It was a busy month, full of expirating practices at work before the end ot the tax year. Nevertheless I managed to cut out some time for me and time to spend with friends and some family members living far away, for the usual celebrations for Christmas and New Year’s Eve………..
It started with a night out with a collegue, who’s becoming a friend very fast…. a walk through the city after work, an aperitif, a quick dinner (but very tasty) and a concert.
The concert was held in St. John Evangelist Abbey Church……….(sorry for the bad pics, but I had only my cell phone)
The monastic complex of St. John Evangelist is made up of the Church , the Convent and the Antique Spice Apothecary of St. John. The origins go back to the 10th century, even if the Baroque facade is the only part that defines its aspect; the bell tower on the right side was added in 1613. The church, following the classical legacy, has an original Romanesque layout (one can see this in the pillars of gray stone with capitals sculpted by Antonio da Parma). The architectural design seems to be the fruit of “suggestions” by the humanists of that epoch (in particular from Grapaldo, author of architectural manuals).
The church is laid out as a Latin cross and has three naves from which there are six chapels. The frieze of the Hebrew and Pagan Sacrifice runs along the central nave, which was designed by Correggio (1522-23) and
carried out by F. M. Rondani. Correggio was also responsible for the decorations of the half-pillars, the decorations on the soffit of the fifth chapel (representing the Holy Father at the center and Saints Peter and Andrew in the side panels), St. Paul fallen from horse, the decorations of the cross and the dome with the Transit of St. John (1520-24) completed by the Church Fathers and by the Evangelists in the wreaths. On the interior we find works by esteemed artists such as: Michelangelo Anselmi, G. B. Merano, the brothers Giacomo and Giulio Francia, C. Caselli, Gerolamo Mazzola Bedoli, C. Reggio, Antonio Begarelli (the sculptor of the terracotta statues), Antonio da Parma, E. Taruffi, I. Martini, C. Aretusi. Another creation of great value is the Wooden Choir, which has inlay work depicting the city and hills, musical instruments and other objects) done by M. Zucchi and by the brothers Gianfranco and Pasquale Testa (1556). In 1508 Cesare Cesariano painted the 17th century furnished sacristy. The left nave is distinguished by the interesting work of a young Parmigianino (1522): the Saints with cherubs represent the characteristic sinuous movement of lines in the soft clothes.
The singers for the night were Sarah Jane Morris and Ian Shaw, and it was pure magic! They sang their own original songs, but also covers of famous jazz songs in their personal styles and it was sooo good! They even made us sing along “Hallelujah” with them…….we all got shivers….
Then it was time to exchange gifts with friends, a night out before Christmas…….
My family (on both sides) come from a little village about 10 kms outside town. In that little village cemetery are buried loved ones (grandparents, uncles and aunts, and my dad), there’s the church where almost all of us were christened (including me and my daughter) and got married (me too), and there’s still our grandparents’s house, now renovated and home of the youngest of my mom’s siblings. That home, that holds so many memories of my childhood, is the usual place for family gathering. That was the case also for last Christmas, one of the rare occasions for us to be all together, from Genoa, from Bologna, from New Jersey, with a hint of Dublin and Granada (my cousins’ partners)……there were so many of us that we had to set two tables plus a little one for the children (even if after a while we were all mixed up!)
There were also three Christmas Tree, one outside, one near the fireplace (not lit up because of the children running around) and one in the entrance with the gifts under it…..and it was hard work to keep the children away until it was time to unwrap them!
That night I thanked God because looking around, I knew I was so blessed!
Christmas’ Eve at home was much more quiet………….
New Year’s Eve……..with a bunch of friends (old and new) at a bar closed for the special night, with dinner cooked by the two ladies running the bar itself, and an english engineer from Leeds (partner of one of them) who was the star performer of the night, he was so much fun! and who – after the second mojito – forgot his poor italian and choose me as his translator………..