Sunday, October 30, 2011

Field Trips

One of the field trips we took with our school was to the town of Anghiari about a 40 minute bus ride from Arezzo.  It’s a quintessential small hill town with Etruscan roots.  By comparison it makes Arezzo (population 100,000) seem like a bustling metropolis.  While the old town is breathtakingly beautiful with steep narrow streets, on the edge of town there are two brand new subdivisions, with identical houses (Italian style) on small lots with no trees - just like in Seattle!?

The main road through town. Note the steepness of the hill. The town of Sansepolcro is in the distance.

In the centro storico of Anghiari

In the centro storico of Anghiari
As we were walking around we passed an open door and inside a woman was making jewelry.  She kindly waved us in so we could see what she was doing.  She was braiding 12 fine metal strands into stunning lace-like earrings.  It was amazing to watch her hands move quickly as she wove the wires into an intricate pattern.  She had on display some of the other pieces she had made, including a piece that required weaving 100 threads.  Unfortunately we were too mesmerized to think to take a picture.

The final stop of our brief tour was a bar.  (FYI: A bar in Italy is where you go to get a caffé. They usually also sell wine, soft drinks and snacks.  There are bars about every other block and they are usually just a small space with one or two tables. Kind of like Starbucks but with way more atmosphere, and less comfortable seating.)  This place had a large patio at the back of the bar that over looked the hills and valley below.  It was stunning.  Once again we felt so lucky to be here!

View from an overlook

Anghiari from below
One of the delightful aspects of these medieval towns (including Arezzo) is that what from the outside looks like a tiny, unassuming establishment is actually a much larger, grander place once you get inside.  We have gone into places that at first looked like they could hold only a dozen people at most, and then upon entering found spacious room upon room beyond the front entry.  It seems to be a metaphor for becoming part of the Italian family.  As an outsider it can be difficult to find your place, but once you are invited in you become part of the larger welcoming family.

The other big outing of our week was taking the city bus to the IperCoop (insert irony here).  We were looking for a reading lamp for our apartment and had been told that we might find an inexpensive one there.  We rode the bus to a major 4-lane highway.  We ended up having to walk along it to get to the store, but eventually we discovered a pedestrian walkway that got us to the parking lot safely.  IperCoop is like Fred Meyer on steroids.  It sells everything - except lamps.

As luck would have it on the way home we found several stores selling lamps that we hadn’t noticed before and one of them had the perfect lamp!  As the saying goes, “Things don’t always work out as planned, but they always work out.”

1 comment:

  1. Not only do I feel like I am enjoying this adventure with you, but the photos help me see life in a different periods. You can almost see the townsfolk in many different times, walking the same path. Just amazing! Wonderful stories and photos!