Sunday, May 31, 2009

Obsolete


A public telephone is something that's hard to find anymore in Molfetta. Italians really took to the cellular phone with a gusto. Everyone has one...and I do mean everyone, from grade school children to octogenarians.

As a result, the public telephone became almost immediately obsolete. The few you can find around town are generally broken or looking pretty shabby, like the one in this photo. I don't think I'd want to use this means of communication without disinfecting it first!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Blue Door

A collection of abandoned bits and pieces near the shipyards.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Molfettan Faces - Lucio

Lucio doesn't really count as a "Molfettan" face since he was born and raised in Giovinazzo, the next town down the Adriatic coast. But, he is married to a Molfettan woman so that kind of makes him Molfettan by proxy.

He is an ex-bank director who is currently working on a project to open a new bank. His hobbies include gardening, collecting watches and taking afternoon naps. In this photo he is eating, with great relish, a crab cooked in tomato sauce.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

First Communion

Yesterday we celebrated my younger son's First Communion. This is the Roman Catholic ceremony for a person's first reception of the sacrament of the eucharist, which is generally considered to be a commemoration of the Last Supper, the final meal that Jesus Christ shared with his disciples before his arrest and eventual crucifixion. The consecration of bread and a cup within the rite recalls the moment at the Last Supper when Jesus gave his disciples bread, saying, "This is my body", and wine, saying, "This is my blood.
Children in Italy receive this sacrament in fourth grade. My son is the little guy in the blue suit. Most families then continue the celebration by offering friends and family a meal. Those invited bring gifts for the child (a definite perk as far as the kids are concerned!).
We held a buffet in our backyard...today I'm exhausted. But, my son had a wonderful day, so it was all worth it!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Chamomile

Enormous fields of chamomile, with a scent so heady and sweet it reminded me of the poppy fields in the Wizard of Oz.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Molfettan Faces - Lina

Lina is a member of my husband's family. She is not a blood relative, but she has been an integral part of the family for the past 45 years. She was the cleaning lady, but at her age and after a double bypass, she's not up to more than washing the dishes. And she only does that because otherwise she might feel like she wasn't being "useful."

For more fascinating details about Lina's life (a Greek tragedy, if there ever was one), click on this link and then scroll down to Thursday, May 18, 2006.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Raja


Raja - son of Blackie and Tigro, brother to four unnamed all-black siblings (we can't name them yet because we can't tell them apart yet!), and bundle of love! Anyone want a kitten?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Street Market

Molfetta's official street market is held every week on Thursday morning. However, on Sundays various smaller markets pop up here and there around town, usually near the sea. While good finds can be made on a wide variety of items at the weekly market, these Sunday markets do not appeal to me because they tend to sell cheaply made things that break the first time you use them.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ground Floor

Many homes in Molfetta open directly onto the sidewalk, or even the street. These homes are usually a series of rooms that lead one into the other. To get from the front room to the back room you have to walk through the middle room. The first room you enter into is usually the kitchen.

Privacy is not guaranteed when you live in one of these homes, so the lace curtains serve as the first line of defence. Then the green metal blind over the door is lowered from the inside at night or from the outside if you are going out during the day.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Trani Harbour

This is a view of the cathedral (see yesterday's post) from the back, seen across Trani's harbour. Trani's harbour area is the site of a very active "movida," or nightlife. It is jam-packed with restaurants, bars, pubs, shops, etc. and hundreds of people go there in the evening to take a walk, have an ice-cream, see and be seen...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Trani Cathedral

The Trani Cathedral (1150-1250) lies on the sea to the northwest of the harbor in Trani (two towns up the Adriatic coast from Molfetta). It is one of the finest Romanesque churches in Apulia and is famous throughout Italy. It is often used in television and print advertising.

The cathedral has a Romanesque west doorway (13th century carvings) and beautiful bronze doors (c. 1180) by the bronze founder Barisano da Trani. The 32 sections are decorated with figures of Christ, the Virgin, Apostles and Saints. The campanile (reconstructed) is almost detached from the nave.

The impressive interior of the cathedral, the only example of an Apulian church with double columns, was restored to its original Romanesque form in 1952-55. From the side aisles there is access to the Crypt of St Nicholas the Pilgrim (d. 1094), begun about 1100 and decorated with fine capitals.

The lower church, the Chiesa dei Santa Maria della Scala (seventh century), a rectangular space with an ambulatory, contains the Crypt of St Leucius (c. 670) under the transept. St Leucius was the first bishop of Brindisi (seventh century).

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Molfettan Faces - Vito

Vito is a dentist who participated with his daughter in the Bimbinbici family bike ride last Sunday. He is framed by a view of the skyline of Molfetta's historic center. (You can see the rowboat featured in yesterday's photo in the background.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sailboat, Rowboat

Taken just off the coast from Molfetta's historic center.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Roses for Mamma

This trio was selling roses on a street corner on Mother's Day. When I asked them if I could take their picture, the guy in the middle said, "yes," the guy on the left turned his back on me and the guy on the right didn't know what was going on until it was too late...at which point he tried to run out of the frame. I said, "But, your friend said it was okay" and quickly cycled away! I'd say these gentlemen were probably working without a business license...but then they might sue me for libel, so, no...I'm sure their papers are in order!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

La Fragola

A perfect strawberry, growing in the garden.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Molfettan Faces - Anna


Anna participated in yesterday's Bimbinbici bike ride. I like this photo of her because she has all of the items related to the event on her...the Bimbinbici cap, the rose-shaped necklace thingy, the real roses that were distributed to all of the mothers present and the free ice-cream handed out at the end of the ride.

