Saturday, November 2, 2013

26 April, Cremona and Pieve San Giacomo

I am sitting in a shop, Centro Estetico Bellessere, in the paese or village named Pieve San Giacomo. I just walked to both ends of town from this shop. There is a flower shop which mostly serves the nearby cemetery, which I did not see on my walk. Along the street, is a violin maker and old church with a very old brick bell tower behind it. I saw also a bar, a bank, a tiny grocery store, two beauty parlors, a pharmacy and I think two schools. It seems out in the middle of nowhere, but a teenager just skated by with his hockey stick in hand. 

1400 residents live here, according to Valentina, who is Mario's sister. I see some really old women, along with teenagers, young mothers pushing strollers, a handful of men loitering outside the bar.

Bars in America have absolutely nothing in common with an Italian bar. Bars here are a gathering spot for a cappuccino and brioche in the morning, a meeting place for retirees, a place to watch sporting events. It's the town or neighborhood community gathering place. 

I suspect there is lots of life behind this sleepy looking town. Several BMWs have just zipped into a nearby compound.

Mario and Marta dropped me off and sped away in their car, about an hour ago. Mario's sister works in this shop. It's perfect work for her. There are two tanning locations, one for standing and one for laying. There's also a massage table, make-up for sale or application for a special occasion and a tattooing bed where she performs permanent eyebrow and lip outlining.

But surprise! Valentina now runs this shop after her employer ran off one night, leaving the shop, a child and husband behind. I'm so happy for her. She has found a place to call her own. Makeup has been her passion for years. With her purple streaked hair, she is just right. (My Italian is progressing and I am understanding very well.)

Today, I brought Valentina a jacket she needed purchased from Harley Davidson, in California. Her dream is to ride a Harley from coast to coast in the USA. 

She had made arrangements with her store neighbor to her left, a violin maker, to show me his shop. What a nice man! His name is Niccola Zurlini. I asked a thousand questions.

He makes the whole instrument, including varnish and stringing. He doesn't play, but if he could he would. Time is a problem for artists. They have to decide where to focus. 

I asked him if it always been his dream to be a violin maker. Answer: yes.

He brought out his small book of pictures, showing his other works, gorgeous inlaid tables. Also he showed me a brochure of wooden mosaics. Such art work. I have admired the mosaics done with precious stones in Firenze

We talked about my son Chris. He agreed, it's not an easy life to be an artist. I have an understanding or rather a better appreciation for artists. They are things differently. 

I asked if he visited schools and talked to young people about his art. Yes, he does do this. He also has young interns who work a 'stage' with him. I could have talked for hours to this man. He was dangerously handsome and interesting.

His elderly father came into the shop while I was there and I thought it best to leave. I did ask if his father was also a violin maker. No he wasn't. 

With a 15 minute stroll, I had walked to the end of town. The road continues right out into the flat countryside. This is the River flood plain. 

I heard children playing inside a courtyard. A young boy and a girl were driving a motorized miniature car! 

I saw some Indians (India) walk into town. Valentina told me they are dairy and vegetable farmers. I have seen quite a few Indians have settled on the Valley. 

After mopping her shop floor, Valentina closed her shop and drive me back to Cremona, about a 20 minute drive. 

I have had another long day. This  morning I walked through Cremona and finally found two pairs of shoes I liked. I then found the hard cover book The Secret Language of Flowers' which I will use to read along with my audio book. I bought Mario 'What do People do all day' in Italian, so he had his own manly book to read to Baby G. I think he really did like it. 

The rhythm of life in Cremona is so agreeable to me. I could stay here forever in Italy.

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