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(A Boar, a Lion and a Bird)

Thursday 17 September 1998

(Still with abnormal sore throat, that woke me up briefly at 4 A.M.)

The day before yesterday, then, Tuesday 15th; more laundry in the middle of the night, added it to the batch still hanging on the terrace that of course didn't dry at all, in that rainstorm: on the other hand, nicely rinsed. . . .

At 0820 Linda and Gianluca and I were in the street, off to experience the lures of Búdino, much vaunted by me the day before. But still, I felt she should see it.

[image ALT: A hideously snarling contorted quadruped with claws, held by a rope: whatever is holding it is off-photo. It is a depiction of St. Anthony of the Desert's wild pig, in a foc in the church of S. Maria di Costantinopoli at Budino, Umbria (central Italy).]

Fiamenga, church of S. Maria di Costantinopoli, detail: the wild pig that identifies the fresco as representing St. Anthony Abbot. Notice the leash.

Pit-stop at Fiamenga first; Gianluca has a good deal more guts than I do, and goes and asks to see things; mind you here we were just standing in the street outside the West, older, church — now I have a name to attach to it, S. M. di Costantinopoli — and a car stopped and the driver asked us if we wanted to look inside. Turns out he was the local archeology buff, Silvano Berna: he later showed us several scrapbooks on the archeology of the area, including some very good photographs of Budino and some maps following the work of a Folignate engineer named Piermarini (this when I expressed an interest in the centuriation and road schemes: altho' I'm not quite as convinced that the numerous towers are Roman or on Roman bases).

Anyway, S. Maria di Costantinopoli has some nice frescoes inside — website fodder — and yes, I was right last year, the stone is Roman. A bit of milling, then we met Don Gianni, the parroco of Fiamenga (and Búdino, Cave and Macerátola); a man of about 32 or so, who gave us the grand tour of the East (newer) church, now attaching a name for me, S. Giovanni (Evangelista). The church was originally oriented, possibly, perpendicular to the Flaminia — a Romanesque wall remains in the sacristy — but was expanded 90° around, along the road. Cupola hit rather bad by the earthquake last year, inagibile. Roman funerary stone, an interesting one, 'round the back, and a small piece of Romanesque lion and rinceau on the façade of the church: I missed it last year; not as observant as I could be.

[image ALT: An irregularly-shaped fragment of marble maybe 50 cm long and 20 cm high, depicting a lion or similar animal chowing down on a vine. It is embedded in a brick stone and mortar wall. It is a fragment of a Romanesque sculpture in Fiamenga, near Foligno, Umbria (central Italy).]

From there to Búdino — partly cloudy but very pleasant, Linda and Gianluca much amused by my occasional ejaculatory prayers to S. Maria del Bucato: I really need to have clean dry clothes. . . .

From Silvano I learned that 'my' building at Budino was in fact the Benedictine abbey of S. Angelo del Rosario, a dependency of Sassovivo and, as with so many Benedictine & Cistercian foundations, heavily involved in draining and clearing land — in this case, redraining the flood plain of the Topino after the collapse of Rome that'd already drained it the first time. So off to Búdino — not very impressive, and I saw no more this time than last, 'cept now I know that under that celent ivy — hedera — there's a Romanesque church apse, the trilobate apse with blind arcading, the whole works: Silvano had pix from 1980 . . .

And the Madonna del Bucato having been favorable, I got back home to find clean dry laundry: Linda and Gianluca left for Ferrara, and I went to bed.

Yesterday Wed. 16 I alarm-clocked at 0650 with a vague idea of going to Narni and walking to Amelia then to Attigliano, where an 1845‑or‑so train to Orte would eventually get me back home after about 28 km walk and two new comuni: a first contact with Amelia. Well I did get to Narni Scalo at 0900, and I did walk to Amelia: cool day, nice countryside. After that. . . .

[image ALT: A small bird in a cage, throat raised and beak open. It is a pet mynah in Fornole, near Amelia, Umbria (central Italy).]
	At about 1 km from Narni Scalo, Cigliano nothing much, still within Narni; S. Pellegrino at 3 km is the top of the hill, more nothing much — less, actually, 'cept for a quarrying operation, strip-mining much of the hill to the north. Fórnole on the other hand, at 6 km, is rather nice, with a modern church and a little street between it and the S gate, in which I had a ten-minute conversation with a mynah bird (merlo indiano). It whastle, bazz, clack, imitated a TV announcer, called a local dog named Ettore and a woman Gloria, and did a wonder­ful bell-like imitation of an ambulance siren: all of which I repeated, to which it replied, seeming enjoying it much. Its imitation of wooden shutters being screaked open on their metal hinges was 'way beyond me, so I tried to teach it English, but that didn't work, and it wouldn't meow for me either. . . As for an actual tune, I'm afraid I was condescending: I gave it

[image ALT: Broken chord]

and it immediately replied with

[image ALT: Broken chord, ornamented]

and in general I came away with the feeling that it was offended.​a Anyhow, that was Fornole.

Later Note:

a Years later, reading Plutarch, I was suddenly made to realize, and was grateful for it, that it was just as well that I didn't come up with something my friend couldn't imitate: Plut., On the Intelligence of Animals, 973C.

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Page updated: 7 Dec 20