Archive for December, 2013

Lecce: Rock, Paper, Scissors

20131231-180854.jpgToday it rained during our visit to Lecce. We are mid-way in our trip to the Salento, visiting marvelous archaeological sites and museums. Houses and walls and churches are built in a local baroque style from this creamy limestone, and glow even in a steamy drizzle.

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Umbrian Images

As the year comes to a close, we thought we’d share some images that haven’t appeared in our other stories. Click to enlarge.

Happy Holidays, one and all!

Sasso e Spazio:

"An old couple"

“An old couple.” These two buildings seem to have known each other for a long time. Via del Silenzio, Perugia.

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Castel Rigone, Weeks 15-16-17: Card Games

Luca Ubaldi in action for Castel Rigone v. Vigor Lamezia, from Umbria 24

All last week, the Giornale dell’Umbria published stories on Castel Rigone going for a ‘poker’. A ‘poker’ in Italian means a hand with four aces. In sporting terms, this indicates either scoring four goals in a game, or a string of four successive wins. On Sunday, the team earned that club-record fourth win in a row. A 1-0 victory away at Sorrento Calcio, after defeating other strong opposition (first-place Teramo and seventh-place Vigor Lamezia), vaulted Castel Rigone into fifth place at the midway point of the season, firmly within the survival zone of the top eight teams. (In Italian soccer, tiebreakers for teams level on points are: first, head-to-head record; second, overall goal difference.)


Standings at the winter break, from Lega Pro. G = games played; V = victories; P = draws; P = losses; Gol: goals for-and-against; DR = goal difference; PU = points.

The victory at Sorrento was achieved without their top striker, Dario Tranchitella, who was on the bench with the flu. Two other first-team strikers (Di Paola and Cappai) have either been transferred or are about to be transferred, leaving the team thin up top. Although Marco Agostinelli was the only experienced option, he came through to score the only goal in the 69th minute (video highlights below). Coach Fusi played a 4-3-3, which pushed two midfielders up alongside the central forward, making him use most of his experienced centrocampiste from the start. Everyone is expecting Cucinelli to fortify the squad with at least two attackers and another midfielder in January.

When I first learned about the team, they were second-to-last in the division. Now they are in as good a place as they could have dreamed of coming into the season. What factors have led to success so far in their first professional season?

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Jakob’s First Cello Recital in Italy

On Wednesday night, Jakob played in a cello recital organized by his teacher, Andrea Rellini. Jakob, inspired by Yo-Yo Ma’s visit to DePauw in 2011, began cello lessons with Eric Edberg in February 2013. His lessons with Andrea did not start until October. So far, Jakob has had about 10 sessions with his Italian teacher.

Jakob opened the recital with Minuet No. 2, by Bach:

After the other students played their individual pieces, the cellists performed as an ensemble.

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Micah vs. the Volcano

The monster on the horizon

The monster on the horizon

This last week we were in the Bay of Naples as I tried to get good photographs of, and from, Mt. Vesuvius for use in my sabbatical book project on Pliny the Younger’s letters about the A.D. 79 eruption. Simon was on a school field trip in the same area, and the weather was supposed to be brilliant all week (it was; 58 and sunny), so it seemed the best time to go.

Both Simon and Jakob had twice been up the mountain; the former had made the 20-minute cindery climb from the parking lot even at age two; the latter I had to carry both times, so I was grateful that Micah was willing to hike, though he was fairly apprehensive during the approaching drive, constantly asking whether the volcano would blast off while we were up there. Assurances that Vesuvius had been sleeping since 1944 did not appear to help.

On the way up, we noticed some new artistic installations built into and cut out of knuckled outcrops of frozen lava; Micah and Jakob immediately insisted on jumping out to climb around:

Micah rustles up some courage

Micah holds the coin he intended on throwing into the volcano

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Simon’s Strike


The moment before

Saturday we returned from five days in the Bay of Naples (which will eventually generate several posts). After stopping at Tivoli on the way back to visit two monumental garden-villa complexes (yet another post), we arrived in Perugia just an hour before Simon was due to be at Don Bosco for his soccer game that day. We were all tired and a bit creaky and cranky as we shuffled down to the fields for the game.

Not knowing whether or not Simon would make it, the coach hadn’t put him on the team sheet, but various defections in the squad (for illness, birthday, etc.) meant he had a chance to play. The opponent was Nestor Calcio, a tough opponent who had beaten Passignano 12-1 (and Passignano had beaten Don Bosco 5-0!). With Don Bosco near the bottom of the table (see below), it looked to be a tough afternoon. After a barrage of shots from Nestor, including three off the post or crossbar, and a great many complaints from the visiting parents about offside calls, Don Bosco went ahead thanks to a beautifully taken strike by our right winger, Jordy. At halftime, Simon went in to play his usual right-sided defensive midfield spot, but soon Nestor had taken the lead thanks to a long-range blast and a free kick that bounced in front of our keeper, fooling him.

As the game passed into added time and still hung in the balance, Don Bosco won a free kick on the right side. Pushing the entire squad into the box in hopes of an equalizer at the very end of the match, coach Titoli asked Simon to take the free kick, from about 40 meters out. Here’s what happened:

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