Sunday, March 8, 2015


We are so thankful for the friendship of Nancy and Luther. They have brought great richness of interest to our lives. Luther found an art show in the city of Forli' and so we went off to explore together. The city is in the provice of Emilia-Romagna, a province we haven't really explored. It was about an hour and a half from Umbertide, on a road that took us through snow covered hills and then wound through the plains until we reached our destination.

Forli' has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Like many towns in Italy, it has a complicated history of rulership, by the Lombards, the Papal States, they then sided with Frederic the Second against Pope Gregory IX, and so it continued. The city was bombed in World War II but quickly rebuilt itself and is now a prosperous area.

We went to the Musei San Domenico. It was built in the early 1800's as a hospital and then was later converted to a monastery. It has been restored in the last decade and is a fantastic site for art.

The artist that we saw was Giovanni Boldini, an unknown artist to me. He was born in 1842 and died in 1931. He was part of the Parisian school of portrait painters and was referred to as the Master of Swish because of the flowing style of his painting. He loved the women, and they apparently loved him, or at least loved being painted by him.

The dresses that he painted were mesmerizing. The fabrics and movement and light was almost hypnotic. The women that he painted were all beautiful and gracious, and rich! Such a fantasy world to step into. If you love Edgar Degas, I think you would also enjoy this exhibition. It is superbly presented and it runs through June 14th. For us it was quite worth the trip.

The town of Forli' was an interesting stop, although probably not worth more than an afternoon without a major art exhibit.

This is a picture of the Abbey of San Mercuriale, one of the major sites in town. It is of the Lombard-Romanesque style and was finished in the 13th century.

Forli' also has an Eataly food store. This high end food chain was founded by Oscar Farinetti. It is described by the New York Times as "megastore that combines elements of the open market, a Whole Foods Style supermarket and a high-end food court." It reminded some of us of a large Trader Joe's. The chain is a bit controversial in Italy, as you can imagine. We enjoyed shopping there and agreed with the sign.

Life is too short to eat or drink poorly! We agree.

We were off to lunch at a place that Nancy found in Slow Food..Salume'

The food was interesting and the people were reallly gracious and generous.

The menu was hand written. We had 
Baby squid stuffed with breadcrumbs, garlic, parseley on a pureed pea sauce
A pasta called olive leaves with cauliflower, olives and bacon and a lovely marscapone for dessert.

The young chef, on the right, really wants to go to NYC to cook. We tried to convince him to try San Francisco. I think the owner thought he should stay where he is and learn English!

In other breaking news. Our car is no longer illegal! Unbeknownst to us, we had not received a "libretto" which showed that we had clear ownership of the car. We had only a temporary piece of paper that did not have all of the official stamps. You can imagine this was a problem. So it arrived last night, and now we can be stopped by the police and not worry.

Finally, today is International Women's Day. It is a big holiday here. It was first celebrated on March 8, 1946. Italy had just come out of WWII and although women had gained the right to vote, they were not able to exercise it until June 6, 1946. Teresa Noce, Rita Montagnana and Teresa Mattei selected the mimosa flowers as the symbol for "Internatioanl Womens' Fight and Celebration". They chose the flower because it is readily available in the spring and everyone could afford to wear it.  Antonietta had recieved two bunches of flowers so she insisted I take one of hers.

Happy International Women's Day!

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