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Sunday 25 June 2000

Two halves of a day, neither quite satisfactory, and not matching: it was OK.

The first half, predicted: S. Sebastiano reopened after 3 years, and I was there. Last night for the third in a row, woke up in the middle of the night and didn't go back to sleep for well over an hour, maybe as much as two — and slept again to 9:30, still about ten hours then.

Slithered into my black nylon trou and a long-sleeved shirt, and after my solita prima colazione of biscottes and coffee and yogurt — good local honey courtesy of the Rossi's cousin via Mrs. G., huge pot of it — and was in church, sitting in the last pew in a corner by about 10:55. Church, which looks huge from the outside, is only set up with ten pews each side of the aisle, each seating 6 comfortably: so 120 seated and maybe 150 standing, down the sides pretty packed, and across the back, and a quarter of the way down the center aisle, eventually: at first left clear for the procession in, the priest, the bishop and the young people being confirmed today.

[image ALT: A three-story building with a tower. It is the Palazzo Trinci, in Foligno, Umbria (central Italy).]
Fossato di Vico:
E transept of the church of S. Sebastiano
Rather good choir, mix of music 19c Verdi style thru late 20c we‑have-flowers-in-our-hair-and-the-sun-is‑shining; a particularly fine baritone, but also good control and dynamics. Otherwise the service was a bust: you couldn't hear or understand, at least about half the congregation couldn't, anyway; the bishop's homily — he a soft-spoken man in his sixties something like John Paul I — was inaudible from one end to the other. Mikes didn't help, and occasionally produced some nasty feedback. Still, I was oddly moved especially at the beginning (considering my tenuous connection: the 1997 earthquake and Bob Pattelli's grandparents), but also at the confirmation — Alessandra, Chiara, Marta. . . Pietro, Gianmaria, Daniele (2 of 'em actually), Bernardo, Pasquale. . . nearly twice as many boys as girls — and after the Mass, a group photo with the Bishop, who finally looked a bit happy — and fifty years from now, after life has finished and done with them, one of the girls will have been destroyed by some man, another'll be a nun, the boys one will be killed in some fool war, the other will be the town drunk, two or three will have paunches and families, one will run a small bank, and maybe one of 'em will be happy. . . .​a

After Mass, back here and made myself some pasta and a tomato, and decided I needed to get away (even if it meant missing the 6 P.M. procession thru the streets), and I got this idea that I could go to Jesi, which I had a choice of leaving at 1839, or at 2145 if I found a nice restaurant.

So down to the station for the 1439 train, 60 km ticket 5300L I think; Fabriano, Genga, Castelplanio, Jesi pretty much evenly spaced 15 minutes apart: and Jesi — quite dead. Paolo just told me the whole town packs itself off to the beach on Sundays — Anyway, much like Fano two or three years ago, except at least not unpleasant, just quite dead. Withal, brick and mostly 16c‑19c, no one particular striking monument, except for the fortifications but then I've never been big on barbicans and posterns and things. The Palazzo della Signoria should have been nice — huge brick hulk with some excellent stone sculpture, guidebook says late 15c — but all sotto ponteggio, ditto the (less interesting) S. Floriano complex.

A little group some ways out of the real centro storico down the corso Matteotti: the Madonna delle Grazie, largish not unattractive brick Gothic, rather plain; across the street, an amusingly kitchy monument to Pergolesi, born here (saw a plaque elsewhere on a house, stating that he'd been born "nearby"), but mostly for me, the very nice small plain Gothic church of S. Nicolò 12c‑13c, with a very simple 14c door: about the only building in town I really liked.

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La chiesa S. Nicolò di Jesi.

The Duomo a cold neoclassical thing with the Bishop's name scrawled clear across the façade just like at St Peter's; inside though, two wonder­ful lions, larger than life, of a veined red stone with holy-water stoups on their backs, maybe 12c. It had started to drizzle a bit, and I never saw the slightest trace of a restaurant nor felt the slightest desire to go find one: at 1810 I was at the station, had a tramezzino, a small beer and an 80g chocolate bar. Train at 1839, fairly solid rain on the way back, clearing up at Fabriano. Beer a mistake — I really'm getting awfully sensitive to alcohol — this time, it made me very drowsy — but a nice cool windy faint drizzle 2 km walk back home from the stazione here set me aright again. A couple of ounces of pasta, some strawberries, a couple of glasses of milk, voilà. (Walking today: down to the station and back: 2 × 2 km).

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Duomo of Jesi: lions in Veronese broccatello marble
by Giorgio da Como (floruit 1227‑1257).

Later Note:

a The passage is enough for the reader to see what I think of the human condition. The ultimate moral, the same as Schopenhauer's: for God's sake leave your politics at the door, and treat each other decently. It is all we have.

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