Good evening Ischia! In fact I say good evening but it's considerably past evening by now, a short while ago it could still be considered night-time but we've moved another step ahead as it's just turned morning. However, rather than sign off for the evening I've "coffeed up"© (I don't think I've ever heard this phrase before and I quite like it, hence the ©) and with fingers trembling, eyes boggling and heart palpatating, I'm ready to deliver the second weekly blog of the year.
In terms of events happening on the island things have understandably gone a bit quiet now that the triumvirate (Christmas, New Year and Befana) of festive occasions have ceased but there's still plenty of life left in the island yet. We're past the official date for taking down the decorations but as I scootered around today I did notice a surprisingly large amount of yuletide illuminations that hadn't yet been taken down, not just in houses but whole villages such as Barano are still decked out with flashing stars and Santa Claus (Clauses or Clausi?). I'm not sure what, if any, punishment is due for such a crime but I would expect the last few transgressors to have packed their things away by morning.
So what do you do when it's all gone a bit quiet and the holidays are over? You go and look for churches is what you do. We've steadily been adding to our collection of churches in Ischia over recent months but being an obsessive type I could no longer deal with the incompleteness of the list and decided today would be the day to dot every last i and cross the t's that were missing from our collection. As of this morning we had visited and created a page with photos for 44 of the island's churches. Now this number already seemed quite high to me but when I decided to do some research to see if I'd missed any, I discovered that there are around 70 churches on the island and I'd somehow missed a full 26. I thought I probably had missed 1 or 2 but 26 was not a number I was expecting. "Where could they all be?", I wondered, having done some extensive riding around the island in search of crosses, bell-towers and steeples, I thought I'd got all but a few tiny chapels.
My research told me that I'd made some huge, glaring omissions from my list and had even visited or at least passed a lot of these churches on a regular basis. So this morning I went out armed with my target lost of 26, complete with notes and directions, on a mission (I avoided adding "from God" here, but only just) to photograph and officially visit every one of the previously missed places of worship. To do a job of this kind you can only use a scooter as some of the island's churches were built before any roads existed and therefore reside in little alleyways or at the top of twisting, winding hills. As my notes were considerably less than extensive, I ended up getting lost and confused for long periods of the day and entered into a race against time, or better to say, darkness.
By the time I arrived in the comune of Barano to snap the remaining 6 churches on the list I had a 100% record but alas it was not to last. Taking the road down to Maronti Beach where I (wrongly, as it turned out) was heading for one of the churches, I was struck by possibly the most beautiful sunset that I've ever seen on this island of beautiful sunsets. There was a moment where a sudden cloud had enveloped the village of Testaccio but peeking through a gap was a beautiful, golden orb (the sun obviously) which illuminated everything behind the cloud and showed every nuance of its shape. The camera and the photos I took simply don't do justice to the breathtaking vista on display as it constantly changed shape, colour and form until the sun and the light eventually died.
As you can imagine, darkness isn't really the friend of photography and with the number of churches visited for the day standing at a paltry 21 I had to reluctantly admit defeat in my quest, even if I did take a couple of photos of churches in the dark but those photos will be binned and were nothing more than a defiant losing gesture. To an obsessive, doing 21 out of 26 of anything sits very uncomfortably so I shall have to go and finish the job in the morning, sleep will also be lost and not just because of the pre-blog caffeine fix!
Anyway, work continues apace on the website during this quiet period of the island's cycle and we're hoping to make the most of this time so that we can have everything in place for when you all come and pay us a visit later in the year. You are coming by the way aren't you?
Ok I'm going to sign off for the evening/morning but before I do I should briefly explain why the blog is so late today. Being a football (soccer to you North Americans) fan I couldn't miss the big match this evening, the southern Italian heroes of Napoli playing against the big, bad, thieves from Torino otherwise known as Juventus. Napoli understandably retain the majority of football support on this island but Juventus run them a close second and are loved and loathed in equal measure by the rest of the nation. My affinity went to the local team but alas they were humbled, casting a shadow darker than the cloud in that photo over the island. Ah well, tomorrow's another day and the sun should be out too. Buona notte :-)
Sunday 11th January 2015 – email@example.com
Today’s Saint’s day/Name day: San Modesto martire, Probo, Tatiana
Today in history: The Zulus declare war on the British colonial rule in South Africa (1879)
Born on this day: American singer-songwriter Mary Jane Blige (1971)
Sun-rise (alba) 07:26hrs – Sun-set (tramonto): 16:57hrs
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Hi, I'm Dion Protani, the creator of Ischia Review. I'm here in Ischia to tell everybody about this wonderful island and the weekly blog is designed to give you an insight into the culture and everyday life in Ischia.