'Architecture'

On The Roof Of Milan Cathedral

April 5, 2018

By Tab Byrum

Yesterday I shared with you the interior of the Milan Cathedral and today we are going up to the roof of the Cathedral. The Cathedral offers visitors the extraordinary chance to visit the rooftop, walk on the roof and see all of the amazing architecture that makes this place so special. The Cathedral at its highest point is 356 feet high and while you can’t go that high when you’re up there you are able to get quite a ways up and see amazing views. This was one of my favorite things we did on our vacation in Italy and I would definitely do it again if I ever find myself in Milan. When visiting the Cathedral you buy tickets to go in and you can buy them to visit the Cathedral and add-on visiting the roof as well, I encourage everyone to take this opportunity if you can. Join me now for a tour on high and Enjoy!!!

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Italy: Milan Cathedral

April 4, 2018

By Tab Byrum

The final two days of our time in Italy were spent in Milan, we were spending such a short time here that I booked a hotel room instead of looking for an apartment and we stayed at the Hotel da Vinci in Milan’s business district. The hotel is a large purple structure with great rooms and honestly the largest shower we had experienced our entire time in Italy. I have to be honest and say that we were tired by the time we got to Milan and ready to get home to our house, bed, and dogs so we didn’t hit the streets of Milan as hard as we had the other cities. The one thing we decided to focus on was the Duomo or Milan Cathedral in the center of the city, the Cathedral of Milan is the largest in Italy (remember Vatican City is its own state) and took 600 years to complete. The Cathedral is truly beautiful with multiple spires soaring up from its roof as well as huge columns with saints and apostles standing on top of them. The style of the Cathedral is Gothic and it houses beautiful treasures of stained glass, marble and the relics of Saint Charles Borromeo which are housed in a glass coffin under the altar of the church. Join me today for a tour of the interior or the Milan Cathedral and tomorrow I will take you on a tour of the amazing rooftop, one of my favorite things we did. Enjoy!!!

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At Home With Designer Vern Yip

April 3, 2018

By Tab Byrum

I’ve always enjoyed watching design shows on TV hosted by designer Vern Yip so I was excited the other day when I stumbled onto a Traditional Home online article about Yip’s home he shares with his partner Craig and their two children. Yip was born in Hong Kong but grew up in Virginia where he graduated from high school in 1986 and attended the University of Virginia and earned degrees in economics and chemistry. Yip was all prepared to attend medical school when he changed his mind and decided to study architecture instead, graduating from Georgia Tech with a Masters in Architecture. Today Yip is known for his classic designs imbued with color and personality and hosting shows on HGTV and TLC’s Trading Spaces. Vern Yip is now based in Atlanta and lives in a 1925 home. I love the design of this family’s home, there are so many traditional elements such as paneling, wide baseboards, large arched windows, and wood floors all done with lots of colors. Of course, you could also totally carry off this decorating scheme using neutrals for a very sophisticated look and feel. Join me for a tour of Vern Yip and Craig Koch’s Atlanta home and be inspired. Enjoy!!!

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Italy: Welcome To Florence

March 28, 2018

By Tab Byrum

We’re off to the third city on our Italian vacation and its the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence. Florence or Firenze as it’s known in Italy is a city of over 300,000 people and the capital of Tuscany. Florence is filled with art created by some of the greatest artists with the names of Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Titian and so many more. We found the city of Florence to be amazingly hospitable and had some of the best food we had on the entire trip. The architecture is amazing everywhere but especially in the Town Square and on the Ponte Vecchio. Join me today for an introduction to Florence as we hit the highlights and I’ll focus on certain aspects of the city in the coming days. Enjoy!!!

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Venice: Doge’s Palace

March 27, 2018

By Tab Byrum

During our stay in Venice, we toured the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica, we weren’t allowed to take photos inside the Basilica which is usually the rule in most churches and Cathedrals in Europe, but we were allowed to photograph the interiors of the Palace. The current Doge’s Palace was first built in 1340 and is done in the style known as Venetian Gothic. The Doges were the elected officials in Venice who basically ran the city, they were also the Chief Magistrate and they were elected for life. The Doges ruled in Venice for 1,100 years with the last Doge being Ludovico Manin who abdicated in 1797 after Napoleon marched into Italy and conquered the city of Venice. Today the Doge’s Palace is a museum and filled with gorgeous art and murals and is available to be toured year-round, we recently went on our tour during the snowstorm I was telling you about. We were able to tour the Palace itself and the rooms that the Doge and other Venetian officials used to greet dignitaries from other countries as well as the armory and the prison that is next door to the Palace and can be reached by crossing the Bridge of Sighs. Join me today for a tour of the Palace and as always, Enjoy!!! (above image via)

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A Venetian Snowstorm

March 23, 2018

By Tab Byrum

Our second full day in Venice dawned with more snow falling but this time it would continue to snow most of the day. We had a tour of the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica scheduled today but not until the afternoon so we headed out to do some walking and sightseeing. Just like in Rome the residents of Venice aren’t used to seeing a lot of snow, it does get cold here because they are in the north and really not a long way from the Alps but the Adriatic Sea helps to keep the temperature more temperate. Today though, the snow was falling fast and furious, as you’ll see in photos I’m sharing it was so heavy at times that you couldn’t see the monastery across the bay. I’m sharing a few snowy pics from our afternoon tour but I’ll do another post on the palace and Basilica later next week, for today though, Enjoy!!!

