Showing posts with label Umbrians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Umbrians. Show all posts

December 15, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012 - ,, No comments

Getting to know Amelia (Terni) "Borghi d'Italia (Tv2000)

Here's a video, "Amelia (Terni) - Borghi d'Italia (Tv2000)" which shows the town's ancient walls, the archaeological museum, the medieval traditions, and features local residents, including the bronze statue of Germanicus.

Highlights include the double organ so designed that a priest and a cloistered nun could play the keyboards at the same time; the monsignor of the duomo dedicated to Saints Fermina and Olympiades; and the theatre of Amelia.  Of course, a story about this ancient town wouldn't be complete without a few shots of some of the retired men hanging outside the Porto Romano.  

May 9, 2012

Reuters: "Poussin among stolen art found in Corsica carpark"

Fesch Palais, Corsica
Reuters reported May 5th that the four paintings stolen from the Fesch museum in Corsica more than one year ago have been found parked in a car on the island.

An anonymous phone call alerted the police to the location of the paintings, according to Reuters.

Poussin's "Midas at the Source
 of the River Pactolus"
The four paintings include Nicolas Poussin's "Midas at the Source of the River Pactolus"; Giovanni Bellini's "Virgin and Child"; an anonymous Umbrian artist's "Virgin with Child in a glory of Seraphins"; and Mariotto di Nardo's "Pentecost".

You may read about the February 2011 theft here on the ARCA blog. The theft had been reported as two parts: first a security guard in financial trouble removed the paintings from the museum, then someone else lifted them from his car.

February 26, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011 - , No comments

Amelia, Umbria: "Ciao Ciao" to Giampiero Novelli

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, Editor

One of the reasons I miss Amelia has nothing to do with pizza, gelato or art crime: Giampiero Novelli. Since my first walk through the open shops of the medieval center of Amelia, I would greet the man standing in front of the shoe store. He had a friendly smile and a quick cheerful "Ciao Ciao" which he accompanied with a wave. After seeing him sell tickets to the wine tasting festival, helping out at the dining room of Punto Divino (and sometimes in the kitchen), and organizing the medieval festivities in August, I understood that not much happens in Amelia without Giampiero, his wife Paola, and his brother-in-law Luciano Rossi (proprietor of Punto Divino) and Luciano's wife Manuela.

Giampiero's English is better than my Italian, but I asked his niece, Francesca Rossi, our correspondent in Amelia, to pass on a few questions to her uncle.
ARCA blog: Giampiero, how long have you lived in Amelia and are you happy living in this historic town?

Giampiero: I'm living in Amelia since 60 years ago...which means since I was born! And I'm really happy to live in here!

ARCA blog: You have a fantastic selection of shoes for men, women and children. What is it like to be a small businessman in Amelia right now?

Giampiero: Even if we're going through a difficult period, this is still a job full of satisfaction and also, after 30 years doing that, there is also an affection and a devotion to the shoe business that is stronger than everything.

ARCA blog: As I've told our readers, you don't just operate a shoe store. You are involved in just as many activities as the mayor of the town. Have you thought of going into politics or do all your activities keep you too busy?

Giampero: Absolutely not! I like to be involved in volunteering roles to make a better Amelia and to improve the hospitality here but I'm really not interested in being a politician. (After pausing to think, he continued) See, in this moment I am both Prior of my "contrada" and President of the traders' association in town and you know what? Actually it's sort of like being in politics because you have to deal with all the institutions and politicians in town and obviously this give you a certain influence in making decisions.

ARCA blog: Giampiero, many of our readers are learning about Amelia for the first time through our art crime blog. What would you advise someone about visiting Amelia for the first time?

Giampiero: Well...I would suggest a visit to our Museum and obviously Germanico; the Ancient Walls; the S. Magno Monastery with its unique organ; the Cathedral; the Roman Cisterne; the Theatre; and none the less, take your time for a gastronomic itinerary to taste our food and wine specialties!

Editor's note: A contrada is a district, or a ward, of a medieval Italian city. Historical Amelia is divided into five contrade.

February 13, 2011

Amelia, Umbria: An Introduction to Its History

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin

Amelia, the oldest town in Umbria, is about 60 miles north of Rome. You can get there by car in about an hour. You could get there by train to the station at Orte, in either one or two hours from either Termini Station in Rome or from the airports, depending on whether or not your train stops at every town. Orte, a another small medieval town, is about nine miles from Amelia through beautiful green hills with cypress trees. If you don't have a car, you can take a bus, unless you arrive on a Sunday in July or August, or later than 10 o'clock at night, then you will have to call for a driver. Outside the doors of the train station, a sign indicates a phone number for a taxi company. But the taxi company, or just a sole driver, I've never figured out which, does not always answer the phone or send a car. So it's helpful to have the name and number of a private service that will agree to meet you upon your arrival for the cost of 25 or 30 euros.

As I've discussed before, most visitors stop at Bar Leonardi for refreshments or to make arrangements to reach their lodgings. From the patio of Bar Leonardi, you can sit at a table and view the walls of the medieval town and the main gate which is known as the Porta Romana. This entrance deserves a photo and a blog of it's own so we'll just say for now that if you're not waiting on the patio of Bar Leonardi, you're waiting on a low wall that extends outside of the Porta Romana. And I have a photo which I will also show in another blog of some local men that agreed to have their photo taken. They, or someone like them, sat on that wall most morning and evenings. However, the sitting wall is typically available during the afternoon siesta so I recommend that when you want to feel like a local and check out all the cars and pedestrians going in and out of the historic center, that you first sit on the wall during a hot afternoon when no one else is around. Because you'll want to make sure you have the right detached pose ready as you inspect everyone and everything going in and out of that town.

People may have lived on this hilltop for three thousand years, allegedly beginning with the Umbrian King Ameroe more than 300 years earlier than the settlement of Rome. The Umbrians traded with Greeks and Etruscans and produced pottery. Pliny the Elder, historian and military commander, wrote that the Umbrians were the oldest people in Italy -- that the Greeks called them 'Ombrici' because they were believed to have survived the great flood Zeus unleashed to cleanse the countryside at the end of the Bronze Age to express his anger with the corruption of the Pelasgians. This history is relevant when you're in Amelia because you can feel the sense of pride and tradition in the town's clean streets and well-preserved buildings.

Between the 6th and 4th centuries B. C., the Etruscans protected Amelia by stacking limestone blocks, one on top of the other, fitting them together without mortar. These walls, 8 meters high and 3.5 meters wide, extend around the town for more than 700 meters. One legend claims that these walls thwarted an attack by Emperor Federico Barbarossa. A 30-meter segment of this wall collapsed in 2006 and is still under repair as the town awaits for government funding and tries to figure out how to duplicate the original construction. In May 2008, another gate opening from the third of fourth century B.C. was rediscovered.