A shared life of art, food and soul in two towns an ocean apart: Panicale, Italy and Peterborough, New Hampshire, each lying on the 43rd Parallel.
Parallel Towns, Parallel Lives - much the same and yet very different.
Transatlantic Journal is a weekly reflection on making art, food and friends over four seasons in our town in Italy and our town in New Hampshire.
We hope you will follow us on this journey.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
PALIMPSESTS OF ITALY
Before the invention of paper, European Scribes wrote on dried lambs skin called vellum. (The texture of artist's drawing papers still referred to as vellum). Vellum was expensive, so in order to reuse the sheets, the old letters were scraped off, leaving behind a faint trace of the old text. These faint remains are called palimpsests. A walk through Panicale reveals many traces of old doors, windows and plaques, all forming a wonderful Panicalese Palimpsest.
The highest level of the town, Piazza Masolino, is named after the hometown (disputed) hero artist, Tommaso Fini (1383-1447). He is better known as Masolino da Panicale. He made a name for himself in Florence and Rome.
Piazza Mascolino is the old Civic center of town with the Gothic Lombard Campanile ( bell tower) where the town records are stored. During an attack it was also the refuge of last resort.
The old arch is still visible on the house of the Podesta or Medieval Town Mayor. Taste was turning toward the rectangular Renaissance window and door frames.
From the Sketchbook
Piazza Sant' Michele Archangelo
pencil on paper
The next level is the religious piazza Sant' Michele Archangelo. The church was built around 1000AD, but, in 1696 the Baroque had arrived and the exterior was "modernized" in the prevailing taste.
The next level is the business/ social center, Piazza Umberto. Here the proud citizens would erect plaques to commemorate visits from important Popes, as Panicale is walled and high above the plain there was a reduced risk of malaria and bandits. It became a favorite stop over between Perugia and Florence.
A memorial stone commemorating the visit of Pope Innocent III in 1216, in typical Italian fashion, an electrician drilled a hole in it for wires.