Friday, April 04, 2008

Throwing Out the First Ball of Spring - 1492

Spoleto from the RoccaThough last month's weekend in Spoleto was cut short we did get a chance to see a great deal of this intriguing medieval town in the mountains of Umbria. Brought back to notice in late 1950s by Gian Carlo Menotti and his partner Samuel Barber and their Festival of the Two Worlds, it is a stunning example of what can be accomplished by careful restoration. Though this year's Festival (it would be the 51st) seems up in the air we counted more than 12 buildings under restoration in the historic centre - a close look at the photo at the left reveals at least 6 cranes in the northern part of the town alone.

A court lady throws a ballThe restored Rocca or Albornoz Fortress was built in 1359 as a Papal stronghold - when she controlled the Duchy, Lucrezia Borgia often slept there between 1499 and 1503. It hovers over the town and dominates the valley below.Used as a prison from 1817 until 1983 it has been converted into a National Museum for the treasures of the region from pre-Christian to late Renaissance times.A courtly gentleman catches it
The Camera Pinta, in the tower of the Courtyard of Honour, is decorated with a wonderful series of frescoes dating from the 15th century depicting knightly and courtly pleasures. The subjects and the colours have a certain spring-like spirit to them, and I love this delightful couple playing catch over an archway. They've been playing this game for over 500 years now - I wonder if he ever caught the ball?

04 aprile - San Isidoro

4 comments:

Doralong said...

How absolutely lovely! For her sake I hope he did :)

sageweb said...

Wow that is wonderful. How lucky are you? dammit

Sling said...

Being able to visit these marvelous places through the eyes of my friend willym,is one of my very favorite things to do!
Thanks buddy.

Tater said...

I long to be there with you as my guide! The frescoes are stunning! No, he never caught the ball, but in that outfit, he probably caught something a little less agreeable...