Gnomon, revisited

Today, I attended a summer solstice event at Santa Maria del Fiore (aka the Duomo)—the observation of the transit of the sun on the meridian plane, a phrase I don’t understand any better than I did when I attended Lo Gnomone a couple of years ago! As with reading certain books, though, I hope that repetition will eventually lead to some degree of understanding.

What stood out for me this year, having seen this before, was the reaction of other people. When the sun’s rays first appeared on the pillar opposite me, the couple next to me was astonished. When the sun’s light morphed into a disc on the floor, people were craning necks and lifting phone cameras to capture the image, especially since it disappeared and reappeared as clouds moved over the sun. When the disc of light eventually covered the marble disc on the floor, the woman next to me said, “You can actually see the sun move.” When I repeated what the professor giving the presentation said, “It is we who are moving,” her eyes widened and she said, “You’re right!” It was a great moment of connection over this interesting phenomenon.




Castello Pomino

Peter Sagal, of NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, will often say to the Not My Job guest, “What a pleasure to talk to you.” That’s what I would say about a recent tour and wine-tasting at Castello Pomino—what a pleasure!

Castello Pomino is one of the Frescobaldi vineyards and as we learned, the one highest in elevation. Driving there took us through a forest that eventually opened into hillsides covered with grapevines. It came into the Frescobaldi family via Leonia degli Albizi, who married Angelo Frescobaldi. The branch of the Albizi family from which she was descended was banished from Florence in the 14th century and made their way to France. They were eventually called back to Italy in the 19th century by the last surviving member of the Italian branch of the family. When he died, the estate passed to her family.

As our tour went on, I developed a ‘girl crush’ on Leonia. In addition to introducing, with her brother Vittorio, French varieties of grapes, she built the first gravity-fed cellars in Italy (we saw the building plan!). A recent addition to Pomino’s wines—the first sparkling wine produced in Tuscany—was named Leonia in her honor.

Our guide was excellent and made the history of Pomino come alive. Tasting the wines was even more interesting than usual, as they seemed so much a part of the stories we heard.

Images © Melissa Corcoran.


Weekly Photo Challenge: All-Time Favorites

This image of Hyde Park near sunset is one of my favorites. I was in London on a business trip and with an afternoon free, I wandered around the area near the hotel, camera in hand. It was an unseasonably warm day, and I think the combination of heat and moisture created the effect. 

It was one of those times that I was in a state of ‘flow’ (as opposed to those times when I’m noticing every mistake I’m making, photography-wise). To this day, I am slightly embarrassed that I didn’t immediately respond to the greeting of one of my colleagues in the hotel lobby because I was still in another world.

Like so many others, I am sorry to see the Weekly Photo Challenge end. I’ve enjoyed the challenge and seeing others’ responses.

For more entries in this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: All-Time Favorites, click here.

Image © Melissa Corcoran