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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Exploring History {Saluzzo}

As a child you are taught to learn from your mistakes. I love the Anne of Green Gables quote where Anne tells Marilla “the great thing about me is I never make the same mistake twice”. The point of learning history in school is to pass the traditions and knowledge of what has been done in the past to make the future better. But there is the common phrase of “history repeats itself.” As Europe is struggling I am praying that they are learning from their past. I pray that they use the things that have divided them throughout history and use them for the further integration and unification of Europe.
I am a lover of history. You’ve heard me talk about my love of too many things and ‘history’ makes the list. Growing up I was a reader and my favorite genre was historical fiction. This weekend I got to live a history class. It was the ultimate field trip.
I visited the Santa Maria Abbey {built in 1154… wow!} and learned that this covering right here {in the picture above} is rumored to be the spot where the Italian bank San Pablo was started. It was started back when monks were living in and running the abbey. We didn’t go through the abbey, but just seeing the outside was enough. Abbeys were built along the pilgrimage routes, so I was on the path of religious history. What is even more impressive is that this was a way to spread ideas along these routes. Monks that lived in the Abbeys are what we can attribute the studies of Socrates, Aristotle, and others to. Their job was to copy the books to be passed on. They not only copied the Bible {remember this is by hand} but the works of philosophers and thinkers.

The buildings in the area that are authentic have a certain style and are made with brick. {It makes my heart happy to see the rustic history} The house that I stayed in was also made of brick and had an outdoor oven and a chapel on the property. Yes, this little farm had a chapel where services used to be held hundreds of years ago. The oven would have been a meeting place for the whole community to come and back their bread. It is rumored that a religious community probably lived on the property hundreds of years ago. This place of hospitality for me had also been a place of community in the past. {Again, makes my heart happy}

inside the chapel When we walked around Saluzzo we saw the old town that still has the walls and gates. We went to the castle and church on the hill. My hosts got married in the church and they showed us how the place has changed from when it was built in the dark ages to now being a hotel. It has been a converted to a hotel because that is the only way that the church will have upkeep. Since the church staff has become smaller and the attached quarters are no longer used the nuns and priests are not up keeping the building. The church still has original fresco paintings from when it was built.

the gate
the church lit at night
the ceiling in an attched building being restoredagain, orginals being restoredThe castle nearby was a jail for awhile. It was just closed in the 1970s when all the fancy technology came out. Before the location of the jail was moved, it was known to be one of the tightest on security. It is almost within the city, but apparently the citizens preferred being able to converse with the inmates. {Italian Style}

up by the jail, it's authentic. can you tell?!?The town of Revello that I saw on Monday morning, while dropping the kids off at school, was originally the retirement city of the queen and her court from Saluzzo. How crazy that a court would be so big to create a new town! From this town if you look up at the mountains there are the ruins of a castle that was also a fort. The French chancellor had it demolished {I don’t know how, but there may have been different country boundary lines then?} because it could see the entire valley and was on the trade line. This meant they not only had the military advantage, but could tax the trading. Big problems for the French!

oh yeah, I was there too...All this history not only backed up my historical fiction readings, but also brought back of everything I learned and memories from Mrs. Richardson’s and Mr. Burrell’s classes on European history. I did learn {and remember} some things, I promise!
See history can be fun, especially if you get to experience it!

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