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Posts Tagged ‘Duomo di Orvieto’

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…And what a church it is! The Duomo (cathedral) of Orvieto is nothing less than breathtaking. Built by order of Pope Urban IV to house the Corpal of the Miracle of Bolsena, the Duomo broke ground in 1290 and was completed in 1591. The Gothic facade features a large rose window, golden mosaics and huge bronze doors. Inside the black and white basalt and travertine interiors you’ll find alabaster windows, ancient frescoes and, the ‘pièce de résistance’, the Chapel of the Madonna di San Brizio. This chapal contains one of the most important and beautiful Renaissance masterpieces in the world, “Judgement Day” by Luca Signorelli. Like! Share! Visit! 

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#‎31daysofOrvieto‬ ‪#‎orvietoorbust‬ ‪#‎Orvieto‬ ‪#‎duomoorvieto‬‪#‎Italytravel‬ ‪#‎iloveorvieto‬

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It began almost a year ago. A man was visiting a mutual friend of mine in Orvieto and took a picture of an elegant, solitary gentleman sitting on the bench across from the Duomo. Several months later the photographer wrote to ask if I knew the gentleman’s name or how to contact him. He thought the man and his family might like to have a copy of the portrait.

Although I’d passed him many times on the street, I didn’t know him personally. Naturally, I turned to social media for help, posting the above photo on my Facebook page with the following caption:

“This is a beautiful photo shot by a friend while visiting Orvieto last spring. I have seen this man around town but I’ve never formally met him. Does anyone know him? If so, perhaps he might like to see his portrait – it’s stunning.”

Responses poured in.

Signor Lollo (affectionately known simply as “Lollo”) was a beloved mathematics professor at the high school. They say he is sweet and gentle and that I might find him walking along la confaloniera (the promenade on the edge of town) in the mornings. In any other circumstance I might have staked out the confaloniera at dawn, bounding up to him in my overly perky American style, but in this instance I thought better of it. Something told me he was a private person and maybe a bit shy as well.

It wasn’t long before fate stepped-in and I found myself alone on the street with Lollo walking towards me. I politely stopped him and asked if I could show him something? He said yes, so I pulled up the photo on my iPhone. “Carina, la foto”, he said and told me he had remembered the day it was taken. I asked if he had email, but of course he doesn’t. Then he said “Grazie, Cara”, turned and went on his way.

I’d been carrying around the 5 x 7 print in my purse for weeks, waiting to see Lollo again. Finally I spotted him down on the Corso and after greetings were exchanged, I handed him the beautiful photograph and said it was his to keep. He seemed pleased and touched by the gift.

Nowadays, whenever Lollo and I run into each other on our walks, we always stop and have a little chat. We’ve even developed a “secret handshake”.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the connection it formed with a stranger that turned into an unlikely friendship is priceless.

Photograph by Win Sargent

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Finding Rome on the Map of LoveShortly after arriving in Italy, I accepted an invitation to a book signing and reading event in Rome.  When I learned of the book’s subject matter (a thirty-something woman who finds love with an Italian and moves to Rome) I thought, Oh no, not another fairy tale about coming to Italy, having an affair with Marcello Mastroianni and living happily ever after!  Needless to say I was skeptical.  Seriously, is there anyone out there who could bring freshness to this tired and overly saturated genre of storybook fantasies alla Three Coins in a Fountain, Under the Tuscan Sun and Eat, Pray, Love?  I know I sound jaded, but my expectations are low.

IMG_1262After a brief introduction author Estelle Jobson sat down on a cushion in the courtyard of The Beehive Hotel, opened her book, Finding Rome on the Map of Love, and began to read.  As I listened to her recount the stories, I noticed the corners of my mouth began to spontaneously turn upward.  Her elegant and proper South African accent was in sharp contrast to the wry, sardonic and sassy repartee.  Hey, this girl gets it!  When she finished I was a bit sad, but fortunately I’d purchased my very own autographed copy of the book and immediately cracked it open on the train back to Orvieto.

During the first couple of chapters, I was gulping down Estelle’s pages the way a typical American might eat their dinner: swallowing without taking time to taste.  Perhaps I’ve been in Italy long enough that a voice inside my head warned, “Don’t be in a hurry. Savor each flavor and texture.”  This book was just like a good Italian meal; I never wanted the literary feast to end. And when it did end, I felt warm and utterly satisfied.

IMG_1263Estelle Jobson is a talented writer who has a true gift for observation. She describes things that, as an expatriate, I’d experienced but was never able to fully articulate.  What appreciate most about Estelle’s storytelling is the way she doesn’t laugh at Italians, she laughs with them. Her book is filled with intelligent humor, compassion, and edgy insight. She’s sarcastic without being mean; clever without being pretentious; and emotional without being overly sentimental.  Estelle sees Italians the way they really are and reconfirms, at least for me, why I love living among them.

I’ll stay with the food analogy just a little bit longer. I really enjoyed chewing slowly on every single delicious “bite” of Finding Rome on the Map of Love. Her words were proprio buonissime! 

Enjoying my copy...

Enjoying my copy…

...in front of the...

…in front of the…

...Duomo di Orvieto.

…Duomo di Orvieto.

by Toni DeBella

You can contact the author at findingrome@gmail.com

Find her and her book on Facebook

ebook on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Rome-Map-Love-ebook/dp/B009HBLYYO/ 

Online extract here: http://italianintrigues.blogspot.ch/2012/10/the-socialization-of-italian-man.html

 

 

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