Brenton is officially a teacher- almost

Brenton has officially received his Secondary (Single Subject) Teaching Credential which authorizes the him "to teach the specific subject (English) named on the credential in departmentalized classes such as those in most middle schools and high schools. However, a teacher authorized for single subject instruction may also be assigned to teach any subject in his or her authorized field at any grade level --preschool, grades K-12, or in classes organized primarily for adults."  Now all he needs is a great job!

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Days of lunches, swims & sunflowers

We filled the last moments of Fred and Brady's visit with a variety of delightful activities.  We played Scrabble on the terrazza until it became so dark, Brady had to break out her hiking headlamp.  We dined at Villa Marianna with our friends, Ian and Eileen, and then afterward frolicked in the Villa's refreshing pool.  We meandered through the cemetery and through fields of once glorious sunflowers.  I'm pretty certain Fred and Brady's five nights here will be deemed unforgettable for all of us.

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History in the cemetery...

No trip to Spoleto is complete without a stroll through the cemetery.  I always look at it as a history lesson.  There is much you can learn from the people who came before you.  One that I find incredibly interesting is Luigi Pianciani (Rome 1810- Spoleto 1890), a man of many accomplishments from war hero to mayor of Rome.

Interestingly regarding the cemetery, is that Luigi Pianciani was a Freemason and a huge proponent of cremation, a practice the Catholic church strictly forbade until 1963.  His 'temple of cremation' is here along with many of its society members and the 19th century mobile furnace.  In the 1860s, Masons were encouraging all lodges to 'energetically engage in this major issues, as nobody could avoid its extraordinary importance...a new step towards the route of civil progress'.

Even Giuseppe Garibaldi, formerly Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Italy, and one of this country's greatest heroes, had a dying wish to be cremated.  Not surprising, his request was not honored by his family thus angering the League of the Italian Societies of Cremation and of Freemasonry.  The Leagues protests encountered fierce clerical defenses which culminated in excommunication of all those who belonged to cremation societies.  The big clerical question asked was, "Is it lawful to subscribe to societies whose objective is to promote the scorching of men's corpses?"

This debate got so bad that in 1896 the church published Rivista Antimassonica,  a magazine with articles titled Famous and Nauseating Human Barbecue.

I found all of this to be exceptionally interesting.  Even now, the Catholic Church frowns upon what Pianiciani and others believed was civil, hygienic and progress. "The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burial be retained; but it does not forbid cremation, unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching."

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La Mama in the Villa...

Shakespeare's Molto Rumore per Nulla (Much Ado About Nothing) takes on a whole new meaning when it's on the grounds of an ancient villa with exceptional actors with Italian elocution.

La Mama Spoleto Open is the Fringe Theater component to the Festival dei Due Mondi and has an exhaustingly exciting program happening concurrently with all the other events in town.

While we didn't stay long due to the language challenges, we delighted in the La Mama actors talent and enthusiasm and the environment in which the play took place.

Villa Redenta was built on the remains of a Roman villa along the old Via Faminia and at the center of complex vicissitudes [vicissitudesplural of vi·cis·si·tude (Noun) 1. A change of circumstances or fortune, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant. 2. Alternation between opposite or contrasting things].

This beautiful residence, from late Roman times and owned by early Spoleto nobility to Pope Leo XII followed by a missionary school and lastly the province of Perugia, was a wonderful venue to experience Much ado about Something!

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We partied like it was 1199...

It seemed that all 5,000 inhabitants of Bevagna were in Piazza Filippo Silvestri for the Gran Finale of Il Mercato delle Gaite. This was our third time, in ten days, of visiting this medieval event and each time we experienced something unique.

Royal processions, archery competitions and intense neighborhood pride filled the piazza and made the conclusion of this year's event that much more fun for us tourists.

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Cinema with my friend...

As part of the Festival's 54th season, Brady and I attended a movie screening in a really cool movie theater whose seats are the most comfortable, leather chairs I have ever sat in- ever!

Orchestra Rehearsal (Prova d'orchestra) is a 1978 film directed by Federico Fellini. It follows an Italian orchestra as the members go on strike against the conductor. Considered by some to be underrated Orchestra Rehearsal was the last collaboration between composer Nino Rota and Fellini, due to Rota's death in 1979.

The location was the historical movie theater of Spoleto, with 140 seats, that was born from the patronage and commitment of a furniture company, Poltrona Frau.  In 1984, Poltrona Frau restored and furnished the former Church of S. Gregoriuccio at the Synagogue of Spoleto, which became Frau Hall (now Sala Frau) for the Festival dei 2 Worlds. 

