This month it is time to tackle  Traces of the Past in colour again. My photo shows a panorama of old Mantua (Italy) with the skyline that seems to pertain to some other times. There is no question that the former Duchy of Mantua (Mantova in Italian) still bears many traces of its glorious past. 

For this recurrent challenge you are free to choose whatever traces of the past you can find. It does not have to be a distant one, or rich in history; it can be something personal, or it can even have a human form. Just this once the deadline is in two weeks. So, see you all after my break on 23rd March when the next challenge is due. On the UPDATES page you can find more details.  

©Paula Borkovic

jupiter najnajnoviji

If you click on the following links, you’ll see the entries to this challenge:

I will look at other entries and link to them after my holiday. See you soon...

Black & White Sunday: Darkness and Light

“They say there is no light without dark, no good without evil, no male without female, no right without wrong. That nothing can exist if it’s direct opposite does not also exist.”

Laurell K. Hamilton, Incubus Dreams


under cover of night

Today you are invited to look for some light and shadow, for drama, for moody or even harsh lighting. The theme of this black and white photo challenge is DARKNESS and LIGHT. The deadline is next Saturday. When you make a post, link it to this challenge, tag it #black&whitesunday and leave me a comment bellow. Wishing you all a great week ahead!


Please, click on the links bellow to see fabulous entries that my blogger friends prepared for this challenge:

Thursday’s Special: Traces of the Past Y2-03

Looking at the romantic skyline of the Renaissance Mantua, a square building with four angular towers draws my eye and takes me on an imaginary tour of a 15th century Lombard duchy when art was a commodity available to the privileged few, but when it ranked fairly high in the general order of things. A hard act to follow in today’s Europe, won’t you agree?


castello s giorgio bakreni-1BezBova (1)_potpis



jupiter najnajnoviji


P.S. For newbies – if you are interested in participating in Thursday’s Special photo challenge, you should publish a post with a photo (or several photos) having in mind the given theme (in this case anything related to the past either near or distant), link that post to this one and leave me a note in the comments section. 

Note: I am happy to announce that we have the winner of the poll for the “Best glow entry”. It is Lena.  Last week there was no voting for the best entry considering multiple theme choices, but for this challenge I will introduce it again. Leave me the links to your entries by next Wednesday, please and have fun compiling your “past” post!

PPS: To see what other themes and posts are coming go to Scheduled challenges page.


Click on the links to see the entries to this challenge:

Fortune is Fickle i.e. May in Mantua

Set in the 16th century Mantua, Rigoletto is an opera with a tragic story that revolves around the lascivious Duke of Mantua, his court jester Rigoletto and Rigoletto’s beautiful daughter Gilda. The opera’s original title, La maledizione (The Curse), refers to the curse put on both the Duke and Rigoletto by a courtier whose daughter had been seduced by the Duke with Rigoletto’s encouragement. The curse is fulfilled when Gilda also falls in love with the Duke and sacrifices her life to save him from the assassins hired by her father.

Modelled after Victor Hugo’s play Le roi s’amuse (The King Has Fun), Rigoletto is not only a social critique of the corrupt society, but also an account of a personal drama of an unscrupulous, boot-licking miser who plots against unsuspecting people to please his womanizing master. Rigoletto’s famous last words when he discovers the dead body of his daughter in place of the Duke’s: Mia Gilda! E morta. Ah, la maledizione! echo the last cry of Hugo’s jester Triboulet: J’ai tue mon enfant. (I killed my child).

It is not a coincidence that I chose Rigoletto’s statue to feature May.

Early this month I took a trip to Mantua. In a small yard in the shadow of Saint George’s Castle stands a statue of Rigoletto, a hunchbacked court jester and the tragic figure of Verdi’s most performed opera.



At last the moment of vengeance is at hand!
For thirty days I have waited,
weeping tears of blood
behind my fool’s mask.


Act 3 opens with the famous aria La donna è mobile sung by the character playing the Duke, disguised as a soldier. It is an irony. The Duke sings that all women are fickle and that they will betray anyone who falls in love with them, but no character in this opera is rational or reliable. They may all be considered callous or mobile (inconstant).

Here is the libretto (the original and English translation), and if you click on the player button bellow, you’ll hear Pavarotti sing it:

 donna e mobile


On the same trip, during my visit to a petting zoo, I witnessed a horrible and a most absurd accident in which a small baby, bundled in his father’s arms, was attacked by a donkey.

Ah, la maledizione! 

Some say that women are fickle. It may be so, but so is the fortune.


This is my entry for Cardinal Guzman’s monthly photo challenge Changing Seasons.