The trip caught up with me a bit today and I decided to take it easy. I woke late, sat in the sun for an hour and then had a caffe at the bar net door. 2 local teens wanted to practice their English, so I obliged. Their English was good, but their pronouns were a little fuzzy...."Please tell-ah to her-ah, heem-ah, they sayng it wrong-ah." I said, "Tell him? Tell her? Tell they?" Big laughs. After coffee and pronouns, I took a long walk around and through this jewel of a town. Even after many visits and stays, I still expect to hear "Quiet on the set!" Its is that perfect in appearance. As they say here of evocative places and sighet, "Molto suggestivo!"
I had just enough time for riposo (rest) before Suzy called to see if I wanted to go to Deruta, a ceramics center for the late afternoon. I should tell ou here, that Suzy and I are dish whores, especially Italian majolica dish whores.
LEARNING NOTE: Majolica is majolica because it is red clay based and the glaze is white. It is different from the type of ceramics done in Venice and the North....that type is "much less precious".
The artisans are fiercely proud of their craft and with good reason. Each stood ready to help us to appreciate the history of their art and their passion for quality. Marcella, a lovely woman with the MOST intricate designs, invited us to watch her paint. When Suzy asked if she got nevours when people watched, she said, "No. It gives me joy." Another shop keeper explained how the jobs for the shop were divided among the family members. He prepared the pieces for painting and did the firing, his wife and mother in law painted, his brother, father and cousins all also worked for the family business to keep it alive.
Their livelihoods are in jeopardy now, though because of the American economy. May shops stood empty of touristi, some shops closed early, some had gone out of business. It is a sad thing to see and most of the shopkeepersand artists remrked about it.
The drive from Moiano to Deruta has spectacular Umbrian views. The landscape view are panoamic and diverse. The valleys are patchworks of golden fields of grians, silver green olive groves, verdent vineyards gay sunflowers an other produce, each with their own color palate and textures. As the earth slopes higher, the scenery gives way to a kalidescope of greens and slver grays dotted with the quintessential colors of Italian buildings...shades of tera cotta and umber. In the distance, the deep purples of the mountains form a wavy horizon below the bright blue and white sky. Every direction, a treat for the eyes. "It is an emotion".
As I write this, I am sitting in the kitchen sipping the gas pump wine bought yesterday, a symphony of Italian language and passion and laughter rising from the coffee bar tables below. The air is fresh and crisp as it blows the curtain that Rina (my land lady) crocheted and the inky midnight blue (it is actually midnight) sky is alive with stars and the sliver of a crescent moon.
Id like to take the opportunity to thank Ben for taking Latin in grade 7. If he hadnt, I would never have had this perfect day in Umbria ith my friend Suzy. I would certainly never have met Rina and Betta to have made friends of them, which allowed me this time in this place to share with loved ones. And they say Latin has no place in the modern school system. I'm not sitting in Umbria because of ALGEBRA!!