Friday, December 22, 2017

A Year Along the Crostolo


Last year I had to visit a couple of Doctors for two minor health problems. Each one said that as part of the cure, I had to walk half hour every day. Seems to be a cure all these days.

There is a linear park near where I live that follows, what we all consider to be, a rather squalid little torrent called “Il Crostolo”. In the Summer it is bone dry for many weeks, whilst in the winter it can be a raging torrent. Over time the river has been regimented with flood prevention works at various points.
The Park starts here and my walks/bike rides finshed here as the furthest point up the river.

The torrent winds its way between the houses where the well-kept park starts. As one follows it out of town the houses slowly disappear and it starts to be surrounded by farmland. The thin park each side of the river gets ever more like a wilderness as one climbs the torrent. At certain points it is difficult to imagine you are in a very urbanised area.







To make my daily walk, or as it evolved bike ride a bit less boring, I decided to carry a little camera to document the torrent over the year. I also wanted to try to see if I could make some interesting photographs of a nondescript place like “Il Crostolo”.









I found to my surprise that this linear park along the river had a certain subtle beauty. I also found this little photographic challenge that I set myself quite fascinating.








The year started well with the river frozen over, which was very photogenic. Soon it was Spring with its fresh greens and flowers. The Summer brought a barren dried out riverbed. Autumn brought the first rain and water to the torrent again, together with the Autumn leaves.




  

Now I have come to the end of the year I have put together a little Ebook and I will make myself a Blurb book with results I got with my little camera. I used a Panasonic LX100 which is very compact, but also has a largish sensor. The limited zoom range and the simplicity of operation made this a perfect tool for this task for some reason.  






















Crostolo year2? I am thinking about it.




Saturday, December 9, 2017

On a film set. Commessagio


Just a few kilometres north of  Sabbioneta, Vespasiano Gonzaga’s perfect city in the Po Valley is the small village of Commessagio. It is an agricultural centre just like many around Mantova(Mantua). But the entrance to the village is via a boat bridge, a curiosity that makes it worth a visit.

Commessagio, Mantova.

Commessagio, Mantova

Commessagio, Mantova

Commessagio, Mantova

The countryside around here is criss-crossed with irrigation and drainage canals, some of them quite large. This area like much of the Po Valley was marshland in ancient times. Over the centuries farming land has been reclaimed. Commessagio sits on a major irrigation canal that dates back to the fifteenth century at least.
Commessagio, Mantova

Commessagio, Mantova
Commessagio, Mantova
When you arrive at the boat bridge, you see a huge brick fortified tower on the other side. This was built by Vespasiano Gonzaga in 1583  to protect the canal crossing and more importantly it was a sign of the power of this local ruler. The whole scene is quite spectacular.
Commessagio, Mantova

Commessagio, Mantova

Commessagio, Mantova

Commessagio, Mantova
This backdrop was used by the all-round Italian intellectual Pasolini for his grotesquely unwatchable art film “Salo, 120 days of Sodom” an adaption of the work by the Marchese de Sade transposed to the dying days of Italian Fascism. Pasolini was murdered in murky circumstances soon after the completion of this film in 1975. The place has hardly changed.
Commessagio, Mantova

Commessagio, Mantova
A nice surprise was that the tower was open and one can climb up to the top for a nice view of the surrounding countryside.
Commessagio, Mantova

Commessagio, Mantova

Commessagio, Mantova
 
The Po Valley around Mantova has a certain undescribed sleepy atmosphere, Commessagio was no exception.
River Po,Viadana Mantova