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Welcome To Venice

March 23, 2018

By Tab Byrum

Join us today as our Italian adventure continues and we head north from Rome to Venice. On Tuesday morning we got up and headed to the Roma Termini train station where we caught our train to Venice and began a three day stay in one of the most unique and peaceful cities I’ve ever been in. Remember there are no cars in Venice as well as no motorcycles and not even bicycles, with all the bridges in the city linking neighborhood to neighborhood there’s no way to ride anything safely for yourself and the other inhabitants. While we were in Venice it seemed that the snow we had in Rome had followed us as we had a couple days of snow but once again we didn’t let that slow us down, we bundled up and headed out to experience something the people of Venice rarely see and enjoy. Today we are going to look at our first couple of days in Venice as we walked the narrow streets of “The Floating City”, rode our first gondola and experienced a city and it’s people who live surrounded by water and beauty. Enjoy!!!

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Rome: A Snowy Day At The Vatican

March 22, 2018

By Tab Byrum

We went to sleep on Sunday with rain falling and woke on Monday morning to snow, we had heard there was a possibility of snow but no one seemed to be taking it very seriously. We had booked a special tour of the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel for this day and the tour was scheduled to begin at 7:30 am, before the doors usually open to tourists. We got up and headed out about 6:30 and by the time we did the snow was falling very heavily and there was a strong wind, so armed with down jackets and umbrellas we set off for The Vatican. We had about a mile walk and it wasn’t too bad, we arrived at the Vatican and it was gorgeous. We finally met up with our tour guide after some confusion of where we were meeting, her name was Sabrina and she was charming. Sabrina told us this was only the third time it had snowed in Rome in her lifetime and the last snow had been six years ago. Sabrina led us to the tour entrance of the Vatican and we set off first for the Sistine Chapel and I’m so glad we did, by the time we entered the Chapel they were telling us that the Vatican was going to be shut down due to the weather and the inability of employees to get to work. We got in and spent about 20 minutes in the Sistine Chapel, if you ever have the opportunity to visit the Chapel do it because it’s breathtaking. The colors are so intense and to think that Michelangelo did all of this on scaffolding and ladders. Unfortunately, you aren’t allowed to take photos of the chapel ceiling but I do have lots of other photos to share of the parts of the Vatican we toured and some beautiful photos of our snowy day in Rome. We weren’t able to tour St. Peter’s Basilica or the Vatican Museums because they did close for the remainder of the day, oh well, we’ll just have to go back. Enjoy!!!

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Rome: Palatine Hill & The Coliseum

March 21, 2018

By Tab Byrum

Our first full day of sightseeing for our group started on Sunday morning, we got up and grabbed some breakfast downstairs in Cajo & Gajo then headed off towards the Palatine Hill and The Coliseum. Palatine Hill is the place where the palace of the Roman Emporers was located. These were not just large homes for the Italian rulers but they were literally small cities unto themselves with shops, baths, restaurants and so much more. Today the ruins of the Palatine give us a glimpse at what life was like a couple thousand years ago. Of course, we’ve all heard of The Coliseum in Rome, the outdoor theater where gladiators fought to the death, Christians were fed to lions and all sorts of fantastic shows were staged to entertain the citizens of Rome. Today both of these places stand in ruin but are still amazing to see, if you ever get to either definitely go in, especially The Coliseum, it’s hard to understand exactly how large it is until you are in it. I’ll go a little more in-depth with today’s photos, Enjoy!!!

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Off To Rome Via Paris…Texas

March 20, 2018

By Tab Byrum

Before I start sharing the photos and stories of our recent Italian vacation I have to tell you a quick story. We were scheduled to fly out of Oklahoma City on a Thursday morning on Southwest Airlines at 6:25, headed to Newark, NJ, where we would catch our United flight to Milan. On the day before we were supposed to fly out, we were eating lunch and I received a text on my phone saying our SW flight for the next day was being canceled due to a cold front that had moved into Oklahoma and a huge amount of rain that was headed up from the Gulf of Mexico which would result in an ice storm. Needless to say, we panicked for a moment then went into action, I got on the phone with SW airlines and they said they could get us on a flight out of Dallas the next morning, Dallas is a three-hour drive, to St. Louis then on to Newark. Michael was on his computer looking at the roads and decided if we headed east out of Oklahoma City we could do it. We said yes to SW Airlines, finished packing and headed out. By the time we left we were already experiencing freezing rain so we drove about 90 miles east of OKC at 35 mph and that is where the cold front had stalled, from there we headed south across SE Oklahoma then into Texas and yes we passed through Paris, Texas. We made it to Dallas seven and a half hours later, spent the night at the Love Field airport and flew out at six the next morning. Our adventure had started and we weren’t even out of the country. Yikes!!!

We flew out of Newark to Milan, Italy then took an almost four-hour train ride from Milan to Rome where we were supposed to meet our friends, Donna and Geoff, on Saturday. So, by the time we arrived in Rome Friday morning we were living in a Steve Martin and John Candy movie, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles with a car ride to Dallas, 3 plane rides and now a train ride. We arrived safely in Rome and headed to our hotel we had booked for the night, it’s about 2 in the afternoon. I’ll let pictures tell the rest of the story of our first day in Rome from here on out, just remember to NOT panic and where there’s a will there’s a way. Enjoy!!!

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