Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hangin' With Richard Gere

Note: This post was jointly written by the two of us, with a special contribution by Howard in italics.

We spent Tuesday afternoon in Volterra, wandering about without much concern or urgency. We found the Roman ruins, which according to Rick Steves, had (have?) great acoustics. Howard said he would have sung as he did in Pompeii, but our view was from above, not at performance level. This auditorium was built around 10 B.C., but in modern times was used for years as the garbage dump for the city. In the 1950s it was rediscovered. Can you imagine digging through the rubbish and finding this!

We spent the rest of the afternoon weaving our way in and out of the alabaster shops (and another alabaster studio/workshop), primarily looking for gifts. We purchased gifts for Melissa and Chris, Scott, and my parents, so we were quite pleased with ourselves.

Back on the street, a group of tourists from Boston were lost and since we knew Volterra so well (ha!), we set about confusing them even more. One of the women in the group looked at Howard and almost immediately blurted out, “You look like Richard Gere.” Whereupon Howard responded, “I love you,” and walked over to the woman and gave her a big hug! I think she made his day. Her husband then said, “Don’t feel too good, some people say I look like Don Johnson,” which by the way, he didn’t, but she just as quickly said to us, within his earshot: “That’s what he says, but actually they said he looks like a cross between Don Rickles and Lyndon Johnson.” Probably more accurate.

We continued our meandering and stopped into a shop where a man works in bronze making reproductions of art from the Etruscan era. His father was also a craftsman here and his family has occupied this same work area for over 60 years. No one can accuse him of changing jobs to climb the corporate ladder. His work is sold throughout Volterra in many of the shops, including a display at the Etruscan museum.

We stopped for our afternoon cappuccino, then went into a little market where we purchased a small carton of milk, coffee for homemade espresso, and a leetle bit of prosciutto (for Howard). We were ready to spend the evening in our Tuscan apartment. We had barely touched home base, however, when Howard invited me to check out an abandoned house? barn? right across the yard. The whole building was encased in wire fencing, which was covered with green mesh and all of the doors and windows of the building had long ago been bricked up (the equivalent of us boarding up a window, only a little bit more permanent). Here is what we discovered:

(Look at me getting all excited over an abandoned building – more photos of this than of Roman ruins or of Pompeii!)

Hey out there, anyone interested in an investment. Tuscany, Italy, hilltop million dollar views, surrounded by farm land, close to minor highway (not too much noise, but easy access), close to beautiful Volterra, geographically situated between Siena, Florence, San Gimignano; 800 sq. meters of building (1 sq. meter about 9 sq. ft.); 2,000 sq meters of land; all for $600,000 Euros; that’s about $780,000 USD; minor detail, must tear down to ground as structure is unstable and rebuild with like type of material and design, local planning approval, land use, etc; total cost probably a cool 2 to 2.5 million dollars US. You never know, if you don’t ask!! It sure is fun to dream.

After our excursion, we cut up an apple, sliced some cheese, broke open a baguette, and poured ourselves some sparkling water – we enjoyed our little feast on our personal patio as the sun set.


Hey, to my faithful blog commenting women, Bridget, Gretchin, Peshe, and Destree – would you like a piece of ribbed glass from the abandoned building mentioned and featured above? Well, of course you would! I’ll sneak back in through the locked gate (with angle iron across the entry and sharp metal wire sticking out at various angles to snag and catch and tear cloth and skin – but no problem).

Joni, in addition to suggesting I take two pair of shoes, you also suggested I take more than one book. So glad I did! I’ve already read Diary by Chuck Palahniuk and The Ha Ha by Dave King. I’m now reading The Time Traveler’s Wife, the only book I originally planned to bring! Thanks for being my Italy travel advisor.


Peshe said...

Since I'm able to email pics directly from this blog, several other folks are enjoying your travels. Carole Zoom liked the handicap graffiti - she's also in a wheel chair. Tuesday evening I borrowed your 180 degree squeal with a minor twist. 'Geezee Louzee' as I twirled in a warm up exericise for a Sacred Dance class. Talk about 6 degrees of separation. So, how are you going to pack the Iron wheel from the 'abandoned' building? I know you want to....

congrats Scott!!!!!!!!

gl. said...

omg, i LOVE abandoned buildings most of all (which is the appeal of ruins, but less people like to explore buildings). a piece of ribbed glass from an italian abandoned building will find itself a place of honour in my studio (especially if it has your blood on it ;). thanks, dayna!

Destree said...

Ahhhh! Here is the abandoned house you mentioned above (I think I need to start reading your posts in chronological order!) and to my surprise you mention ME....well of course I would love some broken glass...I'm laughing outloud as I type this...and I'm glad that anyone who reads this would understand. Thanks for thinking of me....hope you didn't cut yourself....

Bridget B. said...

LOL! I would love a piece of broken glass! Ribbed, even! Just don't hurt yourself . . . and I had to laugh at the idea of only taking one book for a long vacation - Darren and I read constantly - sometimes taking slow days just for resting and reading. On our 3 week trip to Italy, I think we went through about six book each, then traded and read what the other had brought! Whoa Nelly!

Glenwood House said...

hello soul sisters. you don't know me but syncronicity lead me to this blog tonight. shoot, my hubby just got home with dinner so I can't write but I'll post again soon.

lived in Firenze for a year, miss it terribly. fellow artist. say jeeze louise daily. here's a quick paste of my dailyOm bio:

Bio for Andrea Ursula Colman, birthday August 7, 1966.

I knew everything when I was a teenager, started to know less in my 20's, began to forget the things I thought I knew in my 30's and now that I'm in my 40's I realize I know practically nothing about anything and the more I learn the less I actually know! The best part is that I'm O.K. with that.

I'm comfortable with paradox, ambiguity and spontaneity. Of course I live in the NOW whenever I'm not thinking about the past or future, but I'm trying to get over that. I have friends, good, true friends, both conservative and liberal, Christian, Jew, Pagan, Wiccan and agnostic. I like to think I build bridges, not fences and I find good in all.

I embrace hardship and challenges with gratitude as I see them as the greater gifts from God or The Universe or Whatever. These are always the best lessons for advancing our souls if we can learn them otherwise we will just continue to get hit over the head with the same problems 'til we 'GET IT'. It's only my opinion, but so far it works for me.

I'm a painter who doesn't paint with the exception of windows & walls, a writer who does not write with the exception of bills and bios, and a gardener who plants seed and forgets to water them, yet who grows the best damn weeds. (Wow, just had an ideas are are my seeds: if fail to tend them then they are only unrealized potential and my kids are my weeds which are going to grow the way they want despite my best efforts to tame them!)

I'm an innkeeper with a fabulous husband and 5 wonderful, if sometimes trying, kids ages 9,14,16,17 & 21. My 21 year old step-son is going to Iraq for his first tour with the Marines so please say a prayer for his safe return.

Oh yeah, lastly and very cool, I'm officially in a 'Curiosities of New York'! It comes out in bookstores in August. I love being odd, it totally pisses off my family!

Bright Blessings of Love and Light.