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Sulmona

Dramatic skies over Sulmona


After our religious article shopping excursion and a delicious porketta panino on the thinnest rosemary flecked focaccia, we (Lou Andy and I) went to the park and surrounding areas of the Villa Bourgese.  There was a sculpture instillation on the via Magnolia by Mexican artist Rivelino;  beautiful and moving called Nuestros Silencios (Our Silences).  Seeing this contemporary work in this ancient place is unforgettable.  A couple days later and it would have been gone!

A brief comment I found from the artist:  The show is continuously moving through Europe to keep transmitting its powerful social message: the need for freedom of expression; that is, being able to express yourself about that which is difficult, that you can’t or don’t wish to talk about. “Though speaking won’t do, or is never enough if the other one is not willing to listen, understand and respond,” underlines sculptor Rivelino.

Part of the instalation 'Nuestros Silencios'.


Well, as travel days go, this one was the kind of experience I have heard and read about and now I can say that I have experienced it as well.  I won’t bore you with the details but it was a version of Planes, trains and me the cranky sister, Italian style.  When we made it back to Rome we needed a shower, a full body massage and a nice hot cup of tea.  Since there was no masseuse available we settled for the comfort of our wonderful cousins and the other two.  Nothing a good nights sleep didn’t cure.  Lou’s husband Andrew (Roo to his adoring nieces and nephews) arrived after missing a connecting flight so we went home, re-organized our suitcases and let Andrew rest a bit.   The next day (Sat. Oct 16th) we went into Rome and my co-horts indulged me in a little search for Ex Votos in the religious article stores in the neighborhoods around the Vatican.  As it turns out this was the weekend that 6 new saints were to be canonized, a big deal and something that happens infrequently so the faithful were out in droves to stock up on newly minted medals, holy cards, statuettes, placques, rosaries, key rings and my personal favorite…fridge magnet/bottle openers with images of their saintos di giorno!  It was like a Catholic Disneyland!  These are the times when I am thankful to have been raised in a Catholic family, a religion which preaches that we should not worship icons.  One of the newbies happened to be the very first Australian saint Mary MacKillop, needless to say, Lou was all over that one.  The photo shows on of the fallen giving thanks and praise…miracles happen every day they say.  I did find one Ex Voto…cool but molto caro!

Sister Mary Louise giving a nod to Sister Mary MacKillop.


Italian Ex Voto Breastplate Image

Saturday night after we got back from Positano we went down to the Marina Grande, which is actually the smaller one where the fisherman come and go from.  Marina piccolo is where the large boats and cruise ships come in…but I digress.  This is a huge event in this town and is not to be missed if you are here.    It was the 25th anniversary and the whole town was out.  We had (for 5Euros each), a glass of wine and a plate of frittura del mare.  Seafood so fresh with the lightest dusting of batter, quickly fried and piled high on a plate.  Calamari, scampi and tiny fish which I think were fresh sardines, it was spectacular.  There was lots of other food, cakes, live music, (did you know that italian fisherman sang sea shanty’s?) and even fireworks.   One of the coolest things I saw was in the little church, why I was shocked to find the good stuff in Italy in a church I’m not sure, BUT, on either side of one of the side altars were these huge framed cases (about 4’x8′) filled with Italian Milagros, or Ex Votos!  If I could have taken a photo for you I would have, however, Catholic guilt and an overwhelming fear of being stricken by lightening prevailed.  They are much larger than the little Mexican milagros, somewhere in the 6″ to 8″ range, and I saw less variety.  They were predominantly hearts, swaddled babies, a few hands and an assortment of torso’s, breastplates, an occasional arm or leg, and a few heads in profile.  They were all on a backing of plush red velvet to heighten the drama.  It was really striking.  I have a few of these that Ted found online for me some years ago and I just love them.  Catholics have the best kitsch, hands down!  Anyhow,  we wandered the marina and took it all in then trudged up the hill to our beds having had a day that we will remember for years.  And may I just add, mi piace pesce!


Sorrento Lingue garden view.

Sorrento Lingue, Mount Vesuvius view from classroom window.

Tomorrow is our last day of language classes and then we will have a few days of sightseeing.  My bathing suit has disappeared from the clothes line, hopefully someone grabbed it accidentally and it will re-appear or I will be swimming in Positano in my underwear.  I realise that none of you will have he least bit of sympathy for my plight, just rest assured, there will be NO pictures if I do!  A couple more shots from out the windows at Sorrento Lingue…


If anyone knows a foot reflexologist qui vicino di Firenze, please let me know.  We took the train there again today and it was a beautiful crowded( though not as much as I expected) Saturday.  There was a lot of activity in the streets from the train station to the duomo, fruit and vegetables , clothes, scarves, toys, drawings, paintings, snack foods and (my personal favorite) the plant vendors.  Flowering plants large and small were arranged so beautifully I could hardly walk on.  Going back this Friday to see Michelangelo’s David…very exciting! Check out the squares of  ‘plastic grass’ with the yellow and white flowers under the squash in the bottom photo!


We have been working on adjectives in class and playing games to learn them.  In a group of people from Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Japan, England, Canada, and the states whose common language is one they are barely familiar with it can get pretty funny.  We have a good range in age which also adds to the contextual confusion, 20 to 65.  We are learning a lot but man, I wish I had learned this in a bi-lingual home!  Studying is not as easy as it used to be.  Some of the people are so nice, some learning Italian for pleasure, some for work, some for the mental challenge, all of them interesting.  Attached is a photo of my most serious compadres!  Buonanotte, Marianna.


We are back from the Minnesota Iron Range and a wonderful weekend at the Valentini family cabin with a gang of our friends.  We relaxed, biked, ate, visited and sauna’d and now I am revived for my upcoming trip.  Got some running around to do and then I am off to the airport!  My friend Marty, filmmaker and photographer extraordinaire, did quick shots of some of the nature and junk yard “portraits” I made up north.  I’ll leave you with this one, more to follow… Arriverderci kids!


Here is the third drawing from my photo’s taken at the butterfly museum last winter.  Next week maybe I’ll do a little coloring for you.  It has been raining a fair amount this past week here and we have a very hardy crop of mosquitoes (more commonly known as the MN state bird),  perhaps I should be drawing them?

Arrivederci amigos!


Another little drawing, a stylized butterfly wing inspired by all the mariposas we saw at the museum in Key West last winter (yes, I’m speakin the spanglish).  I just got done my Rosetta Stone Italian lesson and am getting very excited about my trip this fall!  Maybe I’ll start posting an Italian word or phrase a day in preparation…

I’ll think about that domani!  Buona notte amigos.

Contact me at anniesingerart@gmail.com

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