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Archive for September, 2015

Crisp Orvieto Morning

Fall is here, and it is bright and beautiful here. Pics from this morning.

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The mosaics were uncommonly flat

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Beautiful detail

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How Things Work

One of the things I love about being in medieval era towns is seeing how things work in their medieval streets. There is a building on a street about 10 feet wide that is getting a complete facade redo. It is 4 stories tall. They put in a crane, which arrived in pieces, in a piazza 50 feet from the building. It was the only place the crane would fit and its boom is long enough to reach all of the building being refaced.

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The tight fit on the street for the truck bringing a piece of the crane in

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The truck in the piazza preparing to unload the piece

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Truck with boom putting the crane together

Below is a picture of the scaffolding on the facade of the Duomo with the elevator taking people up to do restoration work.

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The following are from Lecce.

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Cleaning the street with a broom and dustpan, getting around with this little vehicle. Later we saw three women systematically sweeping up a street this way. Lecce is incredibly clean.

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The streets are a whiteish limestone and here they are scrubbing it. They were all over town doing this!

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Pastry delivery vehicle for the cafe we frequented

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And finally a vendor delivering his fruit and vegetables with this “ape”, complete with contents on the roof. Just love how creative this all is!!

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Lecce – The End

Back in Orvieto, we truly enjoyed Lecce. It’s stone is a beautiful color, the town is clean, it is a nice scale. Here are some final pictures of the city.

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The cathedral's break tower

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The cathedral and the piazza it sits on

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Over the back door of the cathedral

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Back side of the Roman coliseum

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The Roman amphitheater still in use

And the beautiful light on the buildings

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Caffe Alvino – an old world treasure.

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A buttery, warm pastry with jelly in it.

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And a final shot that only begins to capture the color, the softness, the beauty, and the delightful detail of the Lecce stone.

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Baroque Revisited

Having been duly chastised by Jean about my critique of Baroque, and having been here long enough to truly BE in Lecce I revisited Santa Croce. The quantity of detail in these Baroque pieces and the sheer number of them is overwhelming. But if you narrow your field of view and begin to take it in it can be quite stunning.

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So, I stand a fan. Lecce’s stone is soft and thus accommodated well all the Baroque. One of its biggest exports is stone because it is so carvable. One problem is that stone exposed to the elements does deteriorate.

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One last view of Lecce to come and then back home to Orvieto!!

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Layers of Seriously Old

Sometimes the depth of the history in this country astounds me. It is there in Orvieto every day, but is so part of the scene to me anymore that I forget to marvel at it. In a new place I am once again reawakened. The depth at the Faggiano Archeological Museum both historically and literally is amazing.

The owner had a rental apartment with a blocked sewer. The repair led to the uncovering of 2000 years of history over the last 20 years. He’s found silos, cisterns, granary, tombs, secret passageways extending from the third floor of his apartment to about 20 feet below ground.

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Here I am at the bottom of a cistern about 20 feet underground. The shaft at left was where a bucket on a rope was lowered to get water.

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Looking down into the cistern from the ground floor.

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The third floor access to the same cistern. Beautiful isn’t it?

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Room full of artifacts discovered on site

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This is the tomb of a baby. He also discovered a “dead drier” – a place where deceased nuns in the convent occupying the place at one point would be mummified. Yow!

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How beautiful the construction. That is a drain pipe going through the wall to the right of the door.

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This is the third floor giving you an idea of the size of the place.

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These stairs go up to the tower above the third floor. Well worn!

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Fireplace, and you can see circles in the ceiling. These are 16th century earthenware jars used in ceiling construction. The practice made for a lighter ceiling and also provided insulation. This technique was first developed by the Romans.

Just an incredible place all done by a private individual who made the discovery and has been pursuing it for years.

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We took a day trip to Gallipoli today, a fortress town on the Ionian Sea. As we boarded the train in Lecce, the originating town, and at the first two stops in Lecce numerous Africans boarded carrying large bags or packs. At the ensuing 8 or so stops along the way to Gallipoli, several would get off the train. Clearly, they were getting off at the various towns to sell their wares.

On the way to the train station we walked by the Italian immigration office where dozens of Africans and Middle Easterners were lined up and gathered. Here we saw first hand what we have read about in the U.S. of the thousands of immigrants fleeing desperate situations at home.

It reminds me once again of the value of travel. It helps us see how incredibly fortunate we are amongst all the people on this planet. It also let me see how the Africans on the train were a community, greeting each other and talking the entire time they were on the train. Too, they were not unhappy as best I could tell.

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Countryside is full of stones, stone walls and olive trees

The second revelation of the day is what the difference is to visit a place and to BE in a place. I am not a good tourist. I don’t like going to visit a place, to see the sights and sites. It is too fast, too shallow, even when seeing incredible things. I want to BE there, to know a place, to feel it, to experience it, to live it. And I just can’t do that in a day. It is why our Adventure in Italy trips consist of staying in Orvieto for a week. People traveling with us are there fully, and for me it makes all the difference in the world.

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Though a tourist destination Gallipoli is very much a working town, a fishing town.

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And it has the feel of the Mediterranean coast town it is.

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The Duomo is Baroque on the outside but dominated by paintings inside. It had lots of layers and contrasts to attract my eye.

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Happy to be back in Lecce which, having been here for four days now, we are getting to know!!

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The Color of Lecce

The color of the stone and buildings here is beautiful. We’re both having trouble describing it. Kristi is calling it vanilla. For me it is more of a golden light honey. And I am having a hard time capturing it with my camera. For whatever reason the pictures don’t convey the softness of the color, even those taken in evening light. Oh well. This is the best I can do.

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The one above shows a storefront and the terrace of the apartment above we are staying in. Such a great space and location.

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