Yesterday was fun. We followed a tour in one of our guide books that led us on the path to several churches in the area. Some little tiny chapels, others large and cavernous. One in particular, San Francesco del Prato appears almost completely restored on the outside - beautiful white and pink stone from Assisi with marble detail and soaring to great heights. The workers outside told us it was Chiusi (closed) but we wandered around outside anyway, trying to peak through the scaffolding when they motioned us inside the gate and allowed us to see inside the church. What we saw amazed us! The sky is visible through the roof and inside is completely destroyed and empty. You can make out some details but mostly there is nothing inside and we wondered if there ever would be. It will be starting from scratch really and I can't imagine how much work it will take to remake the inside.
I have been doing a bit of painting finally. These past few sunny days I have been carrying around my journal and little watercolor kit and made a few entries there. Once we get our laptop back we'll try to post some of them for you to see. I need to get my confidence back as it was quite a while not painting while we were on the road and I feel rusty. One of the places I painted was the Tempi di Michele Arcangelo. Michael the Archangel is a pretty popular figure here, with this 5th century church (in the round, it is a very impressive chapel) and one of the city gates (the Porta Sant'Angelo) and the area around it by the same name. There is a beautiful expanse of grass in front of it and there were a few small groups of young people sprawled here and there enjoying the lovely day, while I painted away and Bob read his book and wandered off to find us a little snack.
Last night we decided to eat out. We've been cooking at home every night and think we might eat out once a week if we can afford it. We tried a little place not far from our apartment and it was lovely! The food was really good - I had penne and Bob had the lemon chicken - we shared a liter of wine (too much wine for us and we were pretty sauced) and shared a fruit pastry before heading off into the night for a stroll down to Piazza Italia to see the view. The way the centro is situated, our area around Porta Sole is at one end, you descend into Piazza Dante and Piazza IV Novembre, where the Fontanna is, and down the Corso Vannucci - the glamorous shopping street that is the place where everyone walks (passaggiata). At the opposite end of the Corso Vannucci is Piazza Italia. Here there is a garden where Victorio Emmanuele's statue is and beyond that, the view over the other side of the city. At night it is spectacular with the lights below sparkling and usually you find lovers smooching there.
As we started walking, we heard the sounds of live music and saw that there was a gathering around the stage at the far end of Corso Vannucci and it was filled with students dressed in these costumes that consisted of pointed hats like Robin Hood covered with all sorts of buttons and pins with things hanging off the back even and wearing capes with various insignia on them. We found out as much as we could understand that these were high school students who had finished their studies and were heading off to University (I think!) and that each group had it's own colors and symbols to indentify them. They come from all over the region (one group told me they were from Pisa). The singing went from songs by The Doors and U2 to old childhood songs that these kids were singing along with. There was dancing - the arm in arm round and round kind of stuff (we even got into some of that!) and forming of long lines of dancers, like a conga line weaving through the crowd. There was such a feeling of fun and happiness in this crowd we stayed on until we were just too tired to watch and then strolled on home and up the hill to bed.
Today it's raining and we are catching up on email and writing in the blog. We hope you are all well. We miss you all and hope life is going well for each and every one of you.
Rosemary & Bob