Thursday, June 26, 2008

Water has many faces. So you will find everywhere the so called mascheroni di fontana, fountains in the shape of a face.

Sometimes you don't even need to bother to build such a mask. You just need to look carefully.

Credits picture: Antonio Di Maggio
Iconicelle (which means as much as small, lovely icons) are en expression of simple popular faith. You see them all over the place in old Italian towns, and sometimes I wonder if there are also modern versions of it.

They are holy images and symbols placed in all places visited by many people: usually at crossroads, under arches. The idea used to be that people, on their way to work, could say a small silent prayer or cross themselves to invoke protection for their businesses and journeys.

Here a few of them, all pictures were made by Antonio Di Maggio.

This Madonna, not very visible from behind the protecting grate, is in Ofena:

These fresco's were partially deleted when the house was renovated. Pity. They can be found in Ofena, in via dell'Ospedale.

In via dell'Ospedale, a bit higher, they also placed this votive lamp. No wonder, as being there a hospital people needed some moral support when walking that street.

Not only Ofena has lots of iconicelle. Here a couple from Fontecchio. As the name of this village already suggests, In Fontecchio they had a beatiful Fountain, and this Madonna is placed just above the washing basin. The stone ornament on the right side is a details of the decorative fountain.

Another iconicella in Fontecchio is this one:

Most of this images are quite worn out because of age, traffic fumes, weather, light. This is inherent to their function of road altars.

Other were saved and protected in museums, which is all very well for the art works, but pity for the passers-by.

Still other were placed in cripts, as this one:

But many more can be found in the "institutional" places: churches, abbeys, monasteries, cemeteries. God knows if we lack any of these in Abruzzo.

Still in need of spiritual inspiration? Come and see by yourelf.

One misty, moisty morning,
when cloudy was the weather...

that was May last year, when I went to Abruzzo with photographer Antonio Di Maggio and his wife and my good friend Daniela Tasca. The weather was back then as awful as you will see in the next posts and pictures, but there is this stubborn, shy grace in the mountain landscape rounf Ofena in the mist: just as a toddler who refuses to give a kiss to the visiting aunty, and grumps, all closed in itself.

Which reminds me also of that sort of stubborn shyness many elderly locals have towards all that's foreign coming into their village.

Anyway, I am getting ready to go in just more than a couple of weeks. My 6-year old son will precede, he is going for the first time abroad without us (just his grandma), and as any good, neurotic Italian mom i am having nightmars of him being abducted. Definitely, this short separation will do all of us good: he will be the big boy, my mom will enjoy him exclusively for a couple of days, his little brother will be only child for a while, I will have to get used at the idea that there is no harm to me and my family in this big, wide world.

Enjoy this view of the road to the mountain and Forca di Penne, taken from the small green bedroom.