Week 2 in Rocca Imperiale

I am finally back from my field week in Rocca Imperiale! What an experience, Southern Italy is so scenic and beautiful!

A small congregation of only about 2,000 homes, the entire town is built into the side of a mountain. Rocca Imperiale is straight out of a storybook; its thin, cobblestone roads snake around small, colorful homes on its way to the medieval castle on the very top of the mountain. Built in the 15th century, this fortress was once one of the most important Greek trading posts and vantage points in all of Southern Italy. There are still holes in the foundation where secret passageways were laid for a straight route from the sea, only 4 kilometers away, to inside the castle.

My class went to work in the Church of Santa Maria in Cielo Assunta; it was first church built in the town beginning in 1239. There, we worked to restore the 17th century poliptic painting and sculptured frame of the main altarpiece. We also restored a few other small pieces from the interior of the church, and a few students worked on the door of the the former Franciscan monastery (16th century). The bed and breakfast we stayed in fed us abundantly and was very accommodating when taking my vegan diet into consideration. Every dish they made was produced with the fresh produce from around the area, molto delizioso!

I feel that I am absorbing so much while being immersed in the conservation and restoration processes our professor is teaching us on real works of art! Not to mention my Italian greatly improving from spending an entire week in a small Italian town where there was no internet, no phone service, and no English speakers aside from our professor. Another challenging but wonderful week in Italy! 🙂

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