Posts Tagged ‘montalcino’

Putting It Back Together

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Restoration is a tedious, arduous, and for the long-suffering. But it’s amazing to watch!

A church in Montalcino has just been reopened and there is scaffolding to the very high timbered ceiling. St. Agostino dates from the 1200’s and under the banality of whitewashed walls they have found amazing frescoes.  The work the 5 artists are doing ranks but very near miraculous. The centuries of pollution, paint, salts, decay have nearly obliterated the artistry of several famous painters of the time. But slowly the vitality of the originals is emerging.

There are six stories of metal bars and ramps that these modern day artists scurry across as they inject fixatives, and sand, and peel, and analyze what the ancient painter meant initially.

Saints and sinners are coming to life on the ancient walls.

It would have been a whole lot easier if ensuing generations hadn’t thought they could repurpose what had been so right in the first place.

Like relationships, honoring them and appreciating them for the flaws and peculiarities and uniqueness adds so much to life. In Italy it’s all about the time to know and enjoy what you have right now. Busyness doesn’t exist in the small towns. People help each other, multi-generational families are there for each other and put up with the foibles.

It’s a true work of art not to be messed with!


Bell Ringers

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

I love learning something new!

It takes a lot of strength to pull those ropes on all those campaniles in each an every town in Italy. In our town, Montalcino, the town bell tower sounds 100 times at noon to call the workers in for their main meal of the day.  But where and how is an up and coming bell ringer to learn and practice?

Well they invented a weight for the young men to use in a similar fashion without sounding the bell itself and soon folk noticed the improved physique on these fellas and wanted to use this weight as well.

The shape and purpose became our ‘dumbbells’ and dumb because they didn’t sound.  So today in gyms all over the world, we have church and tower bells to thank for improved appearances!

Aren’t you glad you read this and bring this trivia up in conversation?

Market Day

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

All towns in Italy have their market day. And while I know we have them in the U.S., they are not to be missed in Montalcino.

I can buy my underwear, cleaning products, wild boar and did indeed buy a flyswatter for one Euro. My charades for ‘flyswatter’ attracted a crowd but I got one.

The vans come scurrying into town early Friday mornings, open their doors, spread out their tables and the whole town turns out. But then I think that’s why it’s so amazing: the WHOLE town turns out, whether they buy anything or not.

The cliques of women and the meeting of men remind me of the days of telephone party-lines; I’m sure the gossip is heating up the streets.

But they do have great produce (which you are not allowed to touch..they do it) and awesome cheeses that they urge you to sample. We leave here for other parts of Italy on Friday, but not before we check in at the market!



Sputnik 1957

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

There is an unusual painting in a chapel in Montalcino. I blogged about it before, 5 years ago. Google montalcino sputnik, it’s amazing!

Well today we revisited the chapel for another visit to the orb with the antennae and got to talking amongst ourselves. What year did the space program begin with the Russians getting the very first satellite in space? After much discussion around the lunch table about how old we were and who was president, etc.

Well google let us know that TODAY is the anniversary of the launch a mere 57 years ago! I was a mere seven year old and remember it well (dating myself, but what a coincidence)! We are also in the latitude where communications and spy satellites travel across the night sky every few minutes.

Anyone remember the hit song “Telstar“?


Anna Lisa

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

A year in the life of a wine grower,I am convinced, is like pregnancy and giving birth to a baby. So many months leading up to the big event.

This year throughout Italy, it rained all of August. Not enough sun! So some of the grapes have some mold, and now that the sun is finally out, the mold is growing. The sun is needed to get the sugar content up so the alcohol level will be the right level when it starts to ferment in the cask. A lot of the grapes were pre-harvested and tossed to the ground because of the mold. Add to that the demand for workers to harvest and the crushing machine working sometimes, and the fact that all the bills have to be paid and the wine isn’t even in the bottle yet!

Our friend Anna Lisa Tempestini goes through this and more every year. She’s a wife and mother, yoga instructor, and cooking teacher and even a soon to be author. We stopped by to see her in action as the harvest was happening, at that precise moment!  

She dropped everything to be with us and make us feel welcome on our third time, over the years, to her home. We tried to be brief and take lots of photos of those lush bunches of grapes being picked but also noticing half as much on the ground that weren’t gonna make it into the barrel.

When you pop a cork on a good vintage, it is a joy and delight; you are a participant in the whole drama of the grape. When you have a not-so-good vintage, I saw through Anna Lisa,  the vintner still loves it for all it took to bring it to life.

The struggle makes it all the more dear.

And her wine, “Martin del Nero“, is excellent!


Painted in Waterlogue


Mi Amica, Carol

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

What’s better than being in Italy?  Being in Italy with a fun friend who speaks fluent Italian!!! Now all the folk in Montalcino know more of my heart cauz she can translate for me!  I can tell them how special they are to me and what a pleasure it is to be in their country again.

Carol visits Italy twice a year (6-8 weeks each time). We met at an Italian class in SD’s Little Italy, but she lives in RB and plays a mean game of golf . She leaves hubby at home cauz he’s been there, done that.  But Italy gives her life such dimension (and it’s her heritage), that it’s like coming home to her.  She has spent time with us in Tuscany and now we are on a 5 hour train to enjoy Pavia and Milano with her.  God is so good to bring us together!


Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Little Easter, also known as “day of the angels” (they should get a day,I work mine overtime!) And another way to get an extra day off of school and work. It coincided with dia de Libertad, or Resistance Day.

So I played a mass, wreaths were laid, speeches, small parade, a farmers’ market of Tuscans delacacies. Who could be bored?

Arrivederce KC

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Carson Is A Natural Traveller

After a couple weeks of touring Italy and laying back with us in Montalcino, KC, Jonathan and Bimbo Carson headed back to the US of A via Pisa.

They were fortunate to rendezvous with Heather and Heinz who came down from Switzerland to visit for a few hours.

Unfortunately for the Wilts, their 7 am flight was canceled, and the rescheduling put them 7 hours later in SD, and picked up by Andy.

When Steve dropped them off in Pisa, He also dropped our rental car off and took a couple trains and even hitchhiked!

Through A Veil Of Incense

Friday, April 29th, 2011

2 Sundays, 1 Holy Thursday(feet washing), 2 Easter Services, 1 Pasquetta (little Easter monday), working with Father Piernino, Giovani, altar boys, Miranda, me….hey I thought this was vacation!!!???

These were my commitments at the organ and those are the dear folk that were the TEAM that would put it all together for the worshippers of Montalcino. Flowers, candles, bowls of fire, blessing of the eggs, chants, hymns, nods to start my playing, and always the swinging of the Incense Canister. My contact lenses are killing me!!

Playing For The Masses

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

“Meet me at 5pm and we’ll go over the music selections (said in rapid fire Italian).”

I show up and mass is happening. Sit, stand, kneel through mass and he has 5 minutes (maybe), and off he goes back to the monastery at St. A’ntimo for Vespers.  

If I knew what to do, I would be a lot less nervous for all the services scheduled this Holy Week. Mind you, playing antique organs in ancient churches in a foreign language on their special days is an honor this protestant/anglo doesn’t want to pass up.  Amen