Monday, May 21, 2018

Marco Emilio Lepido Points the Way Forward




Whilst I was out on my Saturday stroll through town before meeting a friend for our weekly “aperitivo”, I came across this motley bunch of far-left demonstrators.
Reggio Emilia








I think it had something to do with Palestine, but it looked more like the “Anni di Piombo” (years of lead) generation meeting up for a demonstration to regain their lost youth and talk about more formidable times.





Meanwhile Senator Marco Emilio Lepido points us to the new that advances. One half of our new government were out canvasing for members at the end of the street where our city’s Roman founder was pointing.






We are all very apprehensive about what lies ahead for Italy we are all hoping that this new Government will be a breath of fresh air and resolve some of our tremendous problems like youth unemployment and the sense of insecurity we feel in our cities right now.


W





Thursday, April 12, 2018

A Natuale Bridge - Il Ponte d'Ercole.


Hidden away in a forest near Monzone a small hamlet near Pavullo, MO is a remarkable natural arch with a free span of 33m.  
Ponte d'Ercole, Monzone, MO

Ponte d'Ercole, Monzone, MO
I was searching the web for another place when I came across this curious place. It was quite difficult to track down and to find the exact location on the map. But once I arrived at Monzone, and found the start of the footpath, it was quite well signposted and after a short half hour walk I arrived.
Ponte d'Ercole, Monzone, MO

Ponte d'Ercole, Monzone, MO

Ponte d'Ercole, Monzone, MO
I misjudged the fact that the snow whilst entirely gone in the mountains above Reggio, was still present in the Apennines above Modena.

It seems the top of the arch was at one time the sill of a waterfall where the water over time hollowed out the softer rock below the sill and eventually formed the natural arch. The arch is a couple of meters wide and it is possible to walk across it.
Ponte d'Ercole, Monzone, MO

Ponte d'Ercole, Monzone, MO

Ponte d'Ercole, Monzone, MO
Archaeological excavations have found evidence that from prehistoric times right though to the middle ages, this place was used for rituals. Part of the arch seems to have been remodelled with a small font at one end ot the arch and a couple of holes to let water pass bore through just above it.

The Apennines continues to surprise me with these curious places that I come across quite by accident.     
Ponte d'Ercole, Monzone, MO




Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Architecture of Death

The Municipal Cemetery in Modena (Italy) must be one of the few cemeteries where an “Archistar” has been called in. I came across this place in Modena thanks to a magazine article.

Cemeteries in Italy are one of the strange things here. Little boxes are piled high one above the other to hold the dead. They are often multi storey structures. The little frail old ladies who climb the dangerous looking step ladders the council provide to place flowers always amaze me.

The workings of these cemeteries are quite macabre. On popping off, you start out in a normal coffin and then every so often the coffin gets opened and the remains moved to an ever-smaller box. This is to make more room in the family tomb or a move to a smaller cheaper little box. The orange building in this set is the final destination with the smallest boxes, called the “Osario”, translated “Ossuary” .

This cemetery was designed by Aldo Rossi a famous Italian architect and intellectual. It was built in the late 70’s.


Aldo Rossi was a Professor of Architectural Composition, which is the very subject that this poor English Engineer was told was missing from his qualifications to allow a mutual EU recognition of my British qualifications. I had to spend a 6 month “apprenticeship” with an Italian Engineer to learn this vital requisite for an Engineer.














Friday, February 2, 2018

Two Passes, Ospedalaccio and Pradarena


January has not been great as far as the weather is concerned, so I have just done two short walks in the Apennines so far this year.
Valle dell Inferno from cerreto Pass
The first walk I did was from the Cerreto Pass up to the Ospedelaccio Pass. The name of the pass tells us that there was once a hostel in the middle ages for travellers crossing the Apennines. The route across the Apennines changed and the hostel fell into disuse. 

Passo del Ospedalaccio, Toscana meets Emilia

Passo Ospedalaccio

Passo Ospedalaccio
 Crossing the Apennines was once a hazardous business with bandits and bad weather in winter laying in ambush. Crossing from Liguria to the Po valley would take several days on foot or by mule. These “hospedali” usually run by monks provided shelter and food. The only trace that remains of them today are the place names like Ospedaletto on the way to the Pradarena Pass. Confusingly Hospital in Italian is “Ospedale” rather than “Ostello” which would be the modern equivalent.  


Passo Ospedalaccio

Passo Cerreto
Returning I was rewarded with a splendid sunset.

Passo Cerreto

Passo Cerreto

Passo Cerreto
My second walk was from Pradarena Pass, up over Monte Asinara and down to the Comunella Pass.


Passo Pradarena RE

Passo Pradarena RE
The snow we had before Christmas has nearly all gone and just present on the Northern slopes of the mountain ridge.
Monte Asinara, RE

Monte Asinara, RE

Monte Cusna from Monte Asinara, RE

Monte Cavalbianco dal Monte Asinara RE

Monte Asinara, RE

Alpi Apuani from Monte Asinara
As always this is a nice little walk with some lovely views. The beech woods have created some interesting landscapes that are always interesting to photograph.


Monte Asinara

Passo della Comunella MS

Passo Comunella MS

Passo Comunella MS

Passo della Comunella, MS

Passo della Comunella, MS

Monte Cusna

Passo della Comunella MS

Passo Comunella MS

Passo Pradarena