Wednesday, December 31, 2008
One chore he remembers fondly was the cleaning of the almonds. This is a job that has several steps to it. First you have to gather the almonds from the trees. Then you have to remove their furry green outer covering. Next, you have to crack the hard shell that contains the fruit. Finally, you have to remove the hard shell and seperate the shells from the almonds.
The children were paid something equivalent to 10 cents per kilo of clean almonds. The job was done sitting together around a large table with the nuts in their shells in the center. Each child tried to accumulate the largest possible pile of clean almonds, to earn more money at the end of the day. The fun was in trying to distract the others and steal a few of their clean almonds while they weren't looking!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Many of these stories, both happy and sad, revolve around a large farming property that used to belong to the family. My children's great-grandfather borrowed a sum of money from his two unmarried sisters and invested in a large piece of malaria-infested swampland near San Ferdinando di Puglia. He had heard that Mussolini would be starting large land reclamation projects in southern Italy. His risk paid off and the property became a fertile and productive farm.
Yesterday, my husband took our sons and their cousin to visit the farm. The current owners welcomed them with open arms, gave them a tour of every square inch of the property, both inside and out, and sent them away loaded down with a large crate of fruit from the garden.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
I've divided them into three categories:
Saturday, December 27, 2008
The construction has been going on for a couple of years now. Some buildings are completed and already inhabited, while others are still going up. Today's photo shows two completed apartment blocks flanking one still under construction. Imagine the noise, the dust!
Over the next few days I'll show you some of the new buildings. There are widely varying architectural styles set right next to each other.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Today, tanto per cambiare ("for a change of pace" said sarcastically) the whole family will reunite at my house for yet another big lunch. Holiday = food around here!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Note, it's complete with phony shopping bags of gifts...a subtle hint, just in case you forgot what you came to the mall to do! This year most shops are already offering up to 30% discounts on their merchandise to encourage spending...global recession and all. The normal "sale" season doesn't start until about the second week of January.
At the other end of the mall there is a display of nativity scenes which are more culturally appropriate here. The Christmas tree is an import from the north and many Molfettan families don't do one at all.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
The other exhibit is called "Black Box: Look in the Hole." Its concept is of a world "enclosed in a box that is the container of all the behaviours, habits, values, excesses and relationships that life offers in relationship to the environment... The artists observe the contents of this box through a hole." Etcetera etcetera... Very dark, very disturbing.
I recommend the nativity scenes...
Thursday, December 18, 2008
This building is attached to the Church of Death, shown in yesterday's post. You can find it on Via Morte. That would be Death Street in English. When I lived in the old town my kitchen door opened onto this street.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
These crypts can be seen through areas of the church floor which are covered in glass. There is a whole series of crypts for corpses in varying phases of decomposition. The last stop was the area closest to an opening onto the sea. One high tide and, swoosh, away you go! No more bones cluttering up the crypt...
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
These photos show the exterior and a slice of the interior of the Elios Erboristeria, located at the southernmost point of the walls, on the corner of Piazza Municipio. An "erboristeria" is an herbalist's shop. They sell all kinds of products ranging from actual herbs to natural remedies for a long list of various and sundry ailments to cosmetics, soaps and perfumes.
Monday, December 15, 2008
This house is located on the edge of the old town, just at the beginning of the Lungomare Marcantonio Colonna, the street that runs along the seafront.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Molfetta doesn't have any hills, per se, but you climb in elevation slightly as you move from the sea inland.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Oratories seem to have originated from the chapels erected over the tombs of the early martyrs where the faithful gathered to pray, and also from the necessity of having a place of worship for the people in country districts when churches proper were restricted to cathedral cities.
The term is used here in Molfetta to mean the activities organised by a church for the children of the parish. These include sports, crafts, organised games, drama, summer camp...whatever the church volunteers are interested in or capable of doing with the kids.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
It was built about 35 years ago when this southern side of Molfetta was "out in the middle of nowhere." A friend who grew up in this building tells of the long walk into town to go to school. Now there's an elementary school right across the street, my boys walked to and from school by themselves when we lived there.
The name is interesting: "Ex-Cooperativa Fomalhaut." A cooperativa is a building built by a group of people who put their money together (I'm sure there's also some government financing involved), buy a piece of land, and build an apartment block. They have to work out all the details of style, materials, costs, etc. together. It is now an "ex" cooperativa, I imagine everyone got tired of having to cooperate!
The name "Fomalhaut" is an unusual choice, as it is not an Italian word. In fact, Fomalhaut is the name of the 18th brightest star visible from earth. It derives from an Arab word "Fom al-Hut" meaning "the mouth of the fish." No one was ever able to explain to me how that particular name was chosen...not even the original members of the cooperativa!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
It's hard to get a decent photo of this building. It is surrounded by so much visual clutter, telephone poles and wires, garbage cans, parked cars, you name it! It's also very large and you can't back up very far from it to take a picture because you'll end up running into a building or find your view blocked by the trees in the park.
I have not been able to get out of the house to take new pictures, as I am busy translating all day, so I'm raiding old photos from my files. Shouldn't make that much difference, old buildings like this don't change much with time!