9 Interesting Facts About Tuscany

Every day, my personal list of places that I have to visit before I die grows bigger. There are obvious choices, like London, New York, Tokyo or basically any other major city that’s known to be a must-see for any traveling enthusiast. Then you move on to places that can offer you more than a sightseeing experience, like the exotic shores of Bora Bora (if your wallet allows it) or an epic safari in the wilderness of Africa (if your heart rate allows it). And by the time you know it, you realize that you already have three pages worth of traveling destinations, and tell yourself: “enough.” But then, you stumble upon some article that describes in vivid detail the beauty of some unknown village on an abandoned island next to Iceland, and it comes with pictures too! Or, in my case, you find a gallery that showcases the beauty of Tuscany, perhaps a lesser hyped destination in Italy compared to famous places like Rome,¬† or Venice if you take away the fame of Florence. But let me tell you, Tuscany is just as worthy of being on that list just like any other destination and here are 9 Interesting Facts About Tuscany to tell you why.

1. Birthplace Of Italian

Interesting Facts About Tuscany - Italian's Origin

Anyone who possesses some basic knowledge on the ethno genesis of European languages knows that Italian was founded on the premises of Latin. After all, if not the descendants of Romans, then who? However, even though the language itself was shaped by Latin, the Italian we hear being spoken today is actually created around the dialect spoken in Tuscany. How many regions can claim they have the honor of having such a widely liked dialect, that the entire country agreed to adopt it?

2. Pinocchio Is From Tuscany

Pinocchio Is Tuscan - Interesting Facts About Tuscany

Like most stories, Disney wasn’t the first to tell the story of the famous marionette Pinocchio. The original tale was crafted by Italian author Carlo Collodi, who was born in the Florence of the year 1826 and lived his whole life in Tuscany, which was, back then, under Austrian control. The story was then picked up by Disney over a century later, and turned into the 1940 adaption we know all too well today.

3. First Region To Adopt Pavements

Interesting Facts About Tuscany - Paved Roads

If there is one thing that’s vastly known, is that Florence has always been an epitome of elegance of beauty. This is all thanks to the rich banks and the flowering merchandise business of the Renaissance era, which made Tuscany a region financially potent to bring out the best of itself. Curtsy to this, in 1339, it adopted the initiative to pave all the roads in Tuscany, something that revolutionized the world, as we can attest over seven centuries later.

4. The Leaning Tower Of Pisa

Interesting Facts About Tuscany Include The Existence Of Other Towers Like Pisa's

The legendary tower of Pisa has become a trademark for Italy in general. But do you know how it came to assess its infamous, skewed position? Ironically enough, the word “pisa” originates from Greek and it means “marsh land,” which seems to have been a grim prediction of the Italian architects’ choice to build a 15,000 tonnes weighting tower on unstable marsh land. What’s more, this isn’t the only tower of sorts in Tuscany: the church of Saint Nicola and the bell tower of the church of Saint Michele dei Scalzi also share the iconic leaned position of the Pisa tower.

5. UNESCO Heritage Sites

UNESCO Heritage Sites Compose Interesting Facts About Tuscany

Tuscany is undoubtedly a must see for anyone who would like to be taken on a cultural trip among the history filled walls and roads of the region. There are more UNESCO Heritage Sites in Tuscany than in places like South Africa, Argentina or Australia, with the biggest density being found in Florence, Siena and Pienza. But it’s not just buildings other architectural masterpieces that bear the seal of the UNESCO Heritage Site; many of the landscapes in Tuscany are considered of great value too, since they’ve inspired many of the greatest Renaissance painters.

6. The Marble Arch Is Tuscan

The Marble Arch's Origins Make Up Some Interesting Facts About Tuscany

Perhaps you’re familiar with the Marble Arch, the huge construction that was built on the corners of Park Lane and Oxford Street in London. Well, the material used for its construction is actually marble that was exported from Tuscany. Back then, Italy could afford sparing some of its Tuscan marble, since it was a commonly and widely used resource by many Renaissance artists. The best example is Michelangelo’s famous David, which is today exhibited at the Galleria dell‚ÄôAccademia in Florence.

