Italian Inspiration

italianflag 300x237 Italian Inspiration


I recently spent 2 weeks in Northern Italy with my family and my parents. We flew into Milan and spent time in Varese (near Lake Maggiore), Venice, Maranello (at the Ferrari museum), Lucca, Pisa, and Florence. Yes I know, you are jealous and it was FABULOUS! Interspersed with all of the beautiful scenery and fantastic historical sites, I found some amazing quilty inspiration halfway around the world.

I saw this paper placemat when we were having lunch in Venice one day. I think the flowers would make a wonderful applique design and I found the color palette really interesting.

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Paper Placemat

Also in Venice, at the Santa Maria della Salute, was this beautiful tile floor.

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Santa Maria della Salute, Pisa, Italy

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I can now see how Norah McMeeking got her inspiration for her Bella Bella quilts. Maybe I’ll get motivated to get back to work on mine!

This wrought iron would make a great quilting motif:

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Window Grate

At the request of my almost 11 year old, we spent a day in Pisa to see the tower.

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Pisa, Italy

First, let me just say, it really is leaning and you can feel it when you climb the spiral stairs to the top. Not for the faint of heart or those who fear heights (not that I know anything about that!) Around the base of the tower was this square in a square design.

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Base around the Leaning Tower

Around the exterior were these wonderful quilt blocks.

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Leaning Tower of Pisa

Next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, is the Duomo (cathedral) attributed to Santa Maria Assunta. I found some very familiar patchwork designs in the architecture.

duomo1 300x200 Italian Inspirationduomo2 300x200 Italian Inspirationduomo3 300x200 Italian Inspirationduomo4 300x200 Italian Inspirationduomo5 300x200 Italian InspirationWe spent the better part of our second week at a renovated farmhouse in the hills of Tuscany, near the walled city of Lucca.

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La Sorgente, Lucca, Italy

With beautiful views into the valley below, this farmhouse had it’s own quilty vibe. Look at this tile that was in the kitchen.

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Sink Backsplash

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Stove Tile

And this ceiling:


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A quick stopover in Paris, France on our way home found these fabulous window displays at the Hermès store. They are spools of thread arranged to create various objects.

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Bracelet from Thread Spools

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Hat from Thread Spools

And my favorite – a shoe!

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Shoe from Thread Spools

Next time you take a trip, near or far, keep your eyes open. You never know where you may find quilty inspiration!

About Denise Starck

I am the Graphic Designer for Quiltmaker. I really love what I do and being able to combine my two passions, graphic design and quilting, into every day is fantastic! I've been quilting for over 14 years and enjoy all types of quilting.
This entry was posted in Quilty Lifestyle, Scrapbag and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Italian Inspiration

  1. orgonite says:

    It’s truly a great and useful piece of info. I am glad that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Babs Fickes says:

    Thank you for sharing! It is a small world. To see these beautiful tiles in the same patterns as my mother and her mother used in their beautiful quilts. They never had patterns, but could copy them visually and then with cloth. I thank God everyday that I inherited their ability and desire to make beautiful designs from object’s of Mother nature’s and her palette of colors and hues.

  3. birdie cutair says:

    Italy is a great place to get inspired with quilting designs! I just loved to look at all the floors and walls when I was there.

  4. Vivian says:

    That looks like it was a wonderful trip! That tile work was amazing, does Italy have a quilting history too?

    When I saw the placemat picture, my first thought was that it was fabric! As fabric or applique, it would be great either way!

  5. Denise says:

    @Sandi (kwiltnkats)–you are right, there has been a shoe and a purse. We are working on Vol. 4 right now – coincidentally, one of the thread spool images may be similar to my block for Vol. 4. ;) Check back in Nov. when it goes on sale!

  6. kwiltnkats says:

    Denise, I had to go back through Quilty Pleasures blog history…but was certain I knew your “shoe” fedish…100 Blocks Volume 2 has a “shoe” block pattern! Wasn’t there a “purse” (Volume 3 block pattern)? Did any of the other thread spools give you inspiration for 100 Blocks Volume 5? (I’m sure you have Volume 4 already figured out…wink!) Sandi

  7. kwiltnkats says:

    What a fun trip you must have had. A farmhouse with a ceiling like that WOW! Sandi

  8. Cassi Bauman says:

    Love seeing these pictures and your inspirations! What a wonderful trip you had – and someone else never even mentioned the quilt inspirations – only the food LOL!

  9. Sondra says:

    Thanks so much for sharing these beautiful photos. Italy seems to be a work of art covered with more art. I can’t get enough of it. (and Duomo means Dome) :)

  10. Delilah says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE these pics! the gate – the Pisa and the ceiling and all of the rest of them! thank you sew much for sharing.

  11. Donna Amos says:

    What a lovely group of quilty photos. Such inspiration! Have never been there, but think it would be a wonderful trip. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Denise says:

    @Paul – Good for you! You gotta take your inspiration where you can find it, don’t you!?
    @Linda (Sunnybec) I was surprised at how much I liked Venice – could have used another day or two there.

  13. Jocelyn says:

    Wow what a great trip!

  14. Paul says:

    Aahhh Italia. I love Italy, have been several times. The Lake Como region (Bellagio specifically) is my favorite. Looks like you had a great time.

    You are right Quilty Inspiration is everywhere. I got caught taking a photo of the floor in a bathroom last weekend at a Poker tournament. Talk about giving the guys fodder… Oh well, it was worth it, I now have a new pattern to incorporate into a quilt!!


  15. upstatelisa says:

    great quilty photos!!!

  16. Sunnybec says:

    This so brought back memories for me. We had our 25th wedding anniversary in Italy. We stayed at a hotel on the edge of Lake Maggiore it was absolutely beautiful. We have been to Italy many times, Lake Garda is one of my favourite places as well as Venice, which is just an unbelievable place. Linda

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