A window into the life of a professional geek, wife and mother (and nonni), stitcher/designer, bibliophile, old-school gamer, and whatever other roles she finds herself in.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Deja vu of sorts (5/8)

Since neither defrosting my freezer nor my code review are of particular interest to anyone, I'll just cut to the chase!

Italy - part 5 of 8
28 May 2004 - Il Borghetto
Yesterday was a fairly light day - we didn't leave the house until after noon. We drove up to Montecastillo di Vibio, a small walled town. It had a nice little church, and a park outside the walls. From there we drove to Orvieto and spent most of the afternoon there.

We actually got to go inside the cathedral this time around. The interior on first impression seems fairly simple, with the same black and white layers of stone as the exterior. Closer inspection reveals the remains of frescoes in all of the side alcoves. The north side windows were half stained glass, with the bottom half a yellowish brown material which the guidebook says is translucent alabaster. The south windows, at least in the main part of the church, are all alabaster. There is a pretty large and impressive baptismal font toward the back.

The high altar is richly decorated with frescoes and a large, detailed stained glass window. These were all pretty well preserved, and the effect was rather striking. I noticed an area for a choir, and G noticed sconces on the walls high above - seeing the high altar area in full candelight must be a very moving experience.

To the left as you face the altar, there is a set of pipes above the transept for the organ, and the pipes are surrounded by what appears to be carved and painted wood. Passing under the pipes northward, one arrives at the Chapel of the Corporal, which contains the altar cloth from the Miracle of Bolsena in 1263. The whole cathedral was built to house this relic, actually, and this side chapel contains an elaborate enameled silver reliquary to display the corporal. This chapel also contains frescoes, mostly of the Miracle, which were somewhat faded. I confess I paid most of my attention to the corporal itself. I was surprised to find it on display, and I was deeply moved just to be in its presence.

Outside of the chapel, in the part of the transept under the organ, was a Pieta that I really liked.

There was another chapel at the south end of the transept that was ornately gilt and frescoed, but there was an admission charge so we didn't go in.

After Il Duomo, we went into an Etruscan museum across the square. It's definitely a lot different seeing the figurines and pottery in person instead of viewing a photograph in a history book! After the museum we stopped in another small church, then at a spaghetteria for lunch. I had spaghetti with butter and sage, which was very good. Then a little bit of shopping (I got some dried kiwi, which was actually pretty good), a quick stop in Todi for pictures of S. Maria della Consolazione, and back to the villa. L and H made chicken piccata, which was excellent.

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