7. The Birth Of Opera And Musicals

Opera's Origins - Interesting Facts About Tuscany

The biggest accomplishment that can be awarded to Tuscany, is undoubtedly the colossal impact it had in the cultural world. Around the middle of the 16th century, and the Renaissance Era, a group of Tuscan poets, musicians and intellectuals known as Florentine Camerata joined forces to intertwine Green myths with music, and put them on stage. This movement eventually led to the apparition of the first operas, which in turn were the foundation for the development of classical forms as music, such as the symphony.

8. Tuscany Has A Ski Resort

Interesting Facts About Tuscany - Ski Resort

This might come off as quite surprising, especially given the fact that Italy often loses to neighbors such as Switzerland and Austria when it comes to mountainside tourism. However, Tuscany has more to offer than rolling hills and green, lush flora. Mount Amiata is a popular destination for those who are looking for an escapism in the heart of the mountains, whether it’s for skying or for plain relaxation purposes.

9. Legendary Artwork

Tuscany's Culturally Famous Artworks Are Some Better Known Interesting Facts About Tuscany

For our final bullet point, we have to give credit where credit’s due, even though said credit has been given numerous of times. Tuscany is the host of some of the post valuable artworks in the world, and it can pride itself for being the birth place of some of the biggest names in the Renaissance. For example, Botticelli’s famous “The Birth of Venus” painting is displayed at the Uffizi Gallery and Michelangelo’s David is exhibited for the world to see in Florence. What’s even cooler is than many Tuscan cities and towns are works of art by themselves, being the hosts of many amazing churches, cathedrals and buildings rich in history and culture.

Long story short, Tuscany is amazing. And Florence shouldn’t be the only reason why you’d want to visit it. Although definitely its strongest point, the region in itself is full of gorgeous landscapes and perhaps lesser known towns and cities that are worth a sightseeing escapade, thanks to these 9 Interesting Facts About Tuscany.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Spoontaneous, The Balance Between Puns And Spoons

Terry Widner, the brains and steady hands behind Spoontaneous, is as creative as it gets. His site, Spoontaneous, the balance between puns and spoons, displays his work from the last five or six years. Who said spoons have to be boring and made out of metal? Widner proves to¬†everyone that spoons can be fun, especially if their descriptions or titles involve puns, which they usually do. Wooden spoons design possibilities are limitless, as the creator of Spoontaneous is eager to prove. Just a glance at his portfolio shows that¬†he’s got a headful of surprising ideas. However, even he admits he values design over functionality. Therefore, don’t expect to be able to use all of Widner’s spoons for eating soup. With some of them, you can at least ladle it.

Spoontaneous, The Balance Between Puns And Spoons

I did warn you Spoontaneous products aren’t the most functional gifts to give¬†your mother. But you can’t deny this one is¬†gorgeous. Made out of African black wood, this could be an intriguing addition for all spoon collectors out there. Who knows, maybe you can use it at that Halloween party you’ve been dying to throw.

Spoontaneous, The Balance Between Puns And Spoons

While he compromises on functionality,¬†Terry Widner, the creator of these spoons, certainly makes up in creativity. This quirky idea of merging a snake and a spoon is just snaketastic. Again, it might only be used as a decor piece, but it would sure stand out with its unique quirky design. Even the wood’s color and texture resemble a snake’s skin.

Spoontaneous, The Balance Between Puns And Spoons

It is an aubergine or a plate? It’s actually a spoon, and I won’t lie, I would use it for serving salad. It’s a very ingenious idea and Widner executed it flawlessly. Like the rest of his products, he doesn’t fail to stay faithful to his real subjects. His attention to detail can be noticed in the aubergine’s stub which turns yellow at the base. He even nailed the color and texture of the vegetable, in a strike of genius.

