Monday 19 January 2015

Panicale 1998

We first visited Panicale in Umbria in 1998. That was prior to digital cameras so the photo record is meagre, but here they are.

Even then you stepped through the Porta Perugina and gasped in awe ... then you took the photo. Nothing has changed. Now we sit at Aldo's Bar and watch visitor after visitor do just that.

We did a mini tour of the town through the Pro Loco and this was when we were introduced to the artist Il Perugino and San Sebastiano. This fresco of the Martyrdom of St. Sebastian dates from 1505.
From that introduction we did the Il Perugino Trail and became fans of the wistful style of Pietro Vannucci, known as Il Perugino. He was a master of the Renaissance and he set his subjects in a local Umbrian landscape of delicate greens and blues.
We also became fans of Saint Sebastian and he can be seem in art works throughout Italy, with arrows ranging from one in the knee to a veritable pincushion of them.

We had an excellent tour guide that day and it seems most likely that it was our, now, friend Katia Mughetti. Note the cost of the tour was 3000 lira.

No visit to Panicale is complete without gazing at the spectacular view towards Lake Trasimeno. This was in June 1998.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Nostra Epifania Cena

Some photos from our Epiphany dinner. 

Genoa is the home of pesto so when I saw a pesto lasagne on the menu in Genoa last July I had to have it. It was absolutely delicious, and I am happy to say that my attempt at making it was equally successful.

 Lasagne noodles, a bechamel sauce, pesto and a little mozzarella cheese.

Traditional Italian biscuits in the making

   Biscuits ready to enjoy

A bowl of chocolates, nougat and amaretti biscuits

Epiphany might mark the end of the Christmas season but it also ushers in Carnevale which is a time of festivities before Ash Wednesday and Lent.
There won't be any Carnevale celebrations here; it will be a time for getting back into shape before our return to Panicale in the Australian winter.

Monday 5 January 2015

The Twelfth Day of Christmas or Epifania

The 6th January is the 12th Day of Christmas, also known as Epiphany. 
In Europe, and especially Italy, Epifania is a special day because that is when La Befana arrives to leave gifts for the children. If they have been good they get sweets but if they have not then they get a lump of coal in their stocking!
I was reading that these days the coal is sweet and can be eaten.

Epiphany commemorates the arrival of the Wise Men or Magi to visit the infant Jesus in Bethlehem, and the revelation of the Son of God to the people.

It marks the end of the Christmas season so we pack up the Christmas tree and decorations (and hope all the excess food has gone so we can eat sensibly again!)

Each year I mark the front door lintel with a blessing which commemorates the hospitality offered to the Magi on their journey to the Christ Child. It is a blessing for the home and for hospitality to all who come through the door.

In keeping with our Italian themed Christmas we are having an Epifania meal - antipasto, a stunning lasagne which I tasted in Genoa but have not made before, and special sweet biscuits. Traditionally sweets and chocolates are part of the celebration but it is too hot here to think of eating chocolate at this time of year.

Buona Festa!