Monday, May 29, 2006

Verona, Verona, wherefore art thou, Verona?

Here are some other pictures and stories from our afternoon in beautiful, ancient Verona.

A few centurions stand outside the arena.

Approaching the Piazza dei Signori from the vegetable market, Piazza delle Erbe.

A statue of Dante Alighieri stands in the Piazza dei Signori, which is why it's sometimes also called Piazza Dante. It's in the heart of Verona's medieval section. Dante spent his years of exile in Verona, as a guest of the ruler, Scaglieri. Here's a closer look at Dante's statue:

Just to the right of Dante in the picture, you can a statue above the arch. This is of Girolamo Fracastoro, a physician, scientist, and poet. Back in the 1500s Girolamo proposed a theory that diseases were caused by microorganisms! The ancient Veronese must have thought him crazy. One of Girolamo's poems centers on a character named Sifilo. That's where we get the word "syphilis." And here's Girolamo:

One of many lions in Verona. The lion is the symbol of St. Mark, patron saint of nearby Venice. Verona was under the rule of La Serenissima for about four centuries, so the lion is represented all over the city in the region. Our guide told us the Veronese say there are more lions in their town than in Africa.

I believe this particular lion is near the Piazza delle Erbe, but unfortunately I can't be sure. We saw so many sights that afternoon in Verona, it was hard to keep track of what was what. So if you can fill in the details, please add it to the comments on this blog, per favore.

Calgon, take me away!!! Please.

Thursday, May 25th.

Okay. So we get off the autostrada in mainland Venice, and come to the end of the auto portion of the trip. We'll next take a water taxi to take us to the islands. Here in the Piazzale Roma, what do I see?

Good heavens!! (For my non-Palousian friends, I work on the Washington State University campus, in PULLMAN.) Thanks to Sandy for drawing this bar to my attention!

As it turned out, we ran into more reminders of home. This one tickled the Scandinavian Lutherans in our party. (Roger and Dennis - are you sending your people to check up on me?)

Genoa's Cathedral of San Lorenzo.

I made it a point to visit many of these spots in Italy.

This confessional was in Genoa's medieval San Lorenzo cathedral.

But enough with the baring of my soul. (It would take a verrrrrrrrrrrrry long blog.)

The Cathedral of San Lorenzo was consecrated in 1118. This makes it older than Milan's Duomo by more than two centuries! However, the distinctive black-and-white striped exterior was added in the 1500s.

This is the arch above the cathedral entrance. It was hard for me to get a wide shot of the outside of the cathedral, because the square in front of it is astonishingly small, so one cannot step back far enough to get a shot of the facade without special equipment. But get a good look at the facade at this site. (When you get to the page, you may have to click on "skip this ad" to see the photo.)

San Lorenzo holds many relics, including remains long believed to be those of John the Baptist. This is the chapel of San Giovanni Battista.

Detail above the altar.

The remains were stolen in Turkey. Are they really John's? As our guide Fausta said, that's not really the issue for the Genovese. What matters is their faith, that their city is protected by that particular saint.

Her are more pictures of the interior of San Lorenzo.

Last Supper, by Procaccino (I think!).

In the chapel of John the Baptist are three statues of Christiany's strongest mother figures: Eve, Mary and John's mother Elizabeth. It was nice to see Eve in the mix. Opposite the mothers are strong fathers, including St. Joseph. But you'll see Christ's legal guardian in several other spots in the San Lorenzo Cathedral. He's a pretty popular guy.

Now, this statue of St. Joseph is not in the John the Baptist chapel, but on the opposite end of the San Lorenzo cathedral. I really liked it. It's rare to see Jesus portrayed as a child - not an infant or toddler, but a child, and a cheerful one at that. (I really miss my little Joseph back home now!)

When you spend time with Gillian, your guardian angel has to work overtime.

We were in a museum in Genoa - either Palazzo Rosso or Palazzo Bianco, I can't remember which - and quite by accident, got this great shot of Sandy placed just so, against that stunning fresco. Dear Sandy, a sweet angel herself. We tried to corrupt her, but she was obviously traveling with Higher Powers.

I'm back home in Moscow now, late on Sunday night. It took about 27 hours of travel to get here, beginning in Venice with a 5AM boat ride from the hotel directly to the Marco Polo airport; then on to an Alitalia flight to Milan, then an SAS flight to Copenhagen. There our plane was delayed by an hour, as it had been struck by lightning and they wanted to do a thorough check before we boarded. None of us had any problem with that delay! Then a 10-hour flight to Seattle, and finally on the good old Horizon back to Pullman-Moscow.

After leaving Genoa it was hard to blog, partly because all of our events ran late into the night; partly because my room in Venice, gorgeous as it was, was so small there wasn't a table on which I could set up the laptop; partly because wireless access at a nearby internet point cost a lot; but mostly because I was pretty well wiped out every night.

I did jot notes each night, though, and with those I'll pick up where I left off and you should see new entries over the next couple of weeks. (I'm also waiting for my tourmates to get back and share their pictures, and post the best ones.)

Off to bed now, perchance to rise and play with photo editing software.

Buona notte...