When Holmsey the Hare pays you a visit,
You welcome him in and see what he brought is exquisite.
So you don’t sit and idle away,
You don’t doodle or cry “Not today!”.
You play and explore,
You dress him up in hand dyed galore.
In a book, on a shelf,
He hops around all pleased with himself.
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Hello hello ladies and gentlemen, how are you doing?
I’ve had the most wonderful time visiting Chiara in Italy.
We had such a great weather, almost too hot to be honest, lots of sunny summer days, unusual hot nights, humidity – the grass luckily was really really fresh and green and extra sweet.
She showed to me her garden, there were so many flowers, bees and butterflies, and very funny and very very soft Bunny Tails she grew from heirloom seeds this year.
Chiara lives in the NE region, Veneto, and her hometown is just a 15 minutes drive from Venezia, Venice.
The place where she lives is part of a series of towns that were built along a canal (boats were the main means of transport for goods and people before cars came along), which form the Riviera del Brenta. Many tourists still take the water-way to admire the beautiful panorama of the Rivera, although Chiara explained to me it’s very unnerving for the residents which always have to wait a long time before crossing the bridges from one side of town to the other. It also ruined the banks to the point they risk floods every year but that’s another story. 😉
This Sunday they celebrated the Riviera Fiorita (Riviera in Bloom), they decorate each side of the canal banks with flowers, have parties, eating contests, music, exhibits and of course the traditional historical parade on water, now at its 38th edition.
The water cortège starts from Strà (more on this later) and moves on the canal to a town called Malcontenta (“discontent”, funny uh?) recalling the historical meeting of the Doge (chief magistrate) of Venezia and Henry III King of France.
Historical boats and ships packed with people dressed up in costumes and regal clothes travel along the canal, with designated rowers in slightly more practical clothes because, honestly, it’s quite a long way!
Here you can see the leaflet for this year’s edition, unfortunately only in Italian, but you can play with Google Translate. 😊
The weather was terrible this year, with lots of rain and chilly winds, so waiting for the boats to arrive wasn’t too much fun, but Chiara showed me pictures of another time she watched the parade, here they are 😊
On the map of the trip you can see the canal Brenta connects two famous cities in this region: Padova (Padua) and Venezia. In-between them are many ville (villas) and historical baroque buildings with frescos – which here are actually called affreschi – and gardens, fountains, hedges, .. such a marvellous place to hop around!
Chiara showed me this wonderful place called Villa Pisani, with a beautiful park, a maze, lemon gardens, wild birds everywhere – I must say I lost my way a couple of times 😉
Here you can read more about Villa Pisani, the history of the Doge and the Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia (the Most Serene Republic of Venice), and the town of Malcontenta – why is it called this way you ask? oh, Chiara told me about it. It gets its name from the famous Villa Foscari, also knows as La Malcontenta, which was designed by Andrea Palladio in 1559. There’s a legend about a very unhappy woman confined to spend the rest of her life alone in the villa because of her naughty lifestyle, but others say this whole area was known to be “unhappy” even before the villa was built because of the frequent overflowings of the Brenta.
Here are some pictures from the Riviera, which unfortunately was hit by a tornado in July and looks quite different now – in fact you can see in the leaflet this year’s edition has doubled its name, Riviera Fiorita and Riviera Ferita (wounded).
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But let’s not get too sad now, let’s talk needlework! 😄 Chiara had everything ready when I arrived from Ireland, except the sewing machine which had broke down only days before, argh!
She explained to me that she loves to stitch on high counts of linen and use hand dyed threads that she sometimes has custom dyed in Hungary, and for my piece she went all-in with lovely colours that remind me of the gardens, the water, the clear summer skies.
She introduced me to her friend, Taras, a big male cat that is almost three years old now and still hasn’t finished growing! Imagine that!
We had a great time playing in the garden, he loves to play hide and seek, catch me if you can, chasing the water hose, .. and he also likes to sit on the pattern Chiara’s working on, that she told me is typical.
When she was finished with the stitching she picked some exquisite fabrics from the Downton Abbey Downstairs collection (which I reckon suit me perfectly, if I say so myself), and fully finished the main piece as a pillow – thank goodness her sewing machine came back from the dead! 😅
She liked this design so much we played with graph paper one night and turned the motifs into a matching scissor fob and a bookmark! Chiara loves to read and I wanted her to keep me close where she could see me every night. 😊 She also loves to stitch and will see me again in January when she starts her Year of the Hare panels, so I’ll be there as the official scissor fob for the project! 😉
Would you like to know where I’ll hop next? Here’s a map Chiara showed me to explain where I’m headed:
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see you in North Carolina!
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I personally want to thank Gale for her patience and the wonderful opportunity of meeting Holmsey and stitching such an adorable pattern. thank you so so much, Gale! 😊