Carrara is a Tuscan city on the Mediterranean Coast and is known for the quarries of white and blue-grey marble – the stuff Michelangelo carved his famous sculpture David from.
On our 3rd night in Carrara we were on the hunt for something to eat (being Easter most places were shut) and came across your average Pizzeria that was thankfully open. While waiting outside we were approached by a young lady who asked in Italian if we knew of any good restaurants???? She must have read the bamboozled looks on our faces, and quickly switched to English. We had a great chat and it turned out she was from the Chezch Republic, but based in Germany and studying sculpture in Carrara. We got talking about Carrara, these were the words she used to describe it “it’s like the Chezch Republic under communism – everything is falling apart”. She also shared the following observations ” German’s pay money for good housing and cars while Italians, they spend their money on clothes”.
While in Carrara, we had more of an opportunity to learn and employ a few Italian words. I got into the habit of taking photos of messages in windows, hand written signs etc. Then when home we would attempt to decipher them ourselves before translating them into english via google translate. Unfortunately you cant make it out in the photo, but the paper handwritten message taped to the back of this motorcycle read “merde di pasqua”. Translated It said “easter shits”. Perhaps the real meaning was lost in Google translation either way it had us in hysterics. And we learnt ‘merde’ our first Italian slang word.
I didn’t manage to see David, the masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created in marble between 1501 and 1504 by the Italian artist Michelangelo. David is a 5.17-metre marble statue of the Biblical hero David. You can see the Sculpture in Florence at the Academy Gallery. I did however study the replica which is situated in the original’s position in the Piazza della Signoria.
Seeing the sculpture in the flesh (even if it was the copy) then finding more examples of Michelangelo’s work online did give me a greater appreciation for his work. From then on every other representational stone sculpture I saw on the streets, in churches, museums never quite compared to that of Micheangelo’s.
Over Easter Mitch and made a day trip by train to Riomaggiore, a village in the province of La Spezia, situated in a small valley in the Liguria region of Italy. It is the first of the Chinque Terre one meets when travelling north from La Spezia.
Riomaggiore inspired paintings by Telemaco signorini (1835–1901), one of the artists of the Macchiaioli group.