Spoontaneous, The Balance Between Puns And Spoons

Entitled Fowl play, this spoon takes things to a whole new level. It’s made out of maple and ebony, and the feet are metal. This artist has proven how you can break away from constraints and embrace creativity at its best. Again, the attention¬†to details is easy to notice: the eyes, the beak and the elongated neck add a lot of character¬†to this intriguing design.

Spoontaneous, The Balance Between Puns And Spoons

Made out of grapefruit wood and incorporating a turquoise stone as well as silver and pigments, this artwork was called¬†The ‚ÄúEater‚ÄĚ Bunny.¬†Widner confessed he gets completely immersed in his creative process and he never knows what’s going to turn out once he starts carving. He went¬†on to add that the work itself seems to take off in its own direction, and he can only follow the lead. I guess this bunny was feeling particularly luxurious when he possessed Widner to create it.

Spoontaneous, The Balance Between Puns And Spoons

The creator of Spoontaneous experiments from time to time with other materials, but he admits he keeps going back to wood. He hears a calling and enjoys employing the wood he stumbles upon.¬†Widner never took art or carving classes and takes pride in saying he is self taught. He is inspired by other artists and woodworkers and doesn’t shy away from learning from and studying their artwork.

Spoontaneous, The Balance Between Puns And Spoons

Since the artist emphasizes fun, not functionality, his belief transpires in all his carvings. In his past,¬†Widner experimented with creating boxes, canes and even a pipe. When he started focusing solely on spoons, it was like a light was switched on and he soon discovered his design possibilities were unlimited. And this rhino speaks volumes about possibilities: it was made out of maple, deer antler tips and beads for it’s tiny eyes.

Image sources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Random Portraits Turned In Illustrations

What would you choose between a sharp, beautiful photo portrait and an illustration? If you’re inclined to reach for the photo answer, you need to see these random portraits turned in illustrations. What happens when drop dead portraits get in the hands of a talented artist?¬†Julio Cesar experimented with transforming photos into fun illustrations that will make you feel jealous he didn’t pick your Facebook profile photo. Cesar follows¬†the lead of¬†Hector Janse van Rensburg who chose fifty random Facebook profile photos and turned them into sloth paintings, as a metaphor for his depression. The Brazilian artist, however, has a cuter approach and an obvious draw towards pretty girls.

Random Portraits Turned In Illustrations

Also known as MZ09, the Brazilian artist is a freelance illustrator with a deep passion for cartoony style. He gave up publicity and advertising so he could dedicate all his time to what he really loves doing: art. He has an impressive collection of illustrations and you can check out his original artwork on Deviantart, Facebook or Tumblr.

Random Portraits Turned In Illustrations

His main source of inspiration are cartoons from the 80s and 90s. This transpires in every illustration he makes. Whether he starts from scratch or works around a real photograph, he makes sure to leave his fingerprint on the style of the artwork. You can notice above the photo vs the illustration.¬†Cesar went ahead and enlarged the eyes of the girl for a real cartoonish feel. The elongated neck and fuller lips prove he pays attention to details and he’s not afraid to spend hours working on a project.

Random Portraits Turned In Illustrations

Cesar has a knack for choosing the photos he decides to transform into illustrations. I doubt it’s a completely random process, since almost all of¬†them have a playful undertone in their composition. To make his illustrations, Julio uses¬†Easy Paint Tool SAI and also¬†Photoshop for post production.

Random Portraits Turned In Illustrations

I warned you his favorite subjects are pretty girls. Cesar confesses that at the beginning his creative process was a bit chaotic. Well, no one’s born knowing it all, Cesar. As he learned how to master the technique, he shifted back and forth between approaches until he found what best worked for him. Instead of getting knee deep in layers, now he first tackles the draft, adding the base colors and then the lights and shadings.

Random Portraits Turned In Illustrations

As a self taught illustrator, the Brazilian artist finds inspiration and tips everywhere on the internet. His favorites are superheroes, but this project took him out of his comfort zone and made him experiment with different portraits, colors and techniques.

