Sunday, August 28, 2011

Torgiano Adventures

I am sitting in Susie's room, at her desk,
drinking my last glass of:
'Aglianico del Vulture'
Denominazione di Origine Controllata
Cantina di Venosa
Venosa - Italia

I bought this bottle at the Deruta grocery.
It was a toss up between a rosso wine called Violet 2011,
or this 2007 'Vulture'.

Of course, Vulture won hands down,
but I haven't forgotten the Violet.

What to write about this evening?
The trip to Firenze - we didn't go into Firenze,
been there, and had a mission to go on,
someone to meet.

No, not tonight, even though
we did stop in Cortona on the way home.

I have no photos downloaded from yesterday, and no photos downloaded from today, so I will post photos that I like while I tell the story of today. And since I know that Audrey likes the coffee and pastry photos, Audrey, these are for you, from the same wonderful local shop with the apple pastry.

This outrageously wonderful cake had star fruit,
and berries and leaves.

Wouldn't you love to be able to whip out a
cake like this at a party?

And the espresso ristretto.
High test. No more than 2 tablespoons.

Today, Susie and I decided to go and paint. She didn't want to go far, and we decided to go to Torgiano, just north of Deruta. They have a great tower that we look over at each and every day, several times a day. Actually, they have two great towers. One is fortified and large, restored, or as the guide book mentions the Italians are doing, overly restored. It is impressive from the road, but I like my antiquities a little less restored.
The second tower is the campanile - the bell tower of the church.
Together, they make for a wonderful skyline.

Simonetta in the front and Laura and her fine Roman nose in the back. We were dicussing our respective ages and Simonetta was making the sad face over her age. That was until I told her my age. She looked at me hard and said, "Well preserved."

I realize that this entry will sound a little disjointed, but hey
'the Vulture' is in charge, I think.
Talk about your Vulture!
I took this photo in Assisi.They were having a medieval fair.
You know I wanted to buy one of these masks,
but I didn't even ask the price.

Now, back to today.
Susie said she could just paint a view that we passed of the village up on the hill, with the trees and vines below. She said I could drop her off. I turned the car around to look for parking. She said I could park on the side of the road, but I am not officially Italian yet, so I thought I'd park in the church lot across the street.

Turned out to be a great place cause we stood in the shadow of the church,
and there was shade the entire time from the church.
Of course in the first few mintues we were there, up pulls a car with an elderly man in it. He rattled away in Italian to me, and of course I had to confess to him that I had no idea what he was actually saying. Still, I figured he wanted to know what we were doing. Once we explained, in English, that we were painters, he gave us the green light to stay there and paint. He drove off. So you see, he doesn't need to speak English, and we don't need to speak Italian, and it works somehow.

From the church in the old town of Deruta.

Susie painted an 11 x 14" canvas, and I did an 8 x 10".
Of course the old guy had to come back. He had done the official thing in the car, and now he was coming to visit! And another old guy showed up as well. The man in the car was the custodian of the church. He talked away and away to me, and I just nodded and said "really" or "si" and he keeps talking.

He is telling me some history of the church, and takes me to the building itself to show me some graffiti where people have carved the age of the church. 1625. But carved there beside it is 1267.

Finally I say to him with my hands,
"You can show me inside the church?"
He says he can.

I figured he'd let us paint for a while. But he was back with the key quickly, along with his  daugher and granddaughters. She spoke great English, and we learned that the church is only open for special occasions now. Weddings for sure, as we saw lots of confetti, or sequins that they must throw at the couple as they come out of the church.

From the church in Old Deruta.

When the custodian opened the door to the church and spoke
with his resonant voice, I could already hear
the echoing of the sound inside.
It was a lovely church indeed.
chiesa SS. Crocifisco (sec. XVII)

For some reason, I stepped inside and just had to sing one note, just to hear it. My Father, many years ago was in the basilica in Pisa and said the guide sang a scale for them to hear the acoustics. Eight notes. Daddy said when the singer was on the last note, he could still hear the first note in the air high up in the space above him.
This acoustics in this church were very much like this.

I asked the daughter if it was alright if I sang a song. She misunderstood and started telling me something about the church. So, when she finished, I asked again. She said it was fine.
I was very nervous, but I sang three verses of Amazing Grace. I sang softly and very loudly, and it was wonderful to hear the sound in there. 

The custodian and Susie got out their cameras and phones and recorded it, and the church. I haven't seen or heard any of that, but it was a very special moment for me, and I think for everyone there. Oh to sing in a space like that!

We finished our paintings and went up into the village itself. We went into a little place for pizza, but no pizza today. Not enough traffic to warrant firing up the oven on a Sunday. So I had of all things, pasta, yet again. But this time, I got it with wild boar!

I have been wanting wild boar every since Jeff told me he had some in Tuscany two years ago. This one, Jeff, was in a red sauce, and quite good. The surprise for me was that the lady told me small noodles, and it turned out to be large hose-like noodles. About half the size of a manicotti, cooked al dente, and to perfection.

I was really tired after eating that.
Must be why they take a siesta.
I end tonight with a photo of the screaming kid in Assisi.
I hope that his Mother took him home and loved him.
Or, I hope that he kicked her all the way home
to teach her a lesson.

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