your love has given me wings

by Ellen in ,


I was afraid I had lost my Italy journal during the move, because I haven't been able to find it for a few days. I was looking in all the wrong places, though. It has been in my purse the whole time, I even took it to Texas with me, and never even knew it. Add it to the metaphors for life.
I wanted to put my time in Italia here on the internets because I'm afraid I WILL lose my journal, and then I would left without my specific memories. I know how it tasted, sounded, smelled, looked, but there are those little things I have written that intensify all of it for me. I miss it LOTS. I'm ready to go back...today.
Assisi
25 June 2008
2:14pm: We stopped in Florence on our way to Assisi. Jim, Hans, May, and I went to Sta. Maria Novella, a place we didn't get to go when we were here 3 days ago. We got to see Masaccio's Trinity Fresco (the fresco that caused the term "chiaroscurro" to be coined), and it was bigger than I ever imagined. It was HUGE, and one of my favorite things so far. It's right as you walk in the door, and it sticks out because it looks so different from everything else. There really is something about it that is different, now that I think about it. Maybe there's a lot of mystery to it. We also stopped at a place right around the corner from Sta. Maria Novella to get gelato. So far, it has been my favorite that I've had. I mean, it's all good, but this particular place had the best thus far. I will miss Florence. It is the only place I've ever wanted to go in my whole life, and it was better and more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. I am sad to leave it, mainly because we got to know each other so well.

10:04pm: I'm sitting in the St. Francis Basilica. It is never open at night, but tonight, there is a children's choir giving a concert, so it is open. I thought it was beautiful from the outside at night, but the inside, full of Giotto's frescoes, is like entering another world. Right now, we are sitting towards the back, and my neck is hurting from straining to see the details on the ceiling. This little Italian choir is singing "This Little Babe" in English. I know all the words to this song because we sang it in choir when I was in the 12th grade. It is so familiar, but nothing like anything I've ever experienced. The acoustics in here are better than anywhere else I've ever been to see a concert. Proud parents are clapping, filling the room with the noise, and have now become silent again. And this place turns the silence into a sound that is as lovely as this choir. They have started singing another familiar tune: An Irish Blessing. The one that goes, "may the road rise with you, may the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, may the rain fall soft among your fields, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand." This time, the words are in Italian, but from the melody and what little Italian I know, it is this song. It is so beautiful, especially from these small Italian mouths. Right now, there are only about 30 people in here. Tomorrow when we are here for our tour, we will have to stick our elbows into the hot crowds just to move with them. But for now, this is certainly a dream. Giotto's frescoes have come to life, just like they would in another strange dream I might have. And like my crazy dreams, I must write all of this down as soon as it happens or I'll never remember it the same way. Some illegal photos (ps. most of the photos I have from inside buildings or of works of art are illegal. But as my favorite late Art History professor Dr. Purtle used to say when she showed us slides where she was the photographer: "I wasn't allowed to take pictures in this building either. Just goes to show you that the best photos are the ones you have to steal."):


26 June 2008
2:37pm: We did the Basilica, which was a different place from last night. Still beautiful, but busy. Now I am at the Hermitage, the woods where St. Francis used to come and pray and be with God's creatures. The Europeans are big on building churches to mark these landscapes as "holy", so there is a chapel, which was acutally built during St. Francis' time, and other newer things. It is quiet, peaceful, and scattered with footprints and white doves. Only God knows how many people have visited this place, and all the places we have been. Like St. Clare's: she was Francis' BFF, and the Europeans built (you guessed it) a church to commemorate her life. Her bones are there, and we waited in line to see them. It's amazing what people do with relics. It's interesting, but seems to be missing the point sometimes. I DO love St. Francis, though. He was probably a little crazy, but who isn't? Sidenote: for graduation, Eyleen gave me an Amoebus bracelet with the prayer of St. Francis on it. It's my favorite piece of jewelry. Speaking of relics...
5:23pm: We're leaving Assisi, which was like a step back to the 13th century. Not much has changed there since then. Except for like electricty and running water. We are now on our way to Roma, the NYC of Europe. Taking a giant leap forward. It is HOT here. The hottest recorded summer Italy has ever had. But at night, it is perfetto. Nerd alert: I have to write down my periods of Greek art (in order) before I forget, so when I see something I'll know exactly when it was made (or copied). Archaic, Severe, Early Classical, Classical, Hellenistic. Mental note: The Romans conquered Athens in 31 BC and brought back all the art that they liked in a parade. So they copied it. Examples= Forum Augustus, Pantheon, Loacoon (it's originally Greek), and all of the column styles (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian), except for the Egyptian ones that magically appeared in Rome (outside the Vatican and Pantheon), and no one knows how.