A MELODIC MEMORY … San Gimignano, Italy
Recently I watched the enchanting movie “Tea With Mussolini”. It is the story about the plight of English and American expatriate women in Italy during WW II.
This is a 1999 drama and features Cher, Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Lily Tomlin as the women involved. The story that evolves is both heart-warming and amusing at times. Most of the filming was done in Florence but the end of the movie takes place in the nearby towered city of San Gimignano.
I was very excited by this because my son and I had just enjoyed a day there in November of last year. We had actually spent quite a bit of time in the town’s main church, the Duomo ... where the women in the film successfully save the frescoes from the ravages of war.
It was my second visit to San Gimignano and, as my son and I wandered the streets, I hoped against hope that the same musician who I had photographed before would be there still.
Of course this didn’t happen, but my imagination brought him back to life and I described it to my son.
It was March of 2003 and my friend and I were wending our way to the highest point of San Gimignano. We were surprised to hear music long before we saw anyone playing.
As we approached the crest we saw the musician, who resembled a monk but was more likely a performer who hoped to augment his income by an afternoon’s performance. He had somehow managed to tote his harpsichord over the cobblestone paths to this lofty spot.
We were the only people there so we sat on the grass and soaked it all in ... the magnificent views, the intriguing musician and his medley of Baroque tunes and the total serenity of it all.
Five years later my son and I stood in the same spot and relived that bygone concert. As it had then, this became a highlight of our Italian journey.