Visible signs that the crisis (la crisi) has not abated in Italy – a closed gallery of really important sculpture in the National Archaeological Museum Naples. That’s the Tyrannicides Group in there!
I’d go that far.
In service for the Food and Culture in Italy course (being taught by our GustoLab partner, Sonia Massari) we visited Eccelenze Campane, which is kind of hard to describe. The name means Campanian Specialities or Excellences. It’s a foodie paradise for organic, fresh, and local stuff in Campania – a combination of grocery store, restaurant, and production center. We watched people making mozzarella and ricotta di bufala – and then got to eat it. Wow. We watched people making pasta – and some of us ate that for lunch (I had alici fritti, myself – yum, yum). We watched and helped people making pastries – and you see me eating a sfogliatelle with a filling made with fresh ricotta di bufala. It was over the top good, and I finally understand how they get all the flaky layers!
John Wright of Derby, Eruption of Vesuvius in 1774. Wikimedia Commons
NOW I’m cranky. I woke up at 5.30 this morning with a dry mouth. I had a drink of water and went back to bed – having noticed that it was not raining. My alarm went off just before 7. I was still lying in bed when the DOWNPOUR began.
7.32 and it’s still raining hard – and I have a rendezvous with my class at 9 a.m. at the foot of the Vittoriano to walk around the Imperial Forums. Couldn’t it have waited until 11, when I would be home and Christine’s INDOOR class would be in session?
Wow – our students arrived last Thursday. They received their January bus passes on Friday. I was escorting one to a pharmacy this evening and we were checked by the transit police – she didn’t have hers (and admitted to me that she couldn’t find it this morning). She also told me that one of her roommates has lost hers already as well. €35 apiece down the drain – and now they have to cover themselves till February 1!. A monthly cost €35. A weekly cost €24. I think a day pass is €6, and a one-time-ride is €1.50 (I know the last one is right because I bought her one to get home – then she decided to take a cab because she’s not sure of the connections in Prati). I loaned her the cash to pay her €50 (otherwise it turns into a €100 citation to be payed at a post office later).
But you know, it’s all better if it happens in Rome!
Finished with the – the glasses in the sink are all rinsed and can wait till tomorrow. I had everyone (all 17 students, my co-director, and her 2 year old) over for aperitivi – prosecco and finger food. We had fun, lots of them finally had Italian cell numbers to give us, and we satisfied the administration’s request that we have a formally designated assembly point for evacuation in the wake of national disasters. So, come the fall of the EU, they know how to get to my apartment. What we’ll do then is anyone’s guess. Hike across Umbria to the international airport in Florence singing “Climb Every Mountain”? I think there are too many Peace Corps returnees in our office for abroad programs!
Click here to see what I couldn’t see today – the 100 (Roman) foot wide base of the Pyramid of Cestius.
Here’s the wikipedia link: the work is being sponsored by a Japanese individual. Not a great sign for Italy? Kind of back to the days of Victorian gentlemen paying for facades to be built onto major churches in Florence?
P.S. I hate Flickr. Why won’t it let me post my pictures here??
I’ll be there tomorrow, January 8. My colleague gets in the next day. The students arrive Thursday 1/16 – and then HWS Rome 2014 begins!
Father Benedict (pictured) is a Sewanee graduate – what did they expect? Teasing aside, craft beer seems like the perfect Benedictine product.
“People come to the monastery for the beer,” he said, but they leave realizing God brought them to Norcia to meet him.
Making beer “perhaps dissipates any fear that we might be judgmental or overly critical of them,” he said. People assume beer-making monks will accept them.
Brother Anthony Zemenick, a native of Arlington, Texas, who has been at the monastery for seven years, said the beer “is really good stuff.”
“I’m not the world’s most experienced beer connoisseur, but I’ve tried several different types and I’d say ours is the best … not just because it’s ours, but because of the flavor, too,” he said.
I hope the sell it at la Vecchia Birreria in Rome!!
Wow – three firsts – first Pope to take the name Francis, first Jesuit, first pope from the Southern Hemisphere (or the Global South to use the current term). Of course, he’s of Italian parents. I don’t know what’s more interesting. Maybe the idea that the first Jesuit pope took the name Francis instead of Ignatius?
This certainly seems like the easiest way to open to the Global South – choose someone who might even be a native speaker of Italian! That will assuage some national pride there – and if the agenda for the next papacy includes tangling with the bureaucracy (and everyone seems to think it does) one must be able to speak the language of the back stairs.
Tonight our Center for Global Education held an information session for Spring ’14 programs – so at least some of the students who met with us* tonight will be with us in Rome this time next year! In fact, given how things usually go, we’ll be getting ready to leave for Naples . . . .
Time to launch a new category – HWS Rome 2014!
*this time I will be co-directing with Professor Christine Chin, who teaches and practices new media approaches to photo and video. This will be her first trip to Rome and her first time to lead a program abroad – though she’s worked with student groups on trips since she was in college herself.
Second book of the year. I just finished Iliaria Dagnini Brey, The Venus Fixers: the Remarkable Story of the Allied Soldiers who Saved Italy’s Art during World War II. This is the third book or so I’ve read about the assorted art historians, archaeologists, and architects who were tasked with keeping historical monuments from collapsing and trying to return looted art to its previous homes. Brey’s version is all Italy – and it suffers from that. Indeed, it suffers from altogether too much Florence. I’ll admit that I am a contrarian on the subject of Florence – but if Hobart and William Smith’s program in Italy had been based in Florence rather than Rome, I might not have stayed long enough to become tenure track. Brey has lots of fun anecdotes — she’s best on Frederick Hartt. I wouldn’t recommend it as highly as Robert Edsel’s The Monuments Men. Really, lots of stuff was stolen from all across Europe, and the German side of the story is quite interesting, too.
When Pompeii shows up in my news feed the pictures are almost never good.
Last week I was talking to the colleagues who are leading the Rome program this spring about Herculaneum vs. Pompeii. This kind of mess is part of what helped me decide to take the 2011 crew to Herculaneum. Pompeii is too big to take care of properly.