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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Days you can only have in a small Italian town

photo by souci photo

Well, we have had another of them:

One day we went to look at a local archeological site, Colombarone, unusual even anywhere in Italy. It is history in layers, starting with a Roman villa of the 4th century, which lasted until the 6th century, then was squatted in as a ruin for a while. Then in about the 7th century, the foundations and building materials were re-used for a basilica, which fell into disuse about the 11th century, but were re-used again for a parish church in the 12th century, which also gradually fell into ruin, leaving behind what became a chiesola or little church, which led to the discovery and partial excavation of the site in the 18th century. Over the last 25 years the site has been excavated and researched extensively, and put on display under a canopy. We spent about an hour there, had a personal tour guide, and bought the kids' and the adults' books about the site. It can give you shivers, this stuff.

Then we had to rush to an appointment with a young local ceramicist, Annalisa Speziali, who wanted to teach the kids about ceramics by letting them glaze prepared bodies. Ceramics is one of the historical arts of this region, and as a way of life and art it is dying. They all enjoyed it so much, that she subsequently had them in to her shop to form a body each, which are now drying out, and which she will let them glaze, and then fire in her kiln. Before we leave, we plan to go see her laboratorio with its kiln, out in the country. I guess we will be packing a handful of ceramic pieces in our luggage to bring back. (Check out her props under Art Links, to the right)

THEN we had to rush to meet family friends, a star of the Rossini Opera Festival and his wife and daughter, who happen to be from Rochester. We became friends with them a couple of years ago when we overheard them speaking and recognized their American accents from our part of the world. We had aperitivi with them (Aperol spritzes, natch) at one of our mutual favourite local bars, the bar El Cid. The kids like it because they can bike around in the park, instead of sitting at a table. Sadly, it was not karaoke night, as we had all hoped to enjoy a bit of over-kill together. As it was, musically speaking, we had to content ourselves with the tenor's Bel Canto Concerto a few days later, about which more another day. Suffice it to say it was not a hardship. (See the link to tenor Gregory Kunde's home page under music links, to the right. Greg and his wife Linda are also active in music in Rochester. I have given the link to their chorale as well. We plan to make the trip to see them sing close to home, too. I guess we are joining the legion of fans who follow Greg around the world.)

Side note here: A couple of years ago, we met some family friends from home for a day in Florence (instead of meeting them at the park with our Starbucks coffee, as usual). Just before splitting up to go our separate ways, we decided to buy the kids t-shirts on the ponte vecchio. We chose a booth and stopped at it and started shopping. The guy in the booth recognized the Pesaro accents and asked. Why yes! We had come from Pesaro. He used to work there. Really? Where? At a bar near the Palla di Pomodoro (a really fabulous public sculpture in the park near the sea). Really? We hang around that area. Which one? The Bar El Cid! Well, we'll say hi to Ivan for you. Now that's a small town and a small world.

How places in the world offer such a smorgasbord of cultural options, so casually, so easily, so delightfully? The mix seems impossible for one life to encompass, let alone one day.

The marigold wonders nervously:
This is as valid as summer camp, right?


  1. >This is as valid as summer camp, right?
    Are you kidding?! Bug bites, bed-wetters and cult-like initiation versus archaeology, culture and aperitivi. I know where I'd rather be...

  2. Summer Camp/Italy is SO not a fair comparison! How can you say that???? Summer Camp is so DIFFERENT that any comparison would be totally VOID and strange. It doesn't matter if it's the same. It's VALID because you enjoy it!
    And I just wanted to let you know...RELAX. Just calm down. Don't be so nervous, marigold!