A taste of Italian Art in Our Own Backyard?

We awoke early this morning and turned on Create Tv to watch Rick Steve’s Travel as it has become our custom. Thomas and I both have such a great desire to travel all over Europe.
It has come to our attention over the past few weeks that The Frangipani Family originally from Italy has within its genealogy a saint- Saint Ottone Frangipani… As well, we found the Frangipani “Coat of Arms”… It consists of two lions holding between them three loaves of bread… And if that’s not enough, we learned that this family line was ALL Princes, Princesses, Lords, Counts, and Barons!!!! Interesting for me because when I wrote my hearts desire for my husband and laid it before Jesus, I stated I desired “My Italian Prince”… Jesus, You are Awesome! Thomas is My Italian Prince!!! These findings along with Thomas’ ethnicity and thirst for Art and Culture has fueled our hunger to travel all over Europe; especially Italy!!!!!
Back to today, lol… So we were watching Rick Steve’s Travel and out of no where I remembered something my sweet client Mildred had spoken to me about.. The Churches of The Frescos. I mentioned it to Thomas and quickly he began to search them out on the laptop… Within about 15 minutes we had decided a day-trip was in order to see these amazing pieces of art!
So off we went and soon we came to the first church- Saint Mary’s in Glendale Springs, North Carolina
Upon arrival, the neatly manicured grounds and quaint church were very unassuming… We were welcomed inside immediately with a beautiful stained glass window of Jesus and Mary at the tomb… Then a statue of Mary with child at the back of the church.. Oh but then, turn around and you will find a fresco of Mary pregnant on the left, John the Baptist on the right, and in the center.. Jesus on the Cross of Calvary…An interesting note, just above Jesus head in this work is a cup signifying The Second Coming of Jesus… What amazing pieces of art….
Then we drove on down the road to the other church- Holy Trinity… Here we find grounds much more in an architectural design and of course well manicured… Within this church the best fresco of the two churches ( in my estimation).. The Last Supper…. We literally had to sit down to take in all the details… Notice the empty stool in the Fresco of  The Last Supper…. it is there for each of us,  for We Too Are CHOSEN PEOPLE, We are invited to this table of Love and Grace…. It is up to us to Choose whether or not we partake……..   Here is a link to learn more on the background of these churches….


Wow, who knew? Italian Art in the Fresco style right in our own backyard! The artist Ben Long… The following tells who Ben Long is:::

Benjamin F. Long, IV with Dr. Phyllis Crain Over the last 30 years Benjamin
Franklin Long, IV has established an international reputation as a portrait painter and rare contemporary master of the ancient art of “true fresco,” painting directly on wet plaster walls. Born in Texas, Long is the grandson of McKendree Robbins Long (1888-1976), a revivalist preacher and visionary painter whose early art training had grounded him firmly in the Western classical tradition. Benjamin F. Long, IV grew up in Statesville, NC, and studied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Art Students’ League in New York. Traveling to New York City, Long became a member of the
Art Students League and began studying with Robert Beverly Hale and Frank Mason. However, in 1967 he interrupted his art studies to enlist in the Marine Corps, with which he served two years in Vietnam, initially as an Infantry officer and later as a combat artist.
Upon leaving Vietnam, Long traveled to Italy to apprentice himself to Pietro Annigoni in hopes of studying oil painting but found that Annigoni was no longer painting in oil but in the medium of fresco. Undiscouraged, Long committed himself to Annigoni for almost eight years, working beside him in fresco work and teaching himself to paint in oil.

Benjamin F. Long, IV Self-Portrait
After completing several frescos in Italy, including the only painting by a non-Italian at the abbey of Montecassino, Long brought his fresco talent to America. Since 1978, Long has completed 13 frescoes in North Carolina, including a dome at the TransAmerica building in Charlotte.
Besides his major fresco work, Long has had works in the Royal Academy as well as the Royal Portrait Society. He has exhibited in Florence, London, Paris, Atlanta, San Francisco, and North Carolina, and is represented in major collections in Europe and North and South America. He has lived and worked in Europe for over thirty years and now divides his time between Europe and Asheville, North Carolina. He recently has founded the Fine Arts League of Asheville, a school designed for the needs of the classically trained artist.

In addition to his fresco painting, he also continues to maintain a thriving career as a portrait painter, whose subjects have included such prominent individuals as former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt, former Bank of America CEO Hugh L. McColl, Jr. and former UNC System President C.D. Spangler.

His many works, created in churches and public buildings throughout the world, have garnered immense praise and recognition.

Now Who wouldn’t want a piece of his artwork?!

We traveled on into Boone, North Carolina were we ate at Paoluccini’s Italian Grill for dinner… Chicken Marsalla, garlic potatoes, and a glass of Villa Puccini Tuscan Red along with Tiramisu for myself.. Eggplant Parmesean, garlic potatoes, and Creme Brûlée’ for Thomas …. Yummy!!!!
What an enjoyable adventure Jesus gave us today! Since we couldn’t go to Italy just yet 😉 Jesus directed us to a small piece of Italy right near home!
I Always Love the adventures Thomas and I go on, we grow closer together, deeper in love, and anticipate our next adventure together!!!!
Arrivederci and Grazia di Dio a Voi,

— Mia Bella 🙂




Frangipani Coat of Arms








Click the arrow to hear the narration from St. Mary’s church

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Click the Arrow to Hear the narration From Holy Trinity Church

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