June 18, 2014

A Few Days in Atrani and Paestum, Along the Costiera Amalfitana

We made a visit to the Amalfi Coast over the weekend, staying three nights in the small town of Atrani and a day at the Greco-Roman city of Paestum. It's always a challenge coordinating travel for this trip, as I prefer to use public transportation and the rail/bus/boat schedules rarely align the way I'd like. There was only one glitch - we went to transfer from one train to another in Napoli, and got on the train that was sitting on the designated track ... only to discover a that the actual train had been sitting further down the same track, and had already left the station. Crazy. So we had to kill an hour waiting for the next train. Not such a big deal, as the destination always renders insignificant any difficulties along the way. While I hate to give away what I feel is a bit of a secret ... Atrani is a wonderful place, and one of my favorite locations for drawing. MC Escher spent time there, which becomes obvious considering his initial "Metamorphosis" woodcut and also his images of never-ending stairs and crazy perspectives.

 











As if Atrani wasn't enough of a sketcher's dream come true, there's also Paestum, just a little way down the coast from Salerno, where we take the bus or boat to get to Atrani. Paestum was a Greek colony from the 5th Century BC that was subsequently made into a Roman city before falling to the Saracens in the 9th Century AD. It then lay all but undiscovered until the 18th Century when it became inspiration for English Romantic poets. Now, it is simply a magnificent place to visit, with three major Doric temples in immaculate condition. They make challenging subjects for drawing, and in this case I was trying not to get worked-up about the details and let the paint flow freely.

Then it was back to Atrani, where we had nice weather interspersed with some intense storms. We all stayed dry until we got off the boat in Salerno on the way home - in the 10 minute walk/run to the train station, we all got drenched in a heavy rain. But it was ok ... we were going home, to Rome, where warm showers and dry clothes were waiting. We're almost halfway through our two months here, with lots more to do and always more to see and sketch.

16 comments :

kumi matsukawa said...

Truly so beautiful and magnificent!

Matthew Brehm said...

Thanks, Kumi! You really should visit these places someday!

Unknown said...

Thank you for the memories! We spent 4 years living in Naples and the Amalfi Coast was a must see for all our visitors. We also visited Paestum on our way to Sicily.

Cathy Gatland said...

Gorgeous sketches (don't worry, we won't tell anyone your secret! :)

Matthew Brehm said...

Thanks Cathy! ;)

gabi campanario said...

I appreciate the historical background and the detail about MC Escher. That's really interesting! And the panoramic of the Doric temple is fabulous. You should let the paint flow freely more often.

Matthew Brehm said...

Thanks Gabi - I just need to suppress the architect in me once in a while, haha.

Eugene said...
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Eugene said...

I love the boldness of watercolor strokes and the truly sun light on your sketches.

Matthew Brehm said...

Thank you, Eugene!

Richard Sheppard said...

Beautiful work Matthew! Love your color palette and handling of paint.

Richard Sheppard said...
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Matthew Brehm said...

Thanks Richard! I've been trying to simplify my palette, and I'm down to maybe three colors I use a lot (Ultramarine, Azo Yellow, Alizarin Crimson) and a few others I use once in a while, sparingly (Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Gamboge, Raw Sienna, and very rarely Cerulean Blue).

Birgit Müller said...

Oh no! I did some sketches in Peastum at the 11.6. so we missed each other by a few days :(
I was very much impressed by the place!
While I was drawing my boyfriend found some interesting quotes from the italien diary of j.w. goethe, he didn´t like the place at all and he was complaining about the horrible architektur, it´s very funny to read. :D

Matthew Brehm said...

Oh, that's too bad we missed each other, Birgit! I can't imagine not being amazed by Paestum, but now I want to read Goethe's piece about it - I started reading his book about traveling to Italy, but I didn't get that far. Thanks for the reminder! Are you going to Brazil??

Birgit Müller said...

Yes, I will! I planed one month of traveling around and I´m very exiceted about it. But after the match yesterday I´m a bit worried about our holidays, not sure the I want Germany to win against Brazil on Thuesday :D
Anyway,I´ll see you in Paraty!