Narni, Saturday, September 22
We’ve done our marketing at the weekly, outdoor market in the parking lot below our apartment and have checked out the preparations for the “L’Anello di San Michele,” a big-deal, reenactment of some medieval “days of the warriors” thing that will be taking place later today and all day tomorrow. I decided that this would be a good time to catch up on my blogging.
As the title indicates, the subjects of this post are varied; just a few observations about our time in Narni.
My first observation: The city museum (Musio Civico in the Palazzo Eroli) is definitely worth the price of admission. The first floor has a mish-mash of archeological bits and pieces and was of some, but not overwhelming, interest. However, the second floor, which houses the art gallery, held a real treasure: The Pala del Ghirlandaio, which is a beautiful painting of the coronation of the Virgin. It is in a special, climate controlled room along with another lovely painting, The Annunciation, by Benozzo Gozzoli. The way the Ghirlandaio is displayed is particularly effective. There are special lighting effects that mimic how the sun would have hit the painting at different times during the day when the painting was hung in the church for which it was commissioned. The young woman who worked the lights and explained the symbolism of the painting was particularly good. The four of us were the only people there and were able to ask questions and for clarifications. By the time we left, we all felt as if we had attended a crash course in fifthteenth century art appreciation. Now, we all know what to look for in those types of religious paintings.
My newfound knowledge came in very handy just this morning when I poked my nose into the twelfth century Chiesa Santa Maria Impensole. Because these little churches are little visited, when one goes in, one can walk right up to all the fresco fragments and really get a close look.
One fragment really captured my attention and I have included it here for you to contemplate. Look at his expression; does he look smart? Now, look at hers; does she look happy? Note her finger pointing discretely at him. I, for one, think that under his robe he is wearing one of those t-shirts that says “stupid” and she, ever so subtly, is disclaiming any responsibility for anything except that she is, sadly, with him.
My second observation: It doesn’t take long to become a regular. The boys went to the pizza place in Terni on Thursday, which was Dave’s last opportunity to do so. It is reported that the girls were disconsolate. They were able to put a game face on for the photo, but, as one can tell, the smiles were only skin deep.
My third observation: It’s amazing what you learn about people when you spend a couple of weeks sharing wine and stories with them. For example, Michael and Claire discovered that they shared childhood experiences in raising rabbits. Although Claire was only responsible for feeding the family bunnies, Michael was in charge from pre-cradle to packaged-for-sale. Michael’s more comprehensive experience led to some interesting reminiscences on rabbit husbandry, which were accompanied by some very amusing visuals, which, sadly, did not make it onto film. If you are ever with Michael when he has had a bit too much wine, you might ask him to do his impression of Buck, the bunny. Believe me, it, too, is worth the price of admission.