Tuesday, May 19, 2015


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
James Aponovich
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.

{week 38}
Copyright 2015 James Aponovich

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