Anna is a stay-at-home mom who used to be a graphic designer until the birth of her first child, when she decided to give up her job and dedicate herself to the care of her family.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bimbinbici

Every year on Mother's Day, Molfetta participates in Bimbinbici, a family bicycle ride around the city. It is a nationwide event aimed at promoting childrens' rights to ride their bikes through the city streets, no easy feat normally because of the dangers they face from rude and thoughtless drivers. Goals of the event include improving children's autonomy, learning safety rules for biking, and increasing respect for the environment.
Over 600 people took part in today's ride which started from the Rosaria Scardigno elementary school, headed down toward the sea...
...through Molfetta Vecchia (the historic centre of town)...
...and stopping for a snack and short clown show near the Madonna dei Martiri church.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Molfettan Faces - Michele

Michele's family is one of the wealthiest in Molfetta, they own a large company that produces industrial drills. He works for the family firm and travels a great deal around the world. He was a wild and crazy kind of guy in his youth and was the lead singer of a band called I Figli delle Stelle, which specialised in raunchy humor and parodies of famous songs 1970s style (think large wigs and platform shoes). They reunited last summer for a hilarious concert here in town.

In this photo, Michele is standing on his family's 42-foot yacht, the very largest pleasure craft in Molfetta's harbor...by a long shot!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Forza Bari!

When I arrived at work Wednesday morning in Bari, which is located 25 kilometers down the Adriatic coast from Molfetta, I found the streets in front of my faculty decorated for several blocks with banners in the colors of the Bari soccer team. There had been a game the night before which, if Bari had won, would have gained the team a place in the A Series of national soccer. Much to their chagrin, Bari's team has been in the B Series for a few years now, and that is clearly not as satisfying as playing with the big boys in the A Series!

Unfortunately, the Tuesday night game against Empoli ended in a tie score, 0-0. However, if Bari should win on Saturday against Piacenza, there is still hope! Forza Bari!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Apulia. A Film Tourism Guide



Some of you may remember that last winter I was very busy working on the translation of a film tourism guide to the Apulia region. The book was just released in April and is available for those of you who love both films and travelling. Film tourism combines the two, offering itineraries that take you to the sites where films have been shot or where famous actors and/or directors have found their inspiration.

Here's an excerpt from the inside front cover:


"They are called 'locations,' but in Apulia they are simply life. Not only the most crystal-clear, spectacular sea you have ever seen, extending for 800 kilometres of coastline. Also the dazzling expanses of wheat seen in I'm Not Scared, the centuries-old olive trees and the ravines that 'wound' the land. The deserted villages of the Subapennine area and the candid towns eternally captured 'nel blu dipinto di blu' by Domenico Modugno. The trullos that captivate the English and now seduce Bollywood. The 'western' Murgia and the beaches of past invaders and present immigrants, the place were Lamerica begins. The indolent holiday resorts and the sensual nights that move to the rhythm of the taranta. The castles of Federico II and the Romanesque cathedrals. The mountain of the Angel and the cult of Padre Pio. The Ilva smokestacks and the outskirts of the cities. Bari, the hometown of the enamoured Meryl Streep of Madison County and of the resurrected Petruzzelli where Liz Taylor captivated the young Toscanini. The Felliniesque bands dear to Nino Rota. Castellaneta represents the legend of Rudolph Valentino. In the heart of Baroque Lecce, the nakedness of history and the strength of the light 'in the south of the south of the saints' of Carmelo Bene. Ten itineraries to discover Apulia, a variable scenery for hundreds of sets, from Pasolini, Tot├▓, the Taviani brothers, Monicelli and Wertmuller, to Placido, Amelio, Salvatores, Rubini and Moretti. Visions and symbols, famous masters and young talents, characters and places in search of a region where films come to life."



If you are interested in the book, take a look at this link and remember "acquista" means "buy" in Italian! ;-)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Pirates Den

I've never been to this Pub-Wine Bar, but I think the name is irresistible!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Oasis of Freshness

Looking to buy some olives, nuts, seeds, taralli (for a photo and recipe click here) or lemons?
L'Oasi della Freschezza is the place to go! You can see many mobile vendors like this one around Molfetta. There are many who sell fruit and vegetables, some on the back of small trucks like this one, and others who set up a sort of semi-permanent business on the sidewalk or even in the center divider of the street. The legality of many of these vendors is an ongoing topic of discussion around town...as in, do these guys actually have a business license? And do we want to have vendors blocking our sidewalks and spilling out into the street at times?
I'd be willing to bet that this guy, Sergio Mutti, has his papers in order. He was quite happy to have his picture taken and give me his name and the name of his enterprise!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Torre Guaceto

Torre Guaceto is a protected marine area and widlife reserve located about an hour's drive south of Molfetta. The reserve includes a stretch of coast six kilometers long, strongly characterised by typical Mediterranean landscape ranging from the sea to sand dunes, Mediterranean scrub and marshes, bordered by centuries-old olive groves.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Molfettan Faces

For some time now, I've been wanting to do a series of photos on the people of Molfetta. I had this idea that I would call it "Molfettan Faces" and it would show Molfettans of all different types. I have been inspired in part by the 100 Strangers Project. The problem is that I rarely am able to work up the courage to ask strangers if I can photograph them. The people I have asked have always said yes, but I still get all shy about it.

So, I decided to start the series nonetheless, but beginning with people I know. This photo is of Carlo. I like it as the first photo in the Molfettan Faces series because it captures the Molfettan skyline in the background and because Carlo is making a typical Italian gesture which means "what do you want from me?" or "hey, what do you mean by that?".

Friday, May 1, 2009

Day Trip to the Murgia, 6

A few last shots of the Alta Murgia.






With this series of photos, I hoped to show you a part of southern Italy that perhaps many people never get to see.
It's beautiful and definitely worth a visit if you love nature.

p.s. Happy May Day!