Though I have visited Italy often, before 2007 I had never been to Mantua, the city of Isabella D'Este and the Gonzaga family. When I was going to the Italia Invita Forum in 2007, a kind lady who I only knew "virtually" that is, through online communication, invited me to stay a few days with her and her family in Mantua. As I was taking my daughter on her first trip to Italy, I wanted to show her places that I knew and loved, but I had always wanted to visit Mantua and so, not knowing what to expect, we arrived one hot afternoon by train in Verona where we were picked up, shown around central Verona and then whisked off to Mantua (about an hour's drive). It was fantastic. A smaller city surrounded by three man-made lakes, no throngs of tourists... I highly recommend it.
Of course our host did needlework, that was how I'd met her online and during my stay she showed me many of her ambitious and beautiful embroideries. Particularly outstanding was a set of numerous curtains which covered the windows on one wall of her living room. Done in Punto Antico embroidery, there were literally hundreds of Bullion Knots! I marveled at them (probably with my mouth hanging open) and was so awed that it never occurred to me to take a photo.
Then next time I went to Italy, I stayed my first few days in Mantua once again to visit my friend. This time I was armed with my camera and determined to capture those Bullions on film. I'm sorry to say that the photos did not turn out. If memory serves me correctly, this is pretty close to how they looked (that is: the open part with the Bullions - eight per cluster!), and there were more than one of these motifs on each curtain.
Photo from Il Punto Antico, Book 1 by Bruna Gubbini:
All was not lost however, the pictures that I took of her tablecloth done in Punto Antico turned out and she has graciously granted me permission to show them to you:
Click on the photos for a closer look, there are lots of Bullion Knots (Punto Vapore in Italian) here as well!