|Sala di Giove, Palazzo Farnese Caprarola
The regular schedule of blog posts was interrupted this week due to some unusual events.
In Rome pageantry, pilgrim crowds and piles of garbage were generated by the canonization of two former popes presided over by two living ones.
It was a scenario that no novelist could have invented and yet it was just another chapter in the long, amazing history of Italy.
|Backed by Renaissance fireplace: Hugo, MJ and Giorgia
Here in Tuscia/Etruria, far from the confusion of the Roman canonization, history came alive when English biographer Hugo Vickers told the story of Gladys Deacon and her mother Florence Baldwin to a spellbound audience in one of the magnificent frescoed rooms of Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola .
|the spiral staircase of Palazzo Farnese
|Hugo signs a book he wrote, in my library
|discovering Vetralla's English connections
|Henry VIII's monument in Vetralla (foto G. Zelli )
Hugo flew in from London to share his research with us and to delve deeper into the lifestyle of the eccentric expats who inhabited the palazzo in the last century.
|at Villa Lante
Our morning visit to Villa Lante in nearby Bagnaia was intriguing for its fountains and palazzine were a model for those of Caprarola.
|Luciano, Hugo, MJ and Giorgia (foto Sig.ra DiFusco)
At Caprarola we were escorted to see some of the secret corners of the palazzo by Luciano Passini our host and head of the Caprarola Research and History Society.
|presentation with a figure from the palazzo's past
|bathroom ceiling at Palazzo Farnese
In a tiny anteroom which once served as bathroom to the Baldwin-Deacon women, we discovered the phrase “Forse che si, forse che no” which Gabriele D’Annunzio used as title for his novel published in 1910. D'Annunzio "borrowed" the phrase from a ceiling he saw in Mantova's Palazzo Ducale.
|ceiling of Mantova's Palazzo Ducale
|original bathroom fixtures dating from 1920s
During the presentation we even had a surprise visit from “Gladys” herself, impersonated by Finnish soprano Susanna Ohtonen dressed in perfect 1920s style.
|Gladys interpreted by soprano Susanna Ohtonen
She invited the audience to the opera La Traviata which is being held on Wednesday April 30th in Tuscania’s Rivellino theatre.
|Susanna Ohtonen and Giulia admiring the frescoed ceiling (foto Chiara Porcari)
Opera Extravaganza's opera evenings are another aspect of the living history of Italy which should not be missed.
Info e prevendita OperaExtravaganza tel. 0761-485247/346-7474907 firstname.lastname@example.org
Info Teatro Il Rivellino P.zza Basile tel. 0761.4454250 0761-4454217
Opera lirica in tre atti di GIUSEPPE VERDI
TEATRO “IL RIVELLINO” – TUSCANIA
Mercoledì 30 APRILE 2014 ORE 21.00
Biglietti prezzo unico 15 euro
Coming up next Saturday, Soriano nel Cimino
For another special evening in one of Etruria's wonderful historic palazzi, you are cordially invited to my next illustrated presentation on May 3rd in Soriano nel Cimino.
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Your feedback, questions are very welcome. See you in Soriano!