We’ve had a full day and are now resting for pausa. Will write commentary later, but wanted to upload photos from phone. I am teaching Richard and Caroline Italian. They really want to learn now that so few here speak English!
This morning Richard and I went to the mercato verdure, and it was so fun to hear the guys shouting out to passerbys to buy his wares. Everything was so inexpensive. When Richard asked for two oranges, the boy said, “Two kilo?” When we said only two oranges, he gave them to us as a gift. We found a little coffee bar for cappuccino and will return tomorrow. I love to chat up the baristas. Speaking of chatting, my favorite word in Italian is the verb: chiacchierrere, which means to chit-chat. If you say he/she would chit chat, you spell it: chiacchierrerebbero!
We went on a tour of the Crypt of the Original Sin, which was fascinating. We met out of town at a gas station, and then we followed our guide, Antonio, to the caves a few miles away. The paintings are frescoes on rocks painted by 9th century Benedictine monks over a period of thirty years. Rupestrian just means rock frescoes. In 870 AD, the Muslims invaded and wanted to destroy any art that represented life. The caves were undiscovered for centuries, but local shepherds used to shelter their sheep there. The paintings reminded me of the Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna because they were of a similar style and time period. The show was well done with lights highlighting various niches and Gregorian chants. I love the way Mary is adorned as a wealthy woman of the time. Also, it is the first painting ever of a fig instead of an apple. Antonio told us that the Bible only mentions the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Evil is male, and it got mixed up with mela, which means apple. That’s why the fruit is more commonly depicted as an apple. At any rate, it was fascinating. I could not take photos but have uploaded these from the website:
Here’s a one-minute video if you are interested:
We drove out of town and climbed up on the rocks for a great view of I Sassi followed by lunch at La Latteria. They serve local cheeses and meats. One cheese from sheep was served in a bowl with strawberries. It looked like yogurt. Wherever we go, we chiacchierrerano with the Italians, just like these men on the street below, or perhaps not as animated.
Richard has been doing a great job driving, but Italians tend to tailgate VERY close and pass you when another car is coming head-on. Richard made an astute observation later as we were walking to lunch: Italians drive fast and walk slow. About sums it up!