Saturday, January 31, 2009
You can buy a wide variety of products here: newspapers with every possible political bent, magazines for every possible interest, crossword puzzles, children's albums in which to collect stickers in a vast selection of themes, cell phone top up cards, pay phone cards, lottery tickets, music CDs, DVDs...did I forget anything?
Friday, January 30, 2009
This plaque provides some historical information about the site. It appears that the St. Francis Monastery was built here in 1220, was expanded in 1300 and then, for some reason, demolished in 1880. I'm not sure how old the current building is exactly, but obviously no older than 1880.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Then, splash, into the bowl of water to be rinsed off. The water has turned black because cuttlefish have a sack full of black ink that they use for defense like squid and octopuses. This ink is called "sepia" (the Italian word for cuttlefish is "seppia") and used to be an important natural dye used for writing, and as an additive in watercolours and oil paints.
Beginning in the 1880s, sepia tone was produced by adding a pigment to the positive print of a photograph. The pigment was made from the Sepia officinalis cuttlefish, found in the English channel. The chemical process converts any remaining metallic silver to a sulphide, which is much more resistant to breakdown over time. This is why many old photographs are sepia toned—these are the ones that have survived until today. Although sepia toning began as a printing method, today it is seen as a genre, much like black and white photography.
Monday, January 26, 2009
The first thing you notice is the smell...of fish, of course. Then you hear the 15 or more fishmongers, who have tables set up around the edges and in the middle of the courtyard. All of them call out to you (at full shouting volume) as you pass by their table of wares, telling you their prices, and immediately offering you a better deal if you continue past.
The fish are displayed on metal tables, divided by type. All the eels curled around each other, all the cod in another slippery pile, all the monkfish looking up at you with both eyes: each group with a handwritten card indicating the price per kilo on top.
More pictures to come in the following days...
Sunday, January 25, 2009
And the firemen!
Italians always say that "everything is bigger in America" and they make lots of jokes exaggerating how "big" improbable things are in America. But, in the case of the fire trucks, they are right. These Italian trucks seem tiny as compared to their American counterparts.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
One of the plants found in the pulo is this Umbilicus Rupestre, or Venus' Navel, also known as navelwort. In traditional medicine this plant was used to aid in the expelling of afterbirth, and for healing bruises, burns, scalds, chilblains, corns, earache, epilepsy, eye troubles, fever, jaundice, scruff, shingles, skin troubles, sores, stings, pulmonary tuberculosis, ulcers and warts.
Useful little plant, eh?
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
The "pulo" was inhabited continuously from Neolithic times on. There are many natural caves in the stone walls that were used as living spaces. Think cavemen! You can see some of the caves on the far wall in the photo. This is considered to be one of the most important Neolithic sites in southern Italy.
The "pulo" has just recently been opened to the public thanks to the efforts of seven local volunteer associations. Visiting hours are on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
I'll show you more details in the days to come.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
This photo was shot on the edge of Molfetta's industrial park. The large parking lot you see beyond the birds is often full of caravans of gypsies in their RVs. On this day it was just me and the seagulls.
I haven't yet had time to read the instruction manual for my new camera... I think that's pretty obvious from the so-so quality of the photos I've been posting for some time now. Hopefully, I'll have time to study up now that I've finished the translation, but that's not necessarily a given. I already have two new projects in the works...
In any case, I don't have high hopes for this camera. It's just another tiny little digital thing. I don't think Santa Claus quite understood what I had in mind when I said, "new camera." But, hey, I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth!
Friday, January 16, 2009
Trani is a small coastal city located two towns up the Adriatic coast. It is a very beautiful and well worth a visit (click here for photos and info).
In other breaking news, I finished the translation of the book I was working on!!! It was a "cinematic travel guide" to the region of Apulia. Basically, that means a travel guide that also talks about all the films that have been shot in the region. It was fascinating work! When the English version comes out, I'll post a link so you can all run out and buy your own copy! ;-)
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Yesterday's fishing expedition yielded exactly zero fish...but I think this is a case where it's not necessarily the result, but the process that's important. It would be nice to have caught some fish, but it was just as nice to be out in the boat in the fresh air and sun!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
This road runs north-south along the Adriatic coast. It was built in 1990 to accomodate the traffic expected for the FIFA World Cup. Some games were played in Bari and previous to 1990 the only way to get to Bari was along the old coastal road SS16. This is a narrow two-lane highway that passes through all the little towns along the coast, obliging you to stop at all the traffic lights, let children cross the street, wait for delivery trucks to finish delivering...very slow, as you can imagine.
So, thanks to soccer, Apulia was remembered by Italy and got a bit of needed infrastructure. Since the new road runs parallel to the old road, they didn't bother thinking up a new name or number, but called it SS16bis.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
* Bonus points for those of you who noticed the subtle continuation of my leafless tree theme in this photo! ;-)
Monday, January 5, 2009
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Saturday, January 3, 2009
The mulberry (called "gelso" in Italian) is a common tree around here. It produces a tasty yellow or purple fruit: the mulberry, of course. We have one in our yard here in Molfetta. The fruit ripens in the summer and you have to pick it when the moment is just right. Too early and the berries are dry and tasteless, too late and they get bruised or eaten by insects.
Friday, January 2, 2009
The stones that the pavement and base of the wall are made of are called "chianche" locally. They are large square, or rectangular, blocks of local stone, usually 30-50 cm deep. They are quite solid and will last for an extremely long time. They were used in the past to pave streets and sidewalks. When I lived in Molfetta's old town, my walls and floors were made of this stone. It was rather cold and unforgiving for little boys still unsteady on their feet!
Stone is one of the most abundant raw materials throughout the region of Apulia. As a result, it has always been the primary building material. You won't see any wooden houses around here. We're short on trees, except for olives and they're more important for their fruit than their wood, but there is stone everywhere, both above and underground.
Just trivia, but in Molfetta a boring person is called a "chiancone," or "big block of stone."