Friday, 26 August 2016

Ferro Battuto or Wrought Iron

Ferro battuto or wrought iron was one of the earliest forms of metal available for use. It was easy to form into shapes yet strong enough to be useful.
Wrought iron can be seen everywhere in Italy, from ancient horse tethering points and candle holders along the streets to balconies on palazzi to modern furniture and home fittings.
Traditional designs are still being produced by artisan tradesmen.

Some examples of new or reproduction wrought iron work.

Today we drove over to Sarteano in Tuscany ( o.k, so we drove 27 kilometres in search of different flavours of gelati! ) and I decided that I had been collecting wrought iron photos for long enough and this door knocker could finish off this post. I think I have done a door knocker collection previously but this very individual one looked just perfect to conclude my post on the ancient art of ferro battuto.

P.S. Today's new gelati flavours were whisky cream and cheesecake, and the total for this year, so far, is 48.

The last Mosaico Sonoro and the earthquake fundraiser

Last night was the last of eight free nights of music in the piazza, Mosaico Sonoro. These are financed by the local traders and businesses and the range of music this year has been quite wide. Last night's entertainment was a classical group named Liricamente.

The two photos below were taken by Aldo. 

Due to the sad news of the death and destruction caused by the earthquake, it was decided to make last night's event a fundraiser. You can see the collection box by the fountain. Panicale is only a small village but it is quite busy with tourists at present so combined it was good to read that 1070 euros ( about A$1650 ) was raised for the appeal.

The Treasure of San Sebastiano in Panicale

The Church of Saint Sebastian in Panicale has an art treasure on its walls; a large fresco by  the greatest Umbrian Renaissance painter Pietro Vannucci, known as Il Perugino. Entitled 'The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian', it was painted in 1505. San Sebastiano was a Roman soldier who was attacked by his former comrades after he converted to Christianity. He is always depicted in art with arrows in him, sometimes just one but often a large number. I love his serene look in this depiction .

Note the local landscape behind, Lago Trasimeno and the surrounding hills.

For the next eight weeks they have an extended collection on display entitled ' The Treasure of San Sebastiano' which includes other art, manuscripts and sacred furnishings and vestments from the church's archives.

A fresco from another of the old village churches has been lifted from the wall, restored and placed in San Sebastiano for preservation. It was thought to be another Il Perugino however more modern techniques and references have ascribed the work to Raphael, who was a student of Il Perugino. Entitled 'The Madonna Enthroned with Angels', the detail is extremely beautiful.

This tempura on board ' Adoration of the Magi'  is entirely different to the other works yet intriguingly worth a long look. The photo does not do it justice at all. It is a modern work, 1982-84, but unfortunately I cannot remember the artist.

The exhibition includes manuscripts, votives and a relic. Fascinating old stuff!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

An earthquake in Umbria

Another side to today (Wednesday 24 August) is the sad news that an earthquake over night has killed 159 people and left large numbers either homeless or with severe damage to their towns. This 6.2 magnitude earthquake centred on Norcia has caused severe damage to four villages but was felt as far away as Naples and Bologna. We are only about 90 kms direct line from Norcia and it was felt here in Panicale and Macchie.

I was woken during the night by a lot of movement and blamed Kelly, he later blamed me for tossing around. At 3.45 I got up and shut the outside door because I felt unaccountably uncomfortable.

This morning we discovered that an earthquake had rocked Umbria at 3.36am and that locals had run out of their houses as they knew what was happening. Being unaware of these things we learned about it from our many friends enquiring after us on Facebook, email and Skype. Thank you all for caring about our safety.

The loss of lives is very sad, as is the loss of communities. We have noticed that after previous earthquakes these ancient towns are often not repaired or able to be repaired.
Relocation must be a very unhappy option for many. 


Sadly the the death toll has risen, possibly as high as 237.

Tonight's music in the piazza, the last for the season, is to be a fundraiser for the village and people of Amatrice. I have often mentioned that Panicale is a designated Most Beautiful Village in Italy, and apparently Amatrice also had this designation. As an article on the web said, in two minutes it was all gone. Also of interest, amatriciana pasta sauce gets its name from the village of Amatrice and this coming week-end was to be their amatriciana festival.

From this morning's Corriere del Umbria - Earthquake deaths and damage fundraiser.

As always in tragic situations like this we see the good side of humanity. Rescue workers, blood donors, fundraising events, donations by nations, groups and individuals.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Lunch at Locanda Manfredi in Paciano

Today we had a superb lunch at Locanda Manfredi in Paciano, just over the hill from Panicale. The experience was one of perfect delight on a gorgeous day with wonderful views from the terrace, absolutely stunning food and a most generous and congenial host. A few moments with the chef and the resident dog added to the fun.

The menu is welcomingly smaller than many but includes quite original dishes so choosing was a satisfying experience.

These beautiful pasta dishes were so delicious, we could have gone away happy at that stage. Kelly had a semolina pasta stuffed with local purple potato, pecorino cheese and mint. My strozzapreti 'priest strangler' pasta with pesto, small potato pieces, green beans and pine nuts was beyond description gorgeous!

We followed the pasta with chianina beef with rocket, tomatoes and those gorgeous local purple potatoes again. Kelly had beef slices whereas as I had beef strips (as pictured).

This pattern on the table is the sun shining through the vino rosso glass.

A couple of contented retirees!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Back to the Oasi

We were hoping for better bird watching opportunities in the morning at the Oasi at San Savino but the wind was quite strong on the lake and there were very few birds about. The water level had fallen but not enough to allow us to go on the boardwalk. Still we had an enjoyable morning out.

Coming home we were able to stop to look at these sunflowers. Obviously a different breed to those mentioned yesterday as these are much shorter and in full flower now. It will be some weeks before they are harvested.