and amassed a collection of art and music and were famous for the splendour of their court. While in Ferrara, I rose early each morning and went for a run through the misty, empty cobblestone streets and along the paths on top of the ancient city walls. I explored palaces and visited cloistered monasteries and pictured a time long ago. It reminded me that all we ever have is Now and to live consciously and gratefully and be available for what life brings us.
I flew to Italy to participate in “Magic, The Magic Paths of Art”, an international exhibition with 45 artists from around the world. The show was held in the Estense Castle in Ferrara, home of the beautiful, infamous daughter of Pope Alexander VI, Lucretia Borgia (1480 – 1519). Ferrara is an ancient city located in the Po Delta, a vast marshland just north of Bologna. It was exciting to meet and network with so many artists whose work is an exploration of their spiritual intentions and relationship with The Creator.
My companion Nadine and I arrived four days before the Grand Opening. Unfortunately, my paintings were misplaced by my airline and did not arrive until the day after the Gala. So I attended the reception without them. I was the only artist without any art! If anything however, my misfortune created celebrity for me and my art and everyone wanted to see the missing work of the artist from Canada. I feared that my art work might never show up. In spite of this I had a great time even though earlier that evening I had been in tears on the phone with my husband, Jeff back in Canada. As it turned out, the paintings were delivered the next day, shortly after Nadine and I had left to begin our tour of Florence, Ravenna, Venice and Verona. In my absence the director, Paola took care of everything and hung the paintings for the remainder of the show.
Nadine and I made our way south, out of the delta, through the mountains to Florence. During the rainy season, the land was cool and damp, often blanketed in fog, quietly resting and restoring itself. Italy is a fertile country that has for centuries been the source of wonderful food and wine and great ideas. It has been home to such masters as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and many others. It was humbling and awe inspiring to see such beautiful art and architecture and to realize that it had been created hundreds of years ago. Viewing works of such genius and innovation reminded me that we are capable of so much.
Italians have a rich heritage and I was impressed by how active, fit and fashion conscious they are. Bicycles are as common as automobiles. During our adventures I was continually amazed by the warmth, courtesy and generosity of those I met. Italians are family oriented and openly express their respect for the elderly and their love of children and dogs. Every afternoon and evening people make time to be with family and friends. We could take a few pointers from them.
We had some challenges in getting around and our travel between cities was nerve wracking at times. The landscape was a mixture of mountains and marshlands. We had to contend with traffic circles, standard transmission, navigating in unknown places in the fog and trying to read the small print on a map in poor light. Yet wonderful coincidences repeatedly occurred. For example, on several occasions we had to make a decision on which way to turn at a fork in the road. Magically, it would turn out to be the correct one – over and over again. We also had instances where people would suddenly appear unbidden, to make suggestions about what step to take next, such as how to use our guide book and which ferry to take. Even more miraculous were two situations that occurred in Venice. One morning on the bus ride into the city two students asked us to be part of a university project they were doing and volunteered to be our informal guides for the day, showing us a side of the ancient city that few tourists ever see. On the following day we decided to visit the glass factories on the Isle of Murano. No sooner did we arrive at Saint Mark’s Square to look for a ferry than an official walked up and offered us a free luxury taxi and guided tour of the famous island!
It was an uncanny and at times I felt as though we were being divinely guided. The journey was filled with “synchronicity” in the occurrence of events and the appearance of helpful individuals along the way. Some moments were challenging and others were delightful. I realized that through my attitude I create my reality – no matter what the circumstance. Now, through my words and my art I look forward to sharing my inspiration and experiences with others.


Anonymous said…
Loved reading your story and experience. I also found it very encouraging. I'm about to make the move to Mexico in two weeks and have been having all sorts of complications as well as interesting solutions and syncronicity. Life is interesting when you're open to it!
I'm planning to open a gallery in San Miguel de Allende later this winter if all goes as planned. The encaustics have been packed away with my studio stuff so none of those- yet.
Your work is really looking great! You're an inspiration girl!
Anonymous said…
Hello Maura,

Just read the whole story ; quite impressive i must say. Of cause, Nadine was the name of your companion. One can say you had some "stormy weather"but afterwards the sun appeared ( talking about your works)
Remember the beauty and forget the bad parts.

Warm regards,

Hans Mertens
Anonymous said…

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