Monday, September 30, 2013

Know Your Saints

In spite of dire warnings from our GPS, Donna decided to take the Passe della Croce Arcana route to Pietrasanta our 3rd destination.    This turned out to be quite an adventure; Bernie was convinced we were on the wrong road since the dirt and rock were not much improved since the Longobards built it in 9th century.   At the top of the Pass, stunning views, there is a ski area in the winter (near Abetone) and great hiking in the summer.
Near the Top of the Pass with shrubs showing fall foliage

Pietrasanta is between the sea and the  incredibly steep mountains of the  Apuan Alps, next to Carrara and Saravezza where Michaelangelo got his marble.  Marble businesses and death defying quarries are everywhere.  There is so much marble here we even found a bridge made of it.

Fishing Pier at Forte dei Marme near Pietrasanta
Marble quarry near Seravezza/Carrara

 Talk about death defying… lets talk about the double black diamond path to our little cottage here.  Good news was that there was a lift for the luggage.  See picture attached.  So every day we go up and down this trail, about 50 Meters with an elevation gain of seems-like 200 meters.  And you don’t have to pay extra for this. 
The bad news was we forgot 2 deal breakers …no internet and no laundry in this rental.  Donna was in withdrawal until we could get to an internet point and check emails.  Today she stood out in the rain in front of the closed internet point typing into her IPHONE a Fibonacci sequence user ID and Password.  All this for only a few emails…come on guys, say hello or something.

On our first rainy day we spent a few hours at Sant’Anna.  A WWII resistance and memorial museum is located here at the site of the German massacre of about 500 Italian civilians mostly women and children.  The  museum in Parco Nazionale della Pace,  high above PietraSanta and  the sea on top of a super switched back road (are there any other kind in Italy?). It is a moving memorial to a horrific war crime.  In particular, the story of the resistance fighters in the area is poignantly shown in pictures and narrative and newspaper articles.  We used our Italian dictionary app to mostly translate words like “capture”, “torture”, “kill” and “victims”.  The English language interpretation of the narrative is in the works, but we understood that the Germans used whatever means to hold Versili which is the  area of Italy where we are staying. This was at great cost to the Italian partisans and civilians during 1943 and 1944.  The link to the web site is

Earlier that same rainy day, we spent at the Museo San Matteo in Pisa.  With lots of English narrative to provide context, we got a wonderful sense of Pisan religious art from the 12th through the 15th century.  Donna delights in looking at a tryptic and trying to name the saints…Bernie gets into it too.  We are batting 1000 on John the Baptist and St Catherine, so long as she has her wheel.  But even the curators can screw up….see photo of this tryptic of Madonna and Saints and see the manual correction in the credits.  How could you not know it was St Lorenzo, 2nd from Left?

 Perhaps we are losing our minds from too much wine, but we delight in looking at the face of Madonnas in the Annuniciations.  (this is when the Angel tells Mary she is going to have the Baby Jesus).  The expressions run the gamut of “are you kidding me”, “I am going to be famous one day”, “OMG”, and “ wow this is such an honor, I hope I can live up to this”.  In Pisa, we saw a room full of powerful/bigger than life wooden sculptures of the annuniciation duo.  Let us know what you think Mary was thinking in the following picture. 

Just so you know we aren’t missing anything…we loved our day in Pisa at the Leaning Tower, Duomo and Baptistry.  We also hiked the Cinque Terre but due to a landslide between 2 of the Lands  it was only the Tre Terre.

Also spent a day in the Garfagnana…aka the Alpuani Alpes.    We were blessed with beautiful weather for these sights.  This is an area of Italy we had never been to and we were not disappointed with its natural splendors.

And then there was the food....








  1. Hey I wanted to post but didn't have an account with any of these things and finally figured out how to set up an aim account, let's see if this works.

  2. AHHH Technology! We have been watching and enjoying your posts. The food and scenery looks awesome and glad you are learning and playing!

  3. It certainly seems like you two are having the time of your lives. Well, at least, the time of your lives in 2013. I am quite amazed at your research and scholarship concerning this trip. You are educating me also. It looks as if there will be a shutdown. There are not words to express my feelings..........So much effort to prevent 43,000 million Americans, most of them living under the poverty line, from getting health care. That certainly is something to be proud about. My kids got kicked out of Yellowstone, a trip they had been in the planning for one year. I spent the day at The Bells. Hiked Crater Lake and did the scenic route. A small crowd today - about 600 visitors. Bells close tomorrow. Pitkin County has filed lawsuit againt the USFS to keep road open. Stay in Italy. Have fun. Miss you.

  4. I guess I need to start reading the newspaper....I am so out of the loop.....