martedì 29 luglio 2008

Cortona Friends and Neighbors

Cortona is the county seat of one of the largest comuni in Italy. The city administration is in charge of 324 sq. KM. That's a lot of land populated by about 30,000 people. 2,000 or so of these people live within the city walls of Cortona

This is a picture of the town hall of Cortona.This is the view of the town hall which can be seen as you approach from Via Nazionale, ancient east-west road. Via Nazionale is of course a new name inspired by unification of Italy as the United Kingdom of Italy under the House of Savoy which happened in 1861. There had been many previous changes in government over the centuries which translated into changes in the architecture of the town hall. We'll tell you more about that another day.
Getting back to the history of Il Palazzo Comunale...
It was constructed more or less on the crossroads of ancient Cortona. In Roman times it was common practice to plan and construct a main east-west road (decumano) and north-south road (cardo) in each town and the place that would serve as the gathering point to make city government policy would be planned at the crossing point. The Cortona comune lies more or less at that point. Thus, it was the habit of former mayor, Ilio Pasquì, when welcoming visitors to the city in the formal Sala dei Consigli (Council Chambers) to open his speeches with the phrase, "Welcome to the cradle of Western Civilization..."

The Via Nazionale or Rugapiana as it is called by the local folk is one of the liveliest streets in the city. It is where people go to see or be seen, gather the latest news and announcements and sadly, discover who from the community is no longer amongst us. The cynical would say that it's where the show-offs go to display all the new things they have, new shoes, new clothes or new babies-however, one most remember that the local paper "L'Etruria" comes out only every 2 weeks making fresh info and local news a rare commodity. The most important function of "la Rugapiana" is to cement the community together-it is the place where you go to seek out your friends. Here are some photos of some of our friends we met on passeggiata (our stroll) in the last few days. The photo to the right is the east end of Via Nazionale. Casa Chilenne is on the right side of the street as you enter the city at number 65.

Here are Giulio and Antonella Lucarini out for a walk with Lapo. Giulio is a talented ceramicist who made the beautiful placard for our bed and breakfast with Jeanette's logo on it.

Here's a picture of Carlotta with Enzo the taxi driver. He is her official taxi driver and has accompanied her and Jeanette to Rome twice when she went to visit family and friends in San Francisco. Enzo is just great!

Carlotta went to Enrico's shop to visit her admirer Blue. Theirs is an impossible love story but Blue never gives up. He worships the ground Carlotta walks upon-sure that one day she will be his-

The coolest dog in Cortona by far is without a doubt Bruto. Here he is enjoying the shade and watching the world go by. He's a dog of the world and has been around the block.
Daniela his owner doesn't know how many pictures have been taken of him and how far away they've travelled. He's a star and he knows it-
in the nearly 4 years that he's know Carlotta he just now has started to acknowledge her presence..

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