Thursday, March 2, 2017

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Alas not San Severino Marche

ceiling in the cathedral, Citta di Castello
As reported in earlier blog entries we have felt close to the unfolding events, following in the Macerata edition of Il Resto del Carlino the persistence of horrors inflicted, every week new shocks. We reached a decision that in the balance between not abandoning our hosts in Macerata and not getting in the way, plus the evidence that shocks are ongoing, we should not go there.

As a way from Vasanello to Forli we have booked from Thursday 16 to Monday 20 March in Citta di Castello.

On the way we will pass one night in the hills outside Arezzo in Chiassa Superiore.

For journeying to Chiassa Superiore we will almost certainly go via the Wednesday morning market in Vitorchiano, perhaps again for artichokes.

click here for information on the food
As one should everywhere I searched for 'mercati settimanali forli cesena' — to find what markets are on the Monday of our journey from Citta di Castello to Forli. And in this result we find there is a market in Galeata.

And then of course one must search for more information on Galeata on the web, the good news being that there is very little, unless one mistypes and gets Galatea.. One hopes to go places less known.

But then, from a page of the Slow Food Salone del Gusto I learn that there is in Galeata an interesting place to eat on market day: the Osteria La Camponara. It has to be open on market day, we will have to book.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

terrible conditions in the mountains

There is forecast for warmer days soon but Befana has delivered a double shock of weather and more earthquakes to Le Marche. We made bookings last August to stay in San Severino Marche (photo as header of this blog) for two months from now. None knew that the intervening months would produce such disruption to life, earthquakes August and October, now more, with terrible weather conditions for those displaced.. I read the local paper daily, we have a real sense of attachment and concern. Here from today's Il Resto. Even in adversity the language is poetry:

Earthquake: shocks without stop, the people are in the street. Fear at Macerata and in the whole province. Some schools evacuated to the coast. Earthquale and snow, the people of Macerata are on their knees. Photos...

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

and into culture!

We find that in Forli there will be an interesting exhibition of art deco 'Anni Ruggenti' - the roaring years - there are links from that page to other things to see nearby.

This a city more noted (and less visited) for its rationalist architecture. Being the big town next to the small town (Forlimpopoli) where Mussolini's mum lived, substantial investments were made in the 1930s in modern urban design and technology including the flight school where Mussolini's son attended. A complex background. But a real ongoing interest in the modern.

This offers a glimpse of the architecture and commentary on rationalism.

And here is a whole list of places of interest in Forli. See also my earlier blog entry on Forli.

In Mantova, we arrive just as the winter chamber music season at the Teatro Sociale is ending. We have booked for the last night performance by the Mantova Chamber Orchestra, 1 April. Online booking easy, pick up tickets with ID and receipt at the box office... unlike booking for the opera house in Rome. The program was not of extreme interest and they offered only to post tickets to us for forty euros. No thank you.

The Mantova Teatro Sociale is a lovely sized theatre a 300 metre walk from our apartment.


Here from youtube a nice little film from a performance in the theatre, pleasing to hear what they think of Mantova and audiences in this theatre.


In Rome, there seem to be a number of possible entertainments in the week before easter including Bach mass away over town from our apartment in the great Accademia di Santa Cecilia

We have opted for an event near our apartment, in the Great Hall (Aula Magna) of the University of Rome, a duo performance of violin and cello by two musicians, Brunello and Carmignola, whom I saw described somewhere as the Al Pacino and Robert de Niro of Italian music. They go on from Rome to perform together at a charity evening in Treviso, a rough googly translation about them and about that here. 

Violin and cello only, no orchestra, fascinating.  

For both Mantova and Rome, we booked using vivaticket as initially directed from the Teatro Sociale booking office person, Giulia, and that led us to Rome options.

In Rome, in Monti, we may well be able to follow the sound of music down the street. ... Of course we did that in Guanajuato two years ago to find our ancient front door refused to open again... a good case for ensuring you don't go out with absolutely nothing in pocket and with your basic travel info at a cloud location. We had the coins for an internet cafe, found the document with the manager's number, parked at google drive, we rang the manager, she got us a hotel room for the night and a locksmith in the morning... all was not lost.)

