Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Human sacrifice on Monte Lulseto


A recent article in the local paper about the discovery of a Celtic ritual site in the mountains above Reggio Emilia in the Tassaro Valley ignited my curiosity. A series of strange channels and bowls were carved into the face of a huge slab of rock along with other strange incisions. The problem was that the article did not give away (on purpose) the location; just the name of the mountain and the fact it faced west.


Rio Tassaro, RE
The Tassaro valley is one of the wildest and mysterious parts of our mid Apennines. There is a for example a splendid waterfall hidden away and the little hamlets in this area are rich with stone carvings.

I started my walk at Crovara with its ruined castle, the domain of a family of local warlords or more properly bandits called Da Palude who terrorised the area in the thirteenth and fourteenth century. Little now remains of the castle.

Crovara,RE

Castello di Crovara, RE

Castello di Crovara, RE

Devils head, Crovara,RE
Just outside of the church one can see a strange huge stone head, probably an effigy of the devil.  

Looking at the photographs of the Celtic site posted online I more or less got the idea where to go to find the site. I soon came across a suspiciously well-worn footpath going nowhere and after a couple of minutes, Bingo, I had found the site which had been cleared of vegetation by the researchers who found the site.

La pietra Celtica del Lulseto,Crovara,RE

La pietra Celtica del Lulseto,Crovara,RE

La pietra Celtica del Lulseto,Crovara,RE

La pietra Celtica del Lulseto,Crovara,RE
It seems the Celts were into animal and human sacrifice from what I found online about similar sites in Europe. They liked to watch how the blood flowed in the channels and cups carved in the rocks to help them divine the future. So, this most probably was a sacrificial site although nobody can be sure. A site of fertility rites is a less probable reason for the incisions.

 
La pietra Celtica del Lulseto,Crovara,RE

La pietra Celtica del Lulseto,Crovara,RE

Cross. La pietra Celtica del Lulseto,Crovara,RE

La pietra Celtica del Lulseto,Crovara,RE

Cups. La pietra Celtica del Lulseto,Crovara,RE

La pietra Celtica del Lulseto,Crovara,RE


La pietra Celtica del Lulseto,Crovara,RE

The site is quite impressive and strange.   

I still had lots of time so I took the “Sentiero Ducale” footpath along the top of the hills to Pineto a splendid little hamlet with a well-known Trattoria that I must try one day. There is a fine tower house amongst the stone buildings.

Pineto,RE


Rio Riolco, Pineto RE

Mulino della Pianga, Crovara, RE

The return path took me down the other side of Monte Pineto along the thickly wooded Tassaro valley and back to the car. My walks in this area have always proved themselves to be interesting and enjoyable.

Here is an interesting link in Italian about the Celtic site.

Monday, March 27, 2017

A House on a Lake. Vasca di Corbelli


Every year the FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano) open places that are not usually possible to visit. This year in Reggio Emilia, it was possible to visit the “Vasca di Corbelli” a curious country house built on an island in the middle of a huge artificial lake. I have passed this house many times and so an opportunity to see inside was not to be missed.

Vasca di Corbelli, RE

Vasca di Corbelli, RE
This house is part of a complex commissioned by the Dukes of Modena in the mid Eighteenth century comprising of two villas and a huge palace. Only a small part remains of the palace and the other villa houses of all things a ham factory. The “Vasca” has survived quite well.

Vasca di Corbelli, RE
Like many of these villas classed as  a“Casino”, most of the house is taken up by a huge main hall which extends upwards two stories. The small side rooms house the dining room, lounges and bedrooms. These were houses built to hold parties and not to be lived in.

The main hall. Vasca di Corbelli, RE

Vasca di Corbelli, RE

Vasca di Corbelli, RE
Entrance hall, Vasca di Corbelli, RE

The nearby Palace of Rivalta was built in 1724 by Rinaldo d’Este Duke of Modena for his daughter in law, Carlotta Aglae d’Orleans. The lake was built to supply water to the fountains and lakes of the Ducal Palace. The house on the island in the lake was added as a secluded retreat by Carlotta's husband Francesco III some years later when he became the duke. As it was completely surrounded by water a large galleon was used as the only access the villa. Privacy was guaranteed here.

Vasca di Corbelli, RE

Local products. Vasca di Corbelli, RE
Dining room.Vasca di Corbelli, RE

Dining room.Vasca di Corbelli, RE
Vasca di Corbelli, RE
In the space of fifty years and two generations, the reigning Duke of Modena was short of money and was forced to sell to the house to a certain Corbelli. The fa├žade of the house was altered to its present state and most of the frescoes we see inside date from Corbelli’s ownership.

Vasca di Corbelli, RE

Vasca di Corbelli, RE

Vasca di Corbelli, RE
Vasca di Corbelli, RE
A series of owners succeed Corbelli and the house eventually became a night club. The House was only connected to the dry land with a causeway after the Second World War.
 
Vasca di Corbelli, RE

Vasca di Corbelli, RE

Vasco di Corbelli, RE

Vasca di Corbelli, RE

Vasca di Corbelli, RE
The frescoes dating from the late eighteenth century are quite interesting, particularly the “grotesques” which seemed to me like a cartoonish copy of the Fifteenth century ones I have seen at Torrechiara for example, but not without a certain charm.
One of the few original frescoes.Vasca di Corbelli, RE
Vasca di Corbelli, RE

Vasca di Corbelli, RE

Vasca di Corbelli, RE

Vasca di Corbelli, RE

Vasca di Corbelli, RE

These FAI events are incredibly popular. I was glad I went early, as there was a huge queue when I came out. Being crowded it was incredibly difficult to photograph the inside. But the house was well worth the visit.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Carnival again




A visit to the Castelnovo di Sotto Carnival which takes place in the three weeks before Lent is always good fun and is also interesting to photograph.

This is a typical Italian carnival, far more typical than the Venice carnival. Huge carnival floats are towed around the centre of this small town each one blaring deafening music of the worst kind. It is all very raucous. 
 
Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE
One has to watch out as lots of paper confetti gets thrown from the floats and it is impossible to remove. I still find bits of it in my camera bag after two years.
Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE
This year I wanted to do something different with my photographs to try and emphasise the bright colours of the floats.
Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE

Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE
 Best to avoid getting the "bath" though.
Carnival, Castelnovo di Sotto, RE