Throwback Thursday

A week or two ago I recalled a visit to the Exhibition celebrating the reopening of the Vatican Library back in 2011. One of the many beautiful illuminated manuscripts that caught my eye was a choir book from the 16th century – the earliest compilation by one composer in their vast collection. I thought I’d revisit it today.

Willy Or Won't He

An engraving from 1578 by Etienne Duperac of the Sistine Chapel shows the full pomp of a papal religious ceremony with the singers in their “cantoria” (lower right) gathered around a lectern. The bottom of the hand coloured engraving has been cut off but other copies show that every important participant is identified by a number corresponding to a legend at the bottom of the page. (From the V&A website)

There was a time when the finest composers and musicians were attached to the Papacy. Music at both Saint Peter’s and the Sistine Chapel were of a quality equal to any in the world. Many great composers are recorded to have been associated with the music making in the Papal chapels and court: Dufay, Ninot le Petit, Festa, Josquin, Palestrina, de Morales,  Landi – a roll call of the major talents of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. …

View original post 502 more words

Throwback Thursday

A Sunny Sunday Expedition to an Exhibition

I was a little confused when I received my daily update from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford this morning. They referred to March 1st as being World Book Day and included some very interesting books from their incredible collection. For some reason I had it in what’s left of my mind that WBD was sometime later in the calendar. A Google search – is anyone else finding Google less and less helpful? – showed April 23 being World Book Day according to the UN. A further searched revealed that it may well be according to the crew at 46th and 1st but in the United Kingdom it’s March 1st.

So not wanting to neglect any occasion that celebrates books I thought I’d revisit a trip to the Vatican Library back in February of 2011. Not exactly the Library itself – that was one of the few areas I didn’t get to visit – but an exhibition to celebrate it’s reopening after a three year renovation and restoration project. It was the first event in a day of food, opera, friendship, and books!

Willy Or Won't He

Last Sunday was one of those glorious winter days we can get here in Roma: it had been cold at 0730 (around 0c) when I walked the Hounds from Hell but by 1000 when we set off for Piazza San Pietro it was sunny and warm – in fact it got up to around +18c.   I was surprised at how few people were in the square on a Sunday morning but it was not too difficult to pick out the tourists – many wearing short sleeves and – lord help us – some even in shorts while the locals were still sensibly wearing their scarves and gloves.   Experience has taught that it may be warm in the sun but those churches and old buildings hold the cold. The jaunt over to the Country Across the River was the first activity of a rather full day of exhibition viewing, pranzo…

View original post 694 more words

Throwback Thursday

Several firetrucks roaring by the house, sirens blaring, in the past few days and an altercation in the Provincial Legislature where a member was expelled for suggesting (rightly so) proceedings there were nothing but a farce brought to mind an episode from our time in Rome.

Willy Or Won't He

Quo Vadis PosterBoth the title and the picture may be a bit over dramatic – who me!!!! – but when I got home Saturday I was reminded of Peter Ustinov strumming a lyre and chortling as Rome flamed behind him. I somehow had a picture of Laurent on our balcony doing much the same thing last Wednesday night.

Apparently the elderly gentleman across the hall left a space heater on beside his bed while he was out. The bedding smoldered and when he came home around 11 pm the draft when he opened the front door really got things going. Laurent smelled and saw smoke in our front entry hall and opened the door to find a hall filled with smoke and our Portere (Building Super) stepping out of the elevator (DUH! rule #1 – In case of fire do not – repeat – do not use the elevator) carrying a small…

View original post 333 more words

Espresso Yourself

receiver-coffeeThough we have our share of the coffee shop franchises here in PEI I’m glad to say that we also have Receiver – a locally owned and operated emporium of the nectar of the coffea arabica seed. And bless Chris and Sean they opened a new shop less than a block from us this past summer – and it includes Breadworks, one of the best bakeries on the Island.

Though there isn’t a barista in North America that could beat sexy Antonio with those bedroom eyes at our favourite spot in Rome at pulling an espresso longo – oh grow up – the lads and lass at Receiver make a mean latte. A latte and monkey bread break earlier this week gave me a twinge of nostalgia – or maybe it was the damp and neuralgia – for Via Alessandria and one of Antonio’s espressos.

So here’s a little bit of throwback Thursday:

Willy Or Won't He

This morning I was walking from the Lion Bookshop and Café (the oldest English bookstore in Roma) down near the Spanish Steps to the Scuderie del Quirinale for the magnificent Roma, La Pittura di un Impero exhibition. I took a short cut and as I walked past a very ordinary side-street cafe these implements caught my eye.

Before sachet packets and stylish George-Clooney-sleek power machines came into play these were the tools required for a perfect cup of caffeinated goodness: a hand grinder for the beans, a boiler, a hand puller and a metal vessel for heating and frothing the milk.

A few facts to assist if you were hand pulling your espresso:

  • The Beans should be ground just before use.
  • A dark roast is preferable though only in Southern Italy is it holy writ.
  • Only the freshest water should be used and I have been assured by my friend…

View original post 237 more words