Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Strada dei Vino Cameria

Such a gorgeous bunch of grapes.
I stopped at a winery this morning on my way to Montefalco.
It's somewhere bewteen Bettona and Bevagna
along the Strada dei Vino Cameria.
I dropped Susie off at the fabricca and decided to just take my time driving to Montefalco. I said to myself, today is thhe day that I will stop at the Etruscan Tomb, at the foot of the village of Bettona. Bettona has a gorgeous silhouette, but I haven't got a photo of it yetl. That is a goal for me. Maybe tomorrow.
The tomb sits right on a curve in the road, and is always upon me before I know it. But today, I slowed down and stopped on the side of the road.
Here is the entrance, which was locked.
There were also quite a few cobwebs between the grating. But I stuck my camera through the holes, and here is what was inside.

Stone sarcophagi. Emptied of their contents.
And 'loosely translated', it seemed that all the gold and silver
was taken to the museums in Perugia and Bettona.

Bavagna was the next landmark village on the roundabouts.
Susie had taken me there our first day here.

I didn't drive up and into Bevagna, just around it. Below was a flat valley with lovely farms, each and every view was paintable. The morning sun is relentlessly bright and my eyes always feel a bit fried.

I fell in love with this farm, which doesn't look like much here. I intend to paint this someday from a photo. I did contemplate painting it from life, but the road was a fairly busy one, and I was pulled off in a precarious place to take some photos, and also made a rather quick sketch in my book.

Not far from there was the entrance to a winery.
One can see these trees all lined up for a long time before making the turn to get to this entrance. I drove up, having already pre-decided to buy a bottle of Umbrian wine.

I tasted three red wines from Umbria. The strong blackberry-flavored wine, Sagrentino, was the most unique and tasted the best. The woman said, "forte". It is forte, and the only place in the wrold the frapes are grown is in Montefalco.

I paid 17.50 Euros for the bottle and went on my merry way.

As I pulled away I saw was greeted with a view
that I think everyone feels they will see in Italy.
It was lovely in the morning sun.
I continued to climb higher and higher past outstanding views
of farms, olive groves and fields of vines.

I arrived in Montefalco about 10:30 am.
I parked in the large parking lot just outside of town, and walked up and in through the wall. Not too far up the road was a church on the left. I went in.

More gorgeous statues, and frescos.
I really liked these small frescos, each about 8 x 10" in size.
What fresh and wonderful color in these angels.
And I love the look of dread on the face of the guy with the hat!
And who went around hacking of the face of Christ!?
There were three reasons that I decided to visit Montefalco, the local wine, the Museo di San Francesco (used to be a church), with a 6 Euro entrance fee, to see the 'sumptuous fresco cycle of Bennozo Gozzoli on the life of St. Francis' Rough Guide, and also one fresco by Perigino, among many others. No photos were allowed inside.

And the third reason was,
St. Clare, not the one from Assisi.

Just read what the Rough Guide has to say about Saint Clare,
and tell me that you wouldn't want to experience this!
'Probably the most bizarre sight is the mummified body of St Chiara, which languishes in the otherwise dismal church of the same name, five minutes walk from the San Francesco in via Verdi . . . ring the bell, and if the nuns are not deep in prayer, they may show you around the adjoining convent - a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at monastic life, where you can see the remains of the saint's heart and the scissors used to hack it out. The story goes that Christ appeared to Clare, saying the burden of carrying the cross was becoming too heavy; Clare replied she would help by carrying it in her heart. When she was opened up after her death, a cross-shaped piece of tissue was duly found on her heart. Other strange exhibits include three of her kidney stones and a tree that miraculously grew from a staff planted in the garden here by Christ, during one of his appearances to Clare; the berries are used to make rosaries and are said to have powerful medicianl qualities."

So, fortified during lunch with a little Sagrantino wine, I went in search of the church and St Chiara. It was easy enough to find.

Here is the church, and below a poster near the door.
There was information about two events that
took place earlier this month. DRATS!

I walked all around the sides of the church that were accessible, but no bell anywhere. There was this knocker and sign on the door.

and beside the sign, this knocker.

I knocked loudly, three times, but no reply.
I wasn't the only one disappointed, but I expect that the nuns are tired of the knocking.

I liked this little iron door in the wall. Just about 5 x 6 inches. Don't know exactly what might have been passed in and out of the convent through that little door, but I can tell you that there was a piece of crushed up paper stuffed behind it, most likely by some pesky tourist, or a cheeky teenager.

Susie wanted to know more about St. Clare, so I went online last night and did more research on her. Wikipedia has quite an article about her life, and there were numerous sites from the Catholic Church. Info is out there. I found one photo of a mural with Christ planted that cross in her heart, and one picture of her heart in a reliquary.

But not to leave you disappointed, I am posting three photos of a mummified person that was in the first church I went into in this town. let me tell you, Umbria is not for the faint of heart. And Montefalco is home to more Saints than any other town in Italy!

I think I still prefer the burning ghats of Varanase.

I did go on to investigate the term 'incorrupt body', which is what they described St. Clare as having. That is another thing to investigate on your own, if you are interested. It's the state where the body doesn't decompose after death. No smell, and the flesh is pliable. Evidently, according to one article that I read, this state only happens to devout Catholics. The research is out there if you have a need to know.

The things you learn traveling!

I got very lost coming home yesterday. I just couldn't find the small sign that said Bavagna and drove around for way too long trying to get back. I did get this lovely view of Trevi, and a nicer way to end this entry.

1 comment:

Nancy Hawkins said...

Loved the virtual tour! It is likely the only visit I'll make to Italy. Your 27 dresses series is brilliant. n