Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Small Church, Big View

 One of our regular morning walks takes us from Panicale to Paciano, a nearby village. We have enjoyed (well, struggled along the ups and downs of the road, cursing the entire way... ) this walk for many years now, and I feel as though I know each and every turn, pullout, view, etc.
  It wasn't until last year, though, that we took an up close and personal look at the little church and convent about halfway along the walk. On that visit, we were escorted through by the caretaker.

  On this trip, we found the doors open when we visited, and just walked about on our own.

  This big white building that you see from the road is now apartments, and must have been the convent, I think. Now I think it's for the caretakers of the property.
  There is a small sign that indicates an historical sight.

  You have to go down the short dirt road, past the big cross….

It's said that the indents in the stone at the base of the cross
are from nuns kneeling and praying here.

  As you come around a corner at the bottom of the road, you see that there really is a small church here.
  It's not always open, but there is someone around most days who will open it for you to see. On this day, the doors were open, so we just went right in.

A very simple entrance.

Beautiful inner doors...

Small, but lots of impact.

  I have looked this place up, and can't find much information, other than that it was a convent and one of the oldest houses in the area. Here is what it says online:

the Church of San Salvatore in Ceraseto, which is believed to have been built on the ruins of a pagan temple and features a fresco of the artist Caporali;


The Santissimo Salvatore is one of the oldest surviving churches in Paciano. It is believed to be one of the oldest churches in the entire area, and perhaps Paciano’s first church. A glass panel in the floor next to the altar allows visitors to see what is held to be the remains of a pre-Christian temple, suggesting the church may have been built on the site of an even more ancient place of worship.

  We were both pretty amazed at just how ornate this tiny gem is.  

There are two very 'old school' confessionals.
I spent many a Saturday doing time in something like this.

Plenty of flying babies.

  The main fresco behind the alter was painted by Giovanni Battista Caporali, and it is in 'ok' condition. An impressive artwork for this very off the beaten track place.


  There are only a few pews, and I'm not sure if they even hold services of any kind here.
  Again, it's hard to find information about this one.
  But I would say it's worth a visit, if you are in the area and find the doors open...

  Oh, and the view….you can't beat a small church with a big view….

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Climb Every Tower!

  Yeah, I've climbed some tall stuff….

That big one in Paris...

The dome in Florence….

This beauty in Siena...

…. San Gimignano…..

Waaayyyyyy up there….
In Castiglione d'Orcia...

Rocca d'Orcia.

…..But….the one I really hoped to tackle this year was the one in Radicofani. 

  For over a decade now, we have driven roads going here or there, and I would see it. Way over there, on the very tip-top of that hill….just mocking me.

"Bet you'll never get over here and climb me….Chicken.


Well, the last laughs on you, Rocca di Radicofani!

I'm gonna climb you…and I'll like it!

Let me just say, Johnny is a trooper.
What he has to put up with….oy.

  Beautiful, clear day. Not too windy. Perfect for big views.

Gulp. What was I thinking?

Too late to turn back now.

  It's pretty basic. 
  Up, up, up…then very narrow stairwell, then you get hit with blasts of wind because you are at the tippy-top of the world!

We had it all to ourselves.

We started way down there…..

Killer views.
 I could see both Lago Trasimeno and Lago Bolsena!
Daniele told us later that night that you can see the dome of St. Peter's
on a really clear day…with binoculars.

  (A quick aside….You would never see a place like this, without fencing, ugly plastic barriers, etc. in the States….Anyone can just hop up and over, if they want. 
  Here, it is assumed you will be responsible for yourself, as well as your kiddies, pets and trash.
  Most refreshing to be treated as an actual thinking adult.)

Yes I did.
I rule.

Put this one down as DONE.
I'm ready for the next challenge, baby!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Let's Get Spontaneous!

  Now that Johnny has finished working, we have some time to go out and do 'nothing'…Fa niente.

  Yesterday, we had to pick up a couple of items for the apartment, and afterwards we just started driving around Lago Trasimeno, with no intention but to enjoy the ride.

  The day was nice, with perfect clouds and just enough warm sunshine. 
  First unexpected stop…"Campo del Sole", a sculpture garden on the banks of the lake near Tuoro.

  We had driven here once before, a few years ago, but the weather was too nasty to get out and really walk around. It's an interesting scene, and we were glad we stopped on such a nice day.
  The works are by several different contemporary artists, mostly Italian. The project was done in the 80's….
  You can read more about it here.

Very Italian.

    We relaxed with our books and an Aperol Spritz, soaking in the sunshine just enough to really feel like we were on vacation.
  Then we saw the boat coming….

  It was still early in the day, we had nothing to do until later that night, so why not take a spontaneous trip out to Isola Maggiore for lunch and a walk-about?
  This was on our 'to-do' wish list anyway…..so….

Love the boat ride to the islands…From Tuoro, it's only ten minutes.

The lake was so glassy!

The tiny village on Isola Maggiore.
St. Francis hung out here, naturally.

  Once off the boat, first stop was 'Da Sauro' for lunch in the lakeside garden...

Wisteria-clad entrance to the garden area at
da Sauro...

  A simple meal, shared…pasta with mushrooms and caprese salad. Washed down slowly with some good Umbrian white….certo.

We wanted something lighter than usual, as we had dinner plans later…
This was just right.

  After finishing our lunch, we sipped the last of our wine kicking back right near the lakeshore.
  Now it was time for a little hike around the island.

Paths run along the shore, then up the hill….

View from the path.

  We were in total relax mode, so we took it slow, and I enjoyed taking random photos along the way….

Local fisherman.
Love his look.

Wisteria just beginning to fade.


Old garden gate I'd never noticed before.

The banksia roses are in massive bloom  all over.

Local color.

I'm rather proud of this shot…

  Before hopping back on the boat to the 'mainland', Johnny needed to have his annual visit to the small but beautiful "Chiesa del Buon Gesù", right in the middle of town.

With only a few rows of pews,
this tiny church packs a lovely punch.

We always spend a few quiet minutes here.

Worth a peek, definitely.

  Time to get going. Fortunately, we only had to wait about half an hour for the next boat back.
  Sigh. Nice day to be spontaneous!

  Plus, I think this was the first time on the island that Mr. J wasn't working. Sweet! No boxes and bags of painting equipment to haul around. 

  Good for you, Baby.

Artist at rest.

Artist's happy mate.

Hope it wasn't the last boat ride this year…..