Here is an old photo of the Aula Magna, from the web. This is about 2km from our apartment. 


Thursday, January 5, 2017

La Befana

from the Urban Dictionary
In Christian belief the 'epiphany' as celebrated on 6 January or adjacent Sunday marks the date on which Jesus's status was stated to the Three Wise Men.

In Italy, it is referred to in everyday language as La Befana, easily seen as a pronunciation of the Greek 'epiphany'.

The wider use of epiphany is as in the text box screenshot from the Urban Dictionary.

La Befana in Italy entangles with folk legend in that Befana is there held to be a woman who failed to respond promptly to the request of the wise men to chip in some gifts and follow the campaign trail. Realising her folly, discovering the guys had gone ahead, Befana assumed a role of rushing about, dusty from chimney arrival-departure, giving children gifts (on the goodness-wickedness scale) on the night before the day celebrated as Befana. Wikipedia has a nice account of this. As does a Canadian Italian organisation from which this image is drawn. In this way, Italians have had a female figure like Father Christmas for a long time, arriving this far after Christmas. Babbo Natale is just a kid, having entered Italian minds in the post war period. These days of course the Wise Guys would have registered a tax exempt charitable fund, I suppose. But Befana is not real, whereas charitable organisations should be.

This year Befana brings arctic winds from the east, finally harsh winter and snow in and extending from the Appenines, as seen in this shot from a weather forecast page.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Train from Mantova to Rome

The new Trenitalia timetable dropped the direct Mantova–Roma Termini Frecciargento high speed train. Replacing it with slow regional options to Bologna or Milan to connect with the mainline Frecciarossa services.

Italo Treno, the private competitor on just a few lines offers better than Trenitalia from Bologna to Rome on the day in question, Friday 7 April.

So we will travel regionale  to Bologna, as at left (the price is for two). Then we will leave our bags safely at the station and briefly visit downtown Bologna before taking Italo to Rome. I bought two of the low cost first class (Prima) seats on advice of the Man in Seat 61, because there is
in each carriage, one set up with two seats facing each other across a table. Replacing arguments about window seat with arguments about riding forward or riding backwards. I think if you get the facing forward seat you have clear obligation to be the one to say 'look at that' and point, because at 250km/hr there's not much point in the person looking backwards saying 'look at that'.

This is the wonderful Man in Seat 61 [link] and this below is a screenshot of the two-to-a-table arrangement he recommends.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Referendum and Renzi context.

A referendum to amend the Italian constitution was lost on Sunday and the young prime minister Matteo Renzi who had, unlike all before him, gotten reform that far, resigned in the face of dinosaurs on all sides wanting him gone.

There is an excellent review of the situation here, by the Australian born, Italian citizen, head of the Brussels managing editor of MLex, James Panichi.

The Italian constitution vests significant powers in the president and President Mattarella is a very experienced politician who entered politics when his brother, at the time President of Sicily was assassinated by the mafia. Asked then to clean up the Sicilian branch of the Christian Democratic Party (DC). He was a member of the left in the DC, a concept difficult for those coming from countries where a catholic party would be expected to be deeply conservative. But the Democristiani were working in a different kind of world, where it as the confessional party contained within itself everyone from monarchists, fascists, conservatives to socialists and anarchists. The old DC regularly securing 40% of the vote to the Communist Party's 30%. Mattarella's faction favoured the 'apertura alla sinistra', opening to the left, and dealing with the communist party.  He seems held in warm regard. He has told Renzi to stay in his seat and sort out budget and electoral laws. Mattarella is not rolling over for the right and populists calling for an election straight away.


For non-Australians seeking the meaning of the "Renzi’s Keatingesque strut" this is a reference to the wonder-modernist spit-on-fools former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, who also took on too many people at once, including a conservative electorate.