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.