Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Italy: 3 marzo 2013

Part of the reason I've been delaying posting these is due to indecision. I'm not going to slap all 286 pictures into the blog, but how do I want to organize the ones I choose to post?  When I go on vacation, I am obsessed with remembering everything in order, totally linearly.  I have no idea why I'm this way--it's disappointingly left-brained of me.  Inevitably I find that there are mini themes throughout my photos, and then I feel torn because I want to organize everything according to theme, regardless of date.  It's taken me weeks to decide, but I'm going to mix the two methods: I'll run through each day morning through night, and then I'll pick out my five favorite shrine photos from that day.  I have to limit it to five or things will get out of control--since I didn't take any pictures of these street decorations on my last trips, I took photos of every one I found on this trip. If I found them at night, we would re-find them the next day so I could take the photo.

I took the fewest amount of pictures on this first day, so here we go! (Andiamo!)

First things first: That list is Ron's TOTAL packing list.  Most of it is electronic items plus "passport" and "underwear."  My packing list is a Word table that uses two pages when printed out.
Something that really stuck out to me this time: All the different shades of peach and apricot that make up the exterior of most buildings.

I know I probably took this for the apricot color (mini theme), but this is a good example of how seamlessly the churches blend into the neighborhoods here.  They're mixed right in with the shops and the restaurants. It's sad when you pass a church like this several times throughout the week and the front gates are never open--it usually means that church isn't used for anything in the current moment.  This is tragic because there is no doubt that all  of these places are decorated like the most gorgeous Easter eggs inside.  The churches are the true gems of Italy.

Every street in the whole freakin city is cobblestone.  I wore flat riding boots all week, and I still tripped and twisted my feet around on them.  Many Roman women walk everywhere in heels, and they don't even waiver the tiniest bit. Impressive.  We saw city workers repairing a water main one day, and we saw that each cobblestone extends about a foot down into the ground.
We stopped in Italian "supermarkets" several times throughout the week.  Can you find something really disturbing about this baby food display? Look carefully. I actually didn't see it until I came home.

Setting sun on the buildings.  Love those flaky apricot walls and light blue shutters.  This makes me wistful because you can't find a scene like this anywhere in North America.

Shrine time--ok, a word about the shrines.  While I would never in this lifetime give up the religious freedom accorded to me by the U. S., I have to say that there is something beautiful and uplifting about walking through city streets and looking up to see a reflection of the divine staring right back at me ... in the street--not in a private building.  I often wonder if I would care about these decorations at all if I myself were not Catholic.  Devotion to the Blessed Mother is widespread in Italy--her image is everywhere.  I remember learning in one of my Italian classes that the poorest southern Italians typically had two pictures on their walls during the Depression: One of the Blessed Mother and one of FDR.  Our FDR--isn't that funny?  You don't see FDR anymore (Rome isn't in the south anyway), but Santa Maria's image prevails.  Every time I've returned from Italy, I've missed the shrines the most.

More trivia: Do you know why Santa Maria is traditionally depicted wearing blue?  Blue pigment was the rarest and most expensive back in the day (it was typically made from ground up lapis), and most artists considered it the only color/material worthy of decorating her image.

In the words of Marcie, "Be still my heart!"

I love how most are lit at night--I think the neighbors maintain them.

This one has lights set inside.  Look at the plastic crates behind the olive tree: Whoever maintains the shrine needs them to reach the flowers underneath.  I wish the neon "Alleluia" at the top still lit up.  And look at the medieval style stars that decorate the frame.  I'm pretty sure the green box under the flowers is a place for the devoted to leave requests and prayers for the Blessed Mother.
Next to the Pantheon.  Night ...
... Day.  Can you beat that sunlight?? No way.  It's almost like a swimming pool.

More tomorrow.


Laurie said...

I don't speak Italian... but I am pretty sure that is a picture of a HORSE (!) on the baby food!

Jo Harper said...

Yup! Apparently you can buy all kinds of fish and meat flavored baby foods in Italy. My Italian prof told us how Americans are viewed as big hypocritical babies because we eat all kinds of animals, but we're horrified at the thought of eating horses. Recently, I heard a news story that many bistros in France still serve horse meat in most cases when you order steak frites. They don't get why we care so much (as we chow down on our factory farm beef burger). What's weird to me is how cute the pony is on the food label.