Candle And Grapes
Photograph - Photography
We were having a romantic dinner on the outdoor patio of a cafe in Orvieto, Italy, when this scene caught my attention. The beautiful white candle with dripping wax, juicy purple grapes, and crusty bread added to the ambiance. This photo makes a lovely greeting card for an engagement, wedding, anniversary, or just to say "i love you."
Orvieto is a beautiful and fascinating medieval city. It was a major centre of Etruscan civilization. It was annexed by Rome in the third century BC. Orvieto, sitting on its impregnable rock controlling the road between Florence and Rome where it crossed the Chiana, was a large town: its population numbered about 30,000 at the end of the 13th century. Its municipal institutions already recognized in a papal bull of 1157, from 1201 Orvieto governed itself through a podesta, who was as often as not the bishop, however, acting in concert with a military governor, the "captain of the people". In the 13th century bitter feuds divided the city, which was at the apogee of its wealth but found itself often at odds with the papacy, even under interdict. Pope Urban IV stayed at Orvieto in 1262-1264.
The city became one of the major cultural attractions of its time when Thomas Aquinas taught at the Studium. A small university (now part of the University of Perugia), had its origins in a studium generale that was granted to the city by Pope Gregory XI in 1736. The territory of Orvieto was under papal control long before it was officially added to the Papal States (various dates are quoted); it remained a papal possession until 1860, when it was annexed to unified Italy.
On November 15, 1290, Pope Nicholas IV laid the cornerstone for the present cathedral, or duomo, and dedicated it to the Assumption of the Virgin, a feast for which the city had a long history of special devotion. The design has often been attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio, but the prevailing modern opinion is that the master mason was an obscure monk named Fra' Bevignate from Perugia. The church is striped in white travertine and greenish-black basalt in narrow bands, similar in many ways to the cathedral of Siena and other central Italian cathedrals of that era. In the following decade, cathedral authorities called Sienese architect and sculptor Lorenzo Maitani to stabilize the building and design a facade. He enlarged the choir and planned a transept with two chapels (c. 1308-1330), spaces that were not finished until long after his death.
The city of Orvieto has long kept the secret of its labyrinth of caves and tunnels that lie beneath the surface. Dug deep into the tuff, a volcanic rock, these secret hidden tunnels are only now open to view through guided tours. Their spectacular nature has also yielded many historical and archeological finds. Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, the United States, has set up a program, where each summer, students travel to Italy to work at the college's archaeology site located at the Coriglia excavation site, just outside of town.
The underground city boasts tunnels, galleries, wells, stairs, quarries, cellars, unexpected passageways, cisterns, superimposed rooms with numerous small square niches, detailing its creation over the centuries. Many of the homes of noble families were equipped with a means of escape from the elevated city during times of siege through secret escape tunnels carved from the soft rock. The tunnels would lead from the city palazzo to emerge at a safe exit point some distance away from city walls.
The white wine of the Orvieto district, to the northeast of the city, is highly prized; red wines are also grown.
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FEATURED PHOTO, USA Artists News, 12/3/2012
FEATURED PHOTO, Fine Art America Collectors Treasures Group, 12/22/2012
FEATURED PHOTO, FAA Valentine Cards Group, 12/24/2012
October 28th, 2012
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