Italy Extravaganza~ Day VI, Part I

     I know you all are raring to go for more pictures of mountains, but I think today we should slow things down a bit. The former monastery we stayed at was incredibly cool, and the first day I was there was not the time to take pictures. We had been riding around in the car all day and by this point in the trip, I was starting to feel the dreaded effects of fatigue. By the end of the trip I needed a vacation from my vacation. The first full day we stayed here, therefore, I went nuts and took a ton of pictures. I may attempt to cull some of them if they feel they’re getting too dull. Around the outside wall in the courtyard was the coats of arms of all the former abbots of the monastery. I naturally took pictures of them in groups and then one by one. I am quite fascinated by medieval ecclesiastical heraldry. Here too, the coats of arms are not in stone, and not faded so one can clearly see the color of the hat and tassels as well as the number of tassels. The number of tassels indicates rank, ie bishop, archbishop, cardinal or abbot, and the color represents either cardinal or bishop, I get hazy on which the green or the red is.


     This is one one side of a set of coats of arms. The monastery had a few of those faded paintings that I liked getting pictures of so much. The coats of arms themselves are in need of some repair as well. The ones that had been restored were sadly the last and latest set.


     This was one of the other faded paintings. I would have liked to have gotten closer to get the text, but alas my shaky hands were not going to cooperate.


     The first set. The way these coats of arms were done was honestly quite ingenious. Each set of three was set into an alcove that was under some shade and further recessed in, which protected them from the sun.


     You can see that getting this shots was not easy. We do get the different colored hats here.


     You may have noticed that some of the coats of arms repeat themselves a fair bit. Also, remember the one on the far left.


     A lot of these were apparently redone later on, though they need retouching, but thankfully they kept the original style.


     Another example of coats of arms being repeated.


     Now these are an example of coats of arms getting a little more complex. The one on the left has aspects from previous coats of arms.


    If I’m not mistaken, the motto of each abbot is below the coat of arms. And there are the tassels on these, but they’re covered a bit by the coat of arms. The shield type is very different too.


     And here the coats of arms are getting still more complicated. Not the central coat of arms, I don’t even know how I would break it down. Clearly this is not my area of expertise.


     One of the reasons I took closer pictures is that I really wanted the writing. I didn’t think I would have time to get it done, at first, but then I found out we would be delayed and so I took my time to get it done right.


    The rope on the bottom left was holding a sign up having to do with the monastery. Don’t know what it said.


     One of the coats of arms that really needs a little care and attention.


I didn’t notice the door that seems to cut into the coat of arms. Putting a door there was a terrible idea.


     This is the view from my window. Hey, everybody come and look! Mountains! And there are the towns in the valley.


     Mountains as far as the eye can see. This is one of my favorite shots of the mountains and the clouds.


     This was inside the refectory. The paintings were on both sides of the door on the way in.


     The other side of the door. The colors have sure faded a lot.


     And a perspective shot to get all of it in at once. It makes me really wish that someone had taken the time to save this. It must have been stunning back in the day.


     Dedication in the stone.


     The monastery, as one would expect, had a beautiful chapel. This is a shot of the ceiling above the altar, as best I could get since it was roped off. Note all four evangelists. I’m not used to seeing them so prominently but in Italy this was a common theme.


     Remember I asked you to take note of that coat of arms? Here it is again above the altar.


     Here is a nice design on the floor. I could have showed you others, but this one was the best and it stuck out to  m me.


     A distance shot of the ceiling above the altar, showing a bit more of the painting on the front of the wall there.


     The other coat of arms worth noting here. We’ll see it again, I believe, when we go back to the closeup shots of the coat of arms.

I’m still mad at not getting the shots of the four evangelists at St. Ambrose in Milan.

I wish I could have gotten better shots, but I could hardly get any closer than this and my hands were shaking pretty badly that day.


     I am very happy that at least inside the church the artwork seems to be maintained and this picture is much more clear and sharp as well.

100_1127     This eagle is a little weird. It had me wondering if it was intended to be a heron, but what sense would that make? A heron is a bird often found in church paintings and symbolism, but we’ve had the angel, the oxen and the lion, why put a heron here? So it’s a weird eagle.


     I think I may have said this before, but doesn’t this just make you wanna cry? These paintings need some real attention. Just because they aren’t famous doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth preserving

Hey, look! You can see the tassels here! I don’t know why, but I am so fascinated by these. I do really like the older, more simple coats of arms too.


     Here is the middle coat of arms, also red hat. I think the green is for bishop, though I can’t remember. Sadly, I can’t read the names in these pictures.


     Honestly, maybe part of the charm of these older coats of arms is in that is shows its age. It comes from a time before sharp lines.


     A blue hat? Is it just me, or is that hat blue? It also looks like the tassels have been consumed by the red tassels on the next coat of arms.

And here the center one, you can actually see his name on the lower bit. I can’t read it from here, and again the tassels are getting eaten by the next coat of arms.


     In case you were wondering, I think the answer is yes. There were multiple members of one family who were abbots at this monastery.


     I really do like this coat of arms. The light at this point had gotten a little better for taking shots, as well.


     Here you can tell the coats of arms are changing. The tail is getting longer and the lines are getting sharper and more shadowed.


     But again, this may come down to the fact that some of these may have been more restored than others.


     This was my favorite one, other than the coat of arms with the moon. The colors and the yellow chalices are so cool.


     This really is kind of a shame. The coat of arms is so simple that it clashes with the style.


     And the irony is that the coat of arms right next to it maintains a simpler style and looks better for it, despite the more complex design of the coat of arms.


     And here you can actually read the name below the coat of arms and find out whose coat of arms it was.


     I remember these coats of arms being older, so perhaps they used a kind of throwback style? I would have figured the art to be more ornate by this poiint.


     It was very gratifying to get the names to come out clear.


     As much as I hate to admit it? These later coats of arms really are pretty awesome too. They have a lot going on, but in some cases like this they harmonize fairly well.


     This is my favorite coat out of the newer ones. The colors work together so well.


     Another very simple one.


     I’m not really sure what is going on in this one.


     That heraldy has rules in fortunate, because it means that I get to see my favorite colors together a lot.


     It seems like this coat of arms needs a little love and care.


     Simplicity defined here.


     Ok, what is this? Once you get into the point where you’re splitting up the coat of arms into so may pieces, it’s just a mess.


     Even in this simple quartered coat of arms, look at the top right? Why is that there?


     Simplicity carries beauty with it, especially with a canvas that almost demands it if you will.


     I don’t know how this applies to ecclesiastical heraldry, but I do know that Italian heraldry developed very much in its own way.


     At least this one has a more sensible lower part. And no, I can’t remember the technical turns.


     At least it’s nice to see they restored the tassels a bit here.


     As much as I prefer simplicity, this one is very cool The way the drew the eyes to the top was quite nice, and the left panel we’ve seen in previous coats of arms is done more simply here.


     And here it’s even better with the simpler lower panel.


     This still makes me so sad. This coat of arms finds a nice balance between the ornamentation that became popular as time went on and the simplicity I love. Someone save this coat of arms!


     These are the last three that are the newest that have been worked over.


     Even though one of these is cut off by the door.


     The door, you monsters! The door!

100_1169     And here, to wrap up for the day, is a shot of the courtyard.

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