Archive for June, 2010

The last of the coverage of the Corteo Storico of the Corpus Domini weekend in Orvieto. Here are some of the details of the costumes I was able to get as they passed by. Simply amazing and beautiful the range of skills represented in these costumes. If you ever have the chance to catch this event, it is well worth it!

Next time I'll get more pictures of the tights!

Shoe fringe

Breast plate

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Of the 400 plus people in the historic procession, a relatively small number were the knights and noblemen. There is a knight for each of the two dominant middle age families, there is a knight representing the guilds, and there are the noblemen representing guilds, city leaders, etc.

Most impressive are the costumes of the knights. All the costumes of all the parade participants are handcrafted gems. Many have silver and gold threads used in the embroidery – real silver and gold, each stitch tied off so that should it break, the entire thread would not unravel. The workmanship is art, and beautiful.

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The flags and banners that are part of Orvieto’s historic procession are simply beautiful. They are bright, colorful and full of the most interesting designs. Anyone looking for a design motif would find dozens of examples in the flags. What follows is a sampling.

If you are wanting more background on Corpus Domini and the events around it visit my June 2, June 3, June 4, June 5, June 9, and June 19.

Flag of the Elm neighborhood

Love that red!


I seem to have captured all the red ones!

Blue and gold is the Star neighborhood

Red and gold of the Castle neighborhood

Banners on the Palace of the People

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Our friend Alberto is very much into the medieval period. He has a ceramics shop where me makes many pieces from the medieval period. One thing he does is  square pieces one each for the symbol of the many different guilds in Orvieto during the middle ages. They are quite handsome.

The guilds were an important part of the political process at the time. Collectively they elected 7 people who were an instrumental part of the governing of the city.

The guilds have a prominent place in the parade. Each guild has its own flag. Collectively they make up one of the most colorful parts of the procession.

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A week or so ago I was chronicling the various Corpus Domini events. I resume again today with what will be a series of entries.

The Corteo Storico, historic procession, is simply stunning in its color, variety, pageantry, majesty. Our friend Alberto is one of the main knights and organizers of the procession. He directed us on where best to see the parade. We move to three different spots in the city as the parade progressed. That was possible because they spend over three hours in procession covering much of Orvieto. We captured them as they emerged from where they dressed and staged the parade. It took a full 30 minutes for everyone to pass us.

There are bugles, drums for many of the different units and the four city quadrants. There are fighters with various weapons. There are flags and banners for the different guilds. There are the noblemen, the knights, and a few women. Most of the women had gone in the parade the day before.

What follows are images of the variety of costumes seen. On future days I will cover the flags,  the guild flags, the Knights and nobles, and some of the incredible costume detail.

It is truly a beautiful event, and one important to the history of Orvieto. Enjoy!

Drummers for the Elm neighborhood

Drummers for the Elm neighborhood

"Ballistari" or crossbow

This is one of the “Giants”

The Cross neighborhood

Star neighborhood

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Not only do we like to eat on our trips, we absolutely love to take a cooking class. We work with exceptional chefs, who are not only great cooks, but superb teachers, and a lot of fun.

This class is with Velia DeAngelis and Maurizio De Mario. Velia has a wonderful champagne bar located behind the cathedral where she cooks up the most delectable food to complement the amazing champagnes and wines they have to offer. Maurizio is a pastry and dessert chef with a fabulous store in Orvieto that sits above Etruscan caves which he opens for tours. Velia and Maurizio work together on a TV cooking program. They are paired with an Italian celebrity and teach them how to cook. Both are entertainers at heart and had us laughing all night.

Maurizio gets us started with some bubbly.

We begin the pasta

Howard jumps in

Three pots brewing

An eggplant roll is assembled

Italians love their children. Here Maurizio's wife brings their darling baby to the cooking class. We all pause to enjoy the visitors.

The dough is now tagliatelle

Squash blossoms about to be deep fried

Ready to eat!

Singing cooks!

This group loved to sing! Say a word and it would lead to a song. So all night in addition to cooking, we were singing – a first for Velia and Maurizio they said. Off to bed fat and happy!

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As a person with limited artistic skills it is always wonderful to see how unbelievably talented and creative people are. Everyone arrived at our workshops this spring with varied skills and histories of painting and photography. Yet our remarkable teachers, Jan Phillips and Jane LaFazio, brought out the most incredible work from everyone.

Friday afternoon we gathered the work of our 19 students and put it together on tables and large boards. It was breathtaking. What was so wonderful for me is that through paint and photo, this amazing group of people captured so much of what makes Italy, and particularly Orvieto, such a magical place in which to spend a week.

I could be envious, but my talents lie elsewhere. So it was pure joy to see the talents of others manifested in such beautiful work. Thank you to Jane and Jan and all the souls who joined us in May. (There’s still more to come!)

A few of the hundreds of pictures taken

Some of the work of the painters

All assembled

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