I will be leaving Rome on Friday morning, headed for Virginia and the Foundation's Creative Mind conference that starts the next day at Sweet Briar College, near Lynchburg. Then on to Roanoke and the Foundation dinner at Hotel Roanoke on November 7th.
The past week started with a fun evening spent with four friends from Mathews, Virginia, at Restaurant Corys, the same restaurant where Malcolm and I had a quiet dinner last May on the night of my birthday. This time we were far from being a quiet table, as we laughed our way through the stories of our various adventures traveling in Italy.
The rest of the week we stayed at home. The weather had turned much cooler and we had fires going and radiators turned on. One evening Roberto grilled steaks on the open fire in the dining room and afterwards roasted chestnuts. "Go fish" has replaced "Old Maid" as the favorite card game, with Sofie winning most of the games, followed by Michela to whom I give advice. There is no need to tell you who comes last. It has been good family time.
On Saturday Becky and Roberto gave a party for the faculty of the Georgia University art program in which Becky teaches. Enza and I helped prepare the meal which started with various types of bruschetta, followed by lasagna. The dessert was tiramisu. I was delighted to be in the company of other artists and was invigorated by the experience.
On Sunday we took Sofie to her religious instruction in preparation for her first communion. By afternoon we were drooping as we suffered from the after effects of preparing for the party. When Becky suggested we all go out for supper on Sunday evening, I begged to postpone it until later in the week.
As I prepare for my return to Virginia, I have that feeling of regret
that tugs at the hearts of all grandmothers whose children and grandchildren
live in distant places. I am putting my arms around Sofie and Michela
at every opportunity to tell them how much I love them. Fortunately, it
will only be a few weeks before the family joins me again to celebrate
Christmas in Waynesboro.
That is it for now from Italy. Ciao.
A note on the Etruscans:
I am intrigued by the Etruscans, not least because little is known of them. They ruled this part of Italy for more than five centuries, from the 10th Century BC, until the Romans gradually subdued them. Some say they were indigenous to central Italy and others that they came from Asia Minor. At one time they controlled most of Italy. They were the first to build on the site of Rome, clearing off the homes of shepherds and draining the marshes.
The tomb I photographed for you is called Tanella di Pitagora (cave-dwelling of Pythagoras). It is in the valley below my house. It has nothing to do with Pythagoras who is unlikely to have ever visited it but it is a well preserved tomb and I am looking forward to showing it to those who come on the Society's tour. There is another more extensive tomb that is also close by. It is in the process of excavation and is closed to the general public but I am hoping we can arrange to have a private tour. No promises but Becky and Roberto will try to persuade the authorities to look favorably on our request to visit.
It is claimed by some historians that the Romans destroyed much of the Etruscan culture and that that is the reason we know little about them. I hope somewhere new discoveries will tell us more. Their elaborate tombs and burials are similar to those of ancient Egypt. The art decorating the tombs is thought to to have been an influence on Michelangelo.
Equally impressive is the Etruscan wall that surrounds Cortona. The massive stones that were used in its construction are as impressive as those of the Egyptian pyramids.
Answer: Haystack Rock