May 18th, 2006


Postcards from abroad

Deborahw37 tells me she has received her postcard. I hope the ones I wrote to Bogwitch and Voodootx also make it through. I'd taken them into Arezzo on the day we had the marvelous lunch and inadvertently left them on the table in the trattoria. They were all written up, addressed and stamped and obviously posted by The Major Domo who spoke wonderful English - goodness knows what he made of the text. I don't have myfeetshowit's snail address. Would you send it to my patvharris address please S.

Today is another day of rest. MWNN fell asleep in the armchair last night after all that pavement pounding in Siena and traffic holdup and was still there at 3.30 this morning. We could have done with one of Boggy's hover cars and pitied the poor workers who were stuck in the even longer jam going the opposite way to us. At least wew could have a 'lie in' this morning and didn't have to face the comuter run at the beginning of a working day.

We are agreed that we're not in Italy for the 'kiss me quick' souvenier experience of the major tourist spots so are planning a short shopping trip to our nearest town, Incisa to stock up on dog food and possibly supper in the little trattoria in the village of Burchio. Poor Loony GSD got short rations last night but she raised a paw for returning to Siena if it means a late supper of panini and ham at the end of the day. She was outvoted.

Meeting Masaccio in the flesh

We visited the small church of St Peter at Cascia di Regello(only 20 minute drive from the apartment) this afternoon to see one of only 4 accredited Masaccio's in the world. Many of the others have been broken up and scattered all over the world in various museums, but the triptych over the baptismal font of St Peter's is where it should be, in a church. It may not be the church for which it was originally painted (San Giovanale, which is in an even more isolated spot) but it belongs in a Christian church. Our suspicions about the tourist spots were confirmed as we read the signatures in the guest book. I flipped back as far as early 2005 and couldn't find another name from the UK, the majority were Italian with one or two French visitors.

What made our visit more memorable was, on entering the church, we were greeted by a small pale brown dog. MWNN assumed he belonged to the only occupant, a woman praying in the centre row of simple benches. Afer we'd viewed the work for a while, MWNN tried to find the entrance to the Masaccio museum but met only locked doors. The praying woman told us to go out of the church and round the back. Feeling sceptical, we headed for the exit. The little brown dog preceded us and asked, in universal doggy language, to be let out. He then led us round the side of the church to the entrance of the small museum (opened 2002) and disappered. MWNN has just shown me a picture of part of the Desco da parto Masaccio painted on a wooden tray for a patron. There is our little dog.

Masaccio made a significant breakthrough in the representation of 'reality' through the use of perspective and ciascuro. What I find amazing is that he developed so quickly and produced revolutionary works of art in the few short years of his career. He "lived his life at high speed, a couple of months were a lvery ong time for him: he was like a meteor, and his activity came to an end after about six years." He died aged 26, the same age at which his father had died.

Later, we sat outside a small cafe overlooking the church at the junction on the edge of the village and drank coffee with pastries as the bells rang at 6pm. The road to Florence was busy with buses and that to Regello with cars. We've vowed to return another time to sit in the church and contemplate the life of a man who gave us such wonderful images.

Masaccio's church and that little dog

The website to visit, if you are interested, is Masaccio