Thursday, March 4, 2010


Early this morning, Helen raised the question of when-if we can come back to Italy sometime - where should we stay next time?

So we did a quick internet search and found that Roberto Gasperoni, in Bagnoregio - who would surely (I can't help saying it) be used with a name like that to head a smoking or anti-smoking campaign in Australia - had a couple of apartments for weekly rent. So we said, let's go out there, Dennis feeling better, Helen not as weak with the cold as she is this afternoon, alas.

And then in writing up about the popes in Viterbo I had read this about the current pope's adventures last summer:
Pope Benedict will travel to Viterbo by helicopter from the papal summer villa at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.
Before returning to Castel Gandolfo, the pope will transfer by helicopter from Viterbo to Bagnoregio, where St. Bonaventure was born in 1217.
Pope Benedict wrote his postdoctoral thesis on the doctrine of revelation in the works of St. Bonaventure, a doctor of the church. The pope is scheduled to venerate the "holy arm" of the saint, which is kept in Bagnoregio's cathedral. The rest of the saint's body is buried in France.

This led to learning more about Buonaventura, this great son of Bagnoregio and noted medieval scholar.

And it meant that the first thing we did when we got to Bagnoregio was go into the Cathedral. This cathedral is a place of great spiritual sensitivity, when you enter (unlike many churches in Italy, which seem unworked, as it were). However, it was dark. The photos (there are jpeg effects when enlarged) show the centre of the cathedral ...

....and the sanctuary where the arm of Buonaventura is kept. In a world where so much language emphasises the 'strong arm' how interesting that it should be the writing arm of Buonaventura which is kept in this special place.

We had completely lost track of the big tourist thing at Bagnoregio - the Civita di Bagnoregio, of which, here a photo... and be assured, it is as amazing to see as you might expect from the photo. Click here for more history. We did NOT do the walk, it seemed likely to snow unless, Helen's other thought, it was too cold to snow.
We did find the letting agent, saw the outside of apartments and certainly will consider this as a location for next time. The topography, culture and agriculture are quite different, and it is closer to Umbria and Tuscany.

But that may or may not be another story... now to start packing!

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