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mail: Bill Thayer 
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Sunday 9 July

in my office

Bells clanging the end of Mass just as I set up here, with the fourth or fifth cup of strong tea; last night, woke up to a very rough half-hour of coughing. . . Damn thing.

Anyway, yesterday's entry abandoned in midsentence: I fell asleep on the train! Booby always awake always alert, somewhere after Trevi, to wake up from the stuffy heat as we stood at M. S. Oreste — instincts took over right away, amusingly, started looking around for the Soracte, also wondering what the hell there was about the area the Horace thought wuz so nifty, but couldn't see it: then again Horace wasn't stuck in a train at a siding somewhere (and when he was, we hear about it!) —

Anyhow, that tripod never got used in Senigallia; the only serious visit I did was of the Rocca, under the guidance of a young man serving out his 10 months of civil service as an assistant guide there. He was very good at it: an intelligent, lively, flexible, enthusiastic commentary, bouncing along with my questions. He has a degree in forestry, seems clearly made to be a teacher, and his students will be lucky.

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The entrance (the SW face) of the Rocca of Senigallia.

From the outside in its pristine squareness and its neat symmetrical towers, you'd never expect the Rocca to conceal the jumble of passages and rooms it does: chimneys that lead nowhere, the builders having changed their minds immediately, so blocked off by staircases; alluvium and defensive works burying below ground a number of cannon ports; a narrow slip of vertical shaft I could barely wriggle into, where eight feet off the floor remains of a fresco of S. Barbara — late 16c from the looks of the inscription — she and her tower being, logically, the patron saint of the artillery and the Rocca housed an artillery school for a while; tunnels now leading to dead ends; a small stretch of the pre-Albornoz or pre-Rovere city walls deep inside the building suddenly; a larger chunk of Roman walls with the characteristic corrosion by mollusks showing they'd plunged into the Mediterranean back then; and — invisible, uninvestigated for lack of funds, a 6 m differential in the plans: who knows what lies inside that.

Also, one small réduit that they did open up recently: to find a skeleton and a well. The forensic people concluded that the poor guy had been walled up there alive, but next to a well to prolong his torments. To me, seems a poor use of a well; but there were others and room enough to store a year's worth of food — as well as an icebox, a bathroom-sized sort of basin or pot to be stacked at the top with ice and straw: at the bottom some small arched openings — my understanding of it about nil, but I took pix dutifully. A corps de logis with handsome carved doors and windows, Renaissance; ducal crests and sphinxes with oak trees and the complex repeatedly quartered arms of Naples-Aragon — well worth the 5ML entrance cost, which included a couple brochures both available in English — one fairly good translation, the other abysmal.

To say nothing of the cool, and a little tap of drinking water right by the ticket booth; I bored the two young women there with via Flaminia etc. — shouldn't say that, they actually were interested in spots, and asked for my URL.


[image ALT: The stone pavement of a very old street, about 1 meter wide. It is the remains of a Roman street in Sena Gallica, modern Senigallia, on the Adriatic coast of Italy, in the Marche.]
The remains of a Roman street
of Sena Gallica.
I've since learned that there is a bit of the Roman port apparently still visible (wooden staking was what impressed my source: Paolo and Mario's brother-in‑law from Fabriano); nobody anywhere, nor any of my books, told me that: and I did go to the APT etc. in an effort to find out how to gain access to the patch of Roman road or street that I did see, from nearly 2 storeys above, under the Teatro La Fenice (a movie theatre).

[and if you need it, here's help in using the map,
including my own symbols & added information.]

So that was Senigallia: hot but pleasant. I ate two slices of pizza and an ice-cream, and drank the usual horrific amount of mostly water, and came back by the train leaving S. at 1803 putting me in Fossato at 1933. Walking up the hill quietly, I still passed and slightly frightened an 85‑year‑old woman: we fell to talking (mostly about the general uselessness of life, curiously); interestingly, when she was scared, it was because she thought it might be a wild animal — not some kind of thug, as urban Booby would have thought.

To bed after noodles, olive oil, 5 cooked tomatoes; more fluids.

Yesterday, [. . .]

There; pretty much caught up. This morning I awoke at 10:10, in part because of my coughing fit then the 7 A.M. bangings. Feel much better now, altho my voice still isn't completely back, and I'm sniffling. Don't intend to waste the whole day entirely despite it all, but to go to Colbassano around sixish. In the meanwhile, housecleaning, sheets (shouldn't have washed both at once: only room to hang one at a time!), and the endless scribbling, with a letter to Debi right behind this. Tomorrow I'm expecting to get myself up at 0500 and climb M. Cucco before the heat; and Tuesday thru Thursday: Norcia for the Rachmaninoff Vespers in S. Benedetto, and a walk to Preci and — the first serious item of my whole trip (not very pleased with myself so far) — the Triponzo inscription.


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Page updated: 1 Feb 10