Wednesday, March 25, 2009

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.


Blogger kenju said...

What a great experience!!

I saw that movie when it came out. Now that I've been to Florence, I think I need to rent it and relive that!

2:37 PM  
Blogger Chancy said...

Ginnie You write so beautifully. I can almost see the Florence you are describing.
My husband, daughter and son in law visited Florence about 14 years ago. I remember a restaurant that had a rooftop balcony where we sat and had after dinner drinks and gazed out at the beautifully lit dome of the gold Duomo.

That and the gelato, hot chocolate, the David, and the river Arno Bridge remain a fond memory.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Such serendipitous concerts are special, like the violinist we came across in Stanley Park (Vancouver), or the fiddler sin The Mill (nearby).

5:45 PM  
Blogger dmmgmfm said...

I am going to rent the movie as well. Thanks for the suggestion and the wonderfully told tale.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

The harpsichord is such an amazing instrument, so sophisticated for the time it was actually devised. What a wonderful experience Ginnie, a treasured moment!

4:45 PM  
Blogger KGMom said...

Ginnie--oh great memories--for me also. When we visited Italy a number of years ago, San Gimignano was one of the places we went to. Loved it.
Then a couple of years after that, we saw the movie "Tea with Mussolini" and that brought back all the sweet memories.
Thanks for the reminders.

1:56 PM  

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