Saturday, February 05, 2005

Part II: Crossing Italy with the Monster (5/24/02)

The convent where we are staying, at least for tonight, is actually no longer a convent; a few years ago the nuns deeded it to some foundation, which rents out rooms to guests and continues to use the building and grounds for charitable purposes. It offers a splendid view of the lake and town of Bolsena, and Sheila loves it, which makes me think it was perhaps worth coming to after all. The building dates from the 17th century, I believe.

Two more items, then I need to close. (Since I lost my original message, I have already been on the Net about an hour longer than I had intended.) On the way to Siena on Monday, the bus I was on skirted a place called Poggibonsi. That name intrigued me, and I wondered where I had heard it before. Finally, later that night, I remembered: it was where the messengers of Pope Julius II had caught up with Michelangelo after the two had fallen into a dispute over the artist's pay, and Michelangelo had simply up and left and headed back to Tuscany. The messengers may have added some threats to their admonitions, but in any event Pope and sculptor eventually made up, with the latter outliving the former and finally dying at age 89.

The other item is that I took Sheila to see the Adriatic last evening, as I had mentioned I would do. She loved it, which convinced me that this was a better decision than a visit to San Marino would have been, given the fact that we could not do both. So while we celebrated our wedding anniversary on the beach north of Ravenna, Sheila collected seashells for our kids, while her sentimental and romantically-inclined husband pondered a famous Churchill speech, to-wit, the one that began thus: "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended upon the Continent."




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