Random Portraits Turned In Illustrations

From the bunch, the above set probably best illustrates his fondness for cartoons. The photo on the right undergoes a complete transformation. The eyes are enlarged, the doll eyelashes applied. Even the drinks get the cartoonish treatment and benefit from a face lift.

Random Portraits Turned In Illustrations

What’s in store for Cesar’s fans? An actual store. MZ09 is shooting high for the stars and plans to open an online shop and sell t-shirts for all nerds and geeks out there. Come to think of it, I know a few people who’d like to wear a tee with their cartoon self painted on it.

Random Portraits Turned In Illustrations

Cesar doesn’t exclude the possibility of¬†releasing an art book with his illustrations in the near future. He’s also flirting with the idea of a comic book, but that’s just brainstorming at the moment. Looking at his artwork, his attention to details and drive to create something unique, I think it’s safe to say he would succeed in anything he set out doing.

Image sources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

WWI Romanian Photos Restored And Brought To Life

We’ve enjoyed the privilege of taking photographs for around two hundred years, and during a big chunk of this period, we could only immortalize black and white moments, black and white weddings, black and white portraits. Thankfully, Photoshop enthusiasts from all over the world took on the daunting job of colorizing photos that date back from World War II and even World War I. And it’s no easy job. It takes hours of patience, and mastering Photoshop is essential. You can recognize the colors in a black and white picture by the subtle grey hues and from there on it’s all about the artists’ dedication to build a new photo that will faithfully illustrate what colored life looked in the 20s. An Australian artist put her personal spin on colorizing.¬†When she saw a Romanian photographers’s collection of old glass plate pictures, she figured she could bring them back to life. With a twist. Check out this WWI¬†Romanian photos restored and brought to life by¬†Jane Long.

WWI Romanian Photos Restored And Brought To Life

Jane Long’s colorizing process mainly involved guesswork. The rest of the imaginative process involved some kickass Photoshop skills, a fairy tale perspective and a whole lot of creativity. In this set, Long took a picture of a little boy and a girl, possibly brother and sister, and not only brought it to life with colors, but put her fingerprint on it in a fairy tale meets scary stories kind of way.

WWI Romanian Photos Restored And Brought To Life

This photo dating from the first World War was taken in someone’s garden and captured a very serious young man holding two pigeons. Long thought the picture didn’t have enough birds in it, so she added about a dozen more. The young man is brought to life¬†by the vivid coloring, though he’s still not smiling. While the picture on the left tells a nostalgic story of long gone times, the one on the right mixes historic photography with Daliesque surrealism.

WWI Romanian Photos Restored And Brought To Life

Classic WWI children portraits included dressed up kids often resembling cute chubby dolls. While the little girl on the left looks startled, and the little boy puts on a wise pose, the photo on the right tells a whole different story. The mirror is a unique touch and illustrates Long’s Photoshop skills at their best. Her attention to details is also amazing. Notice the little boy’s blue eyes, his tiny hand resting on the girl’s back and the perfect aged reflection in the mirror.

WWI Romanian Photos Restored And Brought To Life

While on the left we have the classic Romanian wedding at the beginning twentieth century, Jane took a different approach with her digital manipulation. The bride of the sea has other guests than her Romanian black and white equivalent. Her beautiful dress took a lot of careful work and the flower bouquet benefited from an augmentation. The fairy tale element in this one is brought by the floating veil and her almost unnoticeable aqua blue eyes.

WWI Romanian Photos Restored And Brought To Life

Probably a mother and her son showing off their acrobatic skills, the photo on the left captured a unique family moment during the years of the first World War. Continuing the theme, the Australian photographer took to her editing master skills and transformed the photo into an image saturated with color and fun. Notice the woman flipping a pancake and the little boy holding his teacup, while they’re both standing on a teapot resting on the laundry wire. Which is basically the definition of a fun Sunday in the family.

