Sunday, November 10, 2013

Falling Faces, Squirrels and Late Nights

My delicious foray into the realm of Italian food continued last Sunday.  David, Fiona and I returned to the mill in Santa Maria dell' Arzilla as promised to try the homemade cooking of our friend Filipo the miller.  For the second time that week I was faced with more food than I could possibly eat.  We ordered tagliatelle and two types of polenta (the house specialty) as our prima piatti.  Similarly to the tagliatelle I made during "cooking fiascoes", it came with a tomato and pea sauce.  However, with the addition of a little meat, it blew my version out of the water.  The polenta with ragu was delicious but none of us were as impressed with the polenta with cheese.  Our il secondo (second course) was sausage and ribs.  The ribs varied greatly from those you see in an American restaurant, there was no slathered on barbecue sauce, instead the meat was seasoned simply with salt and pepper which was surprisingly very rich in flavor.

Guido Reni's Fall of the Giants
Wednesday, I started the day early with a trip to Pesaro's Musei Civici (Civic Museum).  The highlight of the trip was Giovanni Bellini's "Coronation of a Virgin".  The focus of the piece is the coronation scene rendered in vibrant, deep colors which is beautiful however my favorite aspect was the frame within the frame of the Marche region.  The surrounding frame is filled with small paintings of other allegorical scenes and saints also created in intricate detail and the beautiful colors common for paintings of the time period.  The Musei Civici also houses the Mazza Collection, a large collection of ceramics.  While ceramics are not my favorite medium, the richness of color and intricate detail of the allegorical scenes impressed me.  More aesthetically pleasing to me was the Mosca Collection, comprised of a large number of embellished cabinets.  One piece in particular was interesting, a tiny cage carved impossibly finely from ivory.  The Musei Civici is also noted for Guido Reni's "Fall of the Giants"; the musculature of the giants depicted reminds me of the anatomical realism of Michelangelo's statues.  Upon exiting the museum, I noticed a huge plate depicting Medusa's head; while the piece itself was not at all appealing to me, it had an interesting story behind it. Its creator, Ferruccio Mengaroni was crushed to death by the piece when he tried to save the piece from breaking during transport.
Giovanni Bellini's Coronation of the Virgin
Urbino's Duomo
Yesterday I journeyed to Urbino, about an hour from Pesaro to visit the Duomo di Urbino and the Palazzo Ducale which was transformed into the National Gallery of Marche.  The Duomo was not the most impressive cathedral I have seen in Italy however design wise it was unique.  As opposed to the dark colors and golds that many cathedrals are swathed in, making them beautiful but imposing, the Duomo had an airy feel to it in pastel greens and whites. The Palazzo Ducale is an interesting site to visit because you get to see history of the palace while simultaneously viewing famous artwork from the time period.  The Palazzo Ducale houses works by famous painters such as Raphael. Although the piece by Raphael was impressive, my favorite part of the museum was the Duke's study of which the walls were 3D renderings made entirely of cuttings of wood in various shades.  A little squirrel made of dark woods caught my attention and Elena and I decided he was my little pet.

My little wood squirrel pet
Unfortunately by the time Elena and I exited the Palazzo Ducale, nighttime had fallen and I was unable to see the beautiful panoramic view of the Italian hillsides that the city has to offer.  However that is just a good excuse for another trip there someday soon!  Elena and I arrived back in Pesaro fairly early however it was another late night.  I and some other Pesaro Language Exchange (PLE) members started the night at Circolo Mengaroni and made our way to Circolove and the Factory Lab.  

Chilling with PLE

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