14 March 2011

Reggio Emilia

This morning we had a guided tour of Reggio Emilia. We saw the main parts of town and visited 3 churches. Reggio is beautiful! The weather was cold and threatened to rain the entire time, but it was beautiful!
The thing I love about tour guides are the funny comments they say, sometimes without meaning to be funny. My favorite quote from our tour guide today was: "This church is dedicated to St. Mary, she did nothing but being the mother of God."
But I learned some very interesting facts and made some unique observations:
- Some versions of the Italian flag (Tricolore: green, white, red) add blue to signify royalty.
- The first Montessori school (in the world) is in Reggio Emilia.
- The Church of St. Mary (La Madonna della Ghiara) is very unique because the ceiling was painted all at one time and so it is all of the same style and tones and artists. Most churches did not have the money to do that.
- The letters SPQR, which one sees everywhere, stand for democracy, a symbol of the Roman Empire. Irony? The Roman Empire was not a democracy!
- The Church of St. Mary has a painting of a horse in the domed roof. No matter what direction you look at it from, it appears to be staring at you. I tried it - it's true!
- Two of the three churches had offering candles that were tapers. Upon closer inspection they were not candles at all.You simply flicked a switch and they lit up!
- A statue or fountain of a man pouring water represents rivers.
- In the church of St. Maria Ascunta there are daisies all over the walls to represent stars.

After the tour, we met the Deputy Mayor in charge of Education and we had some nice speeches. That was then the end of our official day with SCI. The rest of my day was spent with my host. That is another post at another time.
Dancing Fountain in front of Theater 
Friendly tour guide!
One is old, one is young, one looks forward and one looks back. What does it represent? Time
It is traditional that kids sit on these lions outside of the church of St. Maria Ascunta.

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