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<<  -- 2 --  Bill Newman    MENOTTI AT SPOLETO


The Umbrian countryside. Photo: Bill Newman

Geography has never been my strong point, so I will not attempt to describe accurately where Spoleto lies on the map. The whole of the Italian province - famed for its history, its wine industry - is called Umbria, and you can walk comfortably round the 'little' town with its steep alleyways intercrossing one another, gazing up or down at lovely old churches, the inevitable Town Hall with its two clock faces, the ancient monuments. There are many steps - strange that is easier to climb them than trying to hold on to the many metal supports that lead down, via the main shopping area - Veduta di Piazza del Mercato, with its food stores, cafés, restaurants, barber and a massive fountain with its large circular clock that amazingly tells the right time.

Spoleto. Photo: Bill Newman

Happy inhabitants throng with tourists, all very convivial. Down at the bottom end is lush vegetation - people's gardens mostly - while courting couples try and keep out of the way of bargain hunters who gaze fondly at the many landscape paintings and the profusion of curios on sale, before they realize they lack the necessary funds.

Try and imagine an enlarged chocolate hazel nut: half way up the spiral, in the right hand corner of which the Menottis live during the festival itself - the Palazzo Campello, with its luxurious rooms and gardens - you can follow the road round in a circle, taking photographs of the Rocco Fortress, sometime a prison, police station, now a tourist attraction, above, while below you have a panoramic view of the Aqueduct, its enormous concrete- stone bridge across which everyone strolls contentedly to view the ruined houses literally built into the opposing rock face. You will see miles of foliage in all directions, broken up by huge equatorial plants and those heavily pungent Oleandors, so much a permanent part of the glorious landscape.

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Copyright © 22 August 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK




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