Wednesday, August 19, 2015

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 208

 Piazza Grande

 Different view of the Cathedral

Some time ago my wonderful French friend sent me these postcards from Modena, Italy where he now lives.  The first one, at the top, shows the Piazza Grande with the Cathedral and the Communal Palace.  They are UNESCO World Heritage sites.  The first stone for the Cathedral was laid in 1099 under the direction of the Countess Matilda of Tuscany. The second card shows another view of the Cathredal.  The third card, below, contains a picture of the theater designed in a "pure Italian style," according to my friend.

The theater house

Modena is best known today as the “capital of engines” or the “World’s Super Car Capital” because Ferrari, De Tomaso, Lamborghini, Pagani and Maserati have headquarters in the city or nearby.  The 360 Modena (Ferrari) and a Ferrari color Modena yellow were both named for the city.  There is a strong sporting tradition in the town mainly involving auto racing.

Modena is very ancient.  The Villanovans inhabited the territory around Modena in the Iron Age.  Others who lived here at different times were Ligurian tribes, Etruscans, and the Gaulish Boii.  Although the exact date of the founding of the city is unknown it was already in existence during Hannibal’s invasion of Italy in 218 BC.  The University of Modena was established in 1175 and later expanded in 1686 by Francesco II d’Este.  The Este family was identified as lords of Modena as early as 1288 and from 1336 onward was permanently in power during the Middle Ages. 

Balsamic vinegar is made here and with the city of Parma (and Parmesan Cheese) not far away samples of both these items made their way to us last year—were very tasty and much appreciated.  Tortellini and tortelloni, ring shaped