Italy blog # 6 – Sunday 25 June 2017
Two weeks ago we were in Chioggia, a city built in the 11th century or before – on water and fishing. It’s a really busy port with ships, working fishing boats of all sizes and pleasure craft, about an hour’s ferry ride to Venice. We witnessed a procession for the feast of the patron saint with religious and civic leaders in full regalia. We hired bikes on the island of Pellestrina and lunched in a trattoria under ancient oaks. Cycling in sparkling sunshine felt like being in a film: the lagoon on one side and richly coloured old houses on the other, or maybe shipyards or grassy spaces alongside canals. (See photos below)
The Quintana at Foligno, a large city about 5 kms from Spello, is a community event held twice a year. Ten horsemen from each section of the city compete in a medieval competition in four rounds using a lance to catch metal rings. We watched a spectacular procession of horsemen and other people dressed in medieval costumes.
Not one but two Infiorata celebrations! We unexpectedly witnessed preparations for the flower carpets in Cannara, a small quiet village near Spello. The Infiorata in Spello has become famous as we learned in the narrow streets where we breathed as one with the surging crowd! The Infiorata celebrates the feast of Corpus Domini and on Saturday night in both villages, groups of all ages, including pre-schoolers, worked in teams placing flowers, dried seeds and other vegetable material on designs which had been drawn on paper or directly onto the streets.
In Spello nearly two kms of flower carpets were spread through steep narrow cobbled streets. Even after midnight we walked beside kneeling groups creating beautiful images. Sunday morning at Spello we joined the throng waiting for the procession accompanied by the village band. We walked past completed designs that had been entered in competitions. In Cannara, a smaller version. Later Sunday, kids on bikes were skidding through the carpets. Monday morning … everything had been cleaned up. The fleeting experiences of life! (See below for photos)
Travel agent, Foligno
Back in Castelfranco
On Friday Alex and I had haircuts. Not just by anyone but by Roberto, who with Guilia, his wife, lived in Adelaide for a year about ten years ago! Roberto is a friend of Alex’s hairdresser. After an extensive search up and down a long street, we located the salon. Giulia has relatives in Adelaide – the Figuera families, one of whom lives on Valetta Road.
I’ve recorded my first oral history interview in Italy. Irene Zampin provided great information about the family market garden, the Veneto community in the area and growing up in Adelaide. Her parents were market gardeners on the corner of Valetta and Findon Roads for about 20 years until 1967 when Irene was 15. The family, minus the eldest daughter who had married in Adelaide, returned to Riese.
Here until next Saturday, we have a few appointments including a visit to the parish archives, a meeting with the Mayor of Riese and another interview. And also preparation for the next conference, first week of July.
The Infiorata – two longer carpets at Cannara, and top right, at Spello. You can see the detail of the design which was gradually filled in with different coloured petals as indicated on the paper pattern on the ground.