Thursday, April 9, 2009

Marzo Pazzo Redux

Gilberto's Town and Bruna's People

We arrive in Imola, a small city best known for its loud Speedway, and are met by Gilberto who brings us to his home in Castel del Rio, the lovely nearly perfect town in Romagna. Tomorrow we are to join "Bruna's people" on a field trip to a restored Benedictine monastery in Cesena,
and on to Forli for an exhibition of the sculpture of Canova. The trip was organized by the Universita' per Adulti di Lugo, where Gilberto teaches and Bruna serves as administrator.

The monastery, Santa Maria del Monte, was a fascinating combination of architectural periods and styles. But this is unremarkable in Italy. What did catch my attention was largely ignored by the tour: a series of amateurish pictures portraying the intentions of people in distress who were granted favors in response to vows (voti) made to Santa Maria.

The pictures portrayed astonishing scenes: a concentration camp, several car accidents with a victims on the side of the road, families with empty tables, and a scene of

aerial bombardment. In each of these was a small figure of the statue of the saint and sometimes a text, either of petition, thanks, or to ask for help in fulfilling the vow.

Of course, as in all things Italian, we all sat for a fantastic pranzo. (But I must confess that I could not get past a small taste of "trippa.")

H o r s e b a t h P r a n z o

In the Romagnolo countryside there is a district known Rossetta, and a smaller portion known as Bagnocavallo, which means literally "horsebath" and here Bruna treated us to anall day pranzo in an ancient stone farmhouse, surrounded by husband Giovanne's orchards of peach and plum in full blossom. Inside the fireplace and wood cookstove were blazing, while friends and family arrived, ate, and departed and arrived, ate and departed again.

I think the pictures tell the story of that magical
wonderful day with beautiful people, great food,
and lovely surroundings. Topped by a spectacular Romagnolo sunset.