The company itself is rather interesting.  "Since 1912, the general public has always and immediately associated the name Frau with the idea of quality and design furnishing and seating in particular. A name that is so characteristic and instantly linked to German sounds, but which is, in actual fact, simply that of the company's founder, Sardinian-born Renzo Frau, who, over time, has successfully taken the 'Made in Italy' style and quality beyond national confines.

There have been a great many important moments in the history of Poltrona Frau, and they have all contributed in some way to creating the legend of this company that was founded in Turin and is today a citizen of the world (including hiring Frank O. Gehry to design the armchairs for the Walt Disney Concert Hall)."

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Spello for L'Infiorata...
Our Spellana friend, Bonnie, invited all of us to be a part of this once-a-year event and we accepted without a pause.  To help create 'carpets' of flower mosaics in this quaint pre-Roman village.
Everyone in town works to prepare the flowers.  The sweet baby faces had me hooked.
Every cantina had boxes and boxes of flower petals awaiting usage.  The scents that permeated the night air were intoxicating.
First step was pasting down the patterns.  The flowers, however, can only be placed on the paper, no securing in anyway is allowed.  We had to wait several hours to begin the creating due to abnormally high winds.  The community held its positive outlook as groups sat around chatting and preparing even more petals.  Bonnie said the older women were probably praying for the winds to end.
Each square has a type of flower designated for it.  What an elaborate system for something that will be erased with tonight's street sweeper.
Brady and I wandered the wind-free streets looking for a squadra to help while waiting for Bonnie's piazza to be ready.  Surprisingly, only one team would accept our volunteerism and we both agreed, it was the best place to work.  Really great people, free wine and sweet, little Italian ladies making us eat dolce!
We left Spello at 1 AM as the town was truly coming alive.  What an incredible experience that will be forever a part of our Italian dream!
What is it?  Once a year in May or June, in conjunction with the religious feast of Corpus Domini, the festival of L’Infiorata (from the verb infiorare, to decorate/bedeck with flowers) is celebrated in Spello, a charming, medieval hill town in central Umbria with origins that pre-date the Romans.

Preparations include growing and gathering enormous quantities of flowers in every color and hue imaginable held in buckets that fill the streets and squares. The scents alone are intoxicating, as young and old work day and night snipping off stems and pulling off petals to create palettes of color, like pots of paint, used to create gigantic floral tapestries that line the streets of the town.

Working through the night, they fill in their line drawings with petals, until morning, when bells chime and the Bishop and his entourage emerge from Mass amid music and singing
to lead the faithful in procession through the streets and over the lovely floral carpets, that soon turn to a mass of crushed petals and shredded paper. A fleeting moment of beauty, proof that nothing lasts and encouraging us all to enjoy each moment as it spreads itself before our eyes. 

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Brady, Fred & Festival of 2 Worlds

We gathered the weary travelers from the train station and returned to the apartment for a "regrouping" before heading to the Teatro Romano and the inaugural performance of the Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi's 54th season.

We picked Cannibardo and Sicily, not so much because of its content but because of its location, the 1st century AD Roman Theater.  What better place to experience an Italian summer evening than under the stars where so many have sat before us for centuries!

Cannibardo and Sicily by Andrea Camilleri, a play in Italian about one of Italy's most famous men. "Garibaldi is charismatic, charming, cunning, has a sensational sense of communication and propaganda, without the use of television: even today he would be the most brilliant. He arrives with a thousand men and beats an army of 100,000 men with 130 ships, fighting only one real battle, in Calatafimi. This gives rise to his reputation as the invincible hero".

We ended our evening in a just opened ROSSOBASTARDO LIVE 2011, a "Space of new creativity" which promotes the work of young and innovative artists, providing a creative international environment to meet people, experience interesting and exciting arts, exchange ideas, spend time and celebrate.  Just what the four of us plan to do over the next five days!

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Kegan and Monica head to the Dolomites...

This morning we sent Kegan and Monica on their way to northern Italy to backpack in the breathtakingly beautiful Dolomite mountains with Monica's mom, Rose and her girlfriend for almost a week at heights of more than 7,500 ft. 

The entire mountain range, a designated UNESCO heritage site, is dotted with unique places to stay- Rifugios- A mountain hut (also known as alpine hut, mountain shelter, and mountain hostel) is a building intended to provide food and shelter to mountaineers, climbers and hikers.  It should prove to be an incredible experience for all of them.

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