WWI Romanian Photos Restored And Brought To Life

Combining several soldiers’ portraits, Long added a touch of grace to her take on the photo by beautifying it with poppies. The portraits¬†on the left are harsh and cold not only because they are in black and white. The uniforms of the soldiers and officers are brought to life in a colorizing process that must have taken hours, if not days.

Image sources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Amazing Tiny Sculptures On Pencil Tips

If you’re like me and 90% of the world’s population, then you couldn’t¬†draw if your life depended on it. Sure, I can scribble something on a piece of paper, but no one could tell if it’s an apple, a dinosaur, or Superman, when in fact, it’s¬†a house with two trees and a swing set. Anyway, us untalented people usually swoon over others’ imagination¬†and drive to create something that the world hasn’t seen before. Like Jasenko Dordevic, who is a sculptor. Oh, a sculptor, what new things can he possibly do, you’re thinking. Well, these amazing tiny sculptures on pencil tips will take you by surprise. Beware, you won’t be able to complain next time you try to sharpen your pencil and the mine keeps breaking.

Amazing Tiny Sculptures On Pencil Tips

Jasenko Dordevic is a Bosnian sculptor who was inspired by Dalton Ghetti to create these unique sculptures. He carves in graphite, which is also known as black lead. His original artwork is extremely detailed and seems to have been carved out of wood, and not very fragile graphite.

Amazing Tiny Sculptures On Pencil Tips

By using an an X-acto knife, Dordevic manages to carve beautifully detailed things into pencil tips. We should all remember his artwork next time we go mad trying to sharpen a pen and the graphite keesp breaking in the sharpener. He must have steadier hands than a surgeon operating on open heart.

Amazing Tiny Sculptures On Pencil Tips

This picture best illustrates the Bosnian sculptor’s attention to detail. I admit, not knowing what we’re talking about, I would’ve been inclined to ask why someone bothered to stick a¬†screw in the crayon. Maybe just for the kicks? But this is, in fact,¬†Dordevic at its best. I can only imagine it took him hours to complete this piece, and a lot of effort must have went in perfecting the sculpture.

Amazing Tiny Sculptures On Pencil Tips

If you were wondering how¬†Dordevic’s working desk looks like, here’s a sneak peek. He doesn’t just guesstimate how he should carve the graphite, he uses a magnifying glass to get accurate details and stunning carvings. He clips the pencil stub on his working device and lets inspiration take over. Even with the magnifying glass, his job isn’t that easy. The graphite is extremely fragile and must be handled with care. I can only imagine it can be very frustrating to spend half a day polishing up a sculpture only for it to break at the first gust of wind.

Amazing Tiny Sculptures On Pencil Tips

Just when you thought¬†Dordevic can’t get any more creative, he puts a spin on his already unique artwork. He went further than sculpting on pencil tips, and exposed the crayon’s mine in which he carved a moving train passing through a tunnel. Hats down to Doredevic. He proves imagination has no limits, but he never sacrifices minute attention to details or¬†his patience to polish up every piece of art.

Amazing Tiny Sculptures On Pencil Tips

Probably my favorite piece from the Bosnian sculptor’s collection, this tiny elephant is truly a work of art. From the arched trumpet, to the slightly shinier back, the raised hind leg and the alert ears, this graphite sculpture speaks volumes about¬†Doredevic’s passion and his ability to stay focused on his work.

Amazing Tiny Sculptures On Pencil Tips

The detail level on this graphite photo camera is once again stunning. You got the tripod, the attached lens and the flash ready to capture the best moments in Ant Man’s life.

Amazing Tiny Sculptures On Pencil Tips

Inspired by matrioshka dolls, Doredevic took on the daunting task of carving out two tiny figurines. The hollowed graphite mine snugly fits the smaller matrioshka, while the bigger one seals everything off. Probably not suitable for children, these amazing sculptures would delight any art enthusiast on the look out for the latest unique art works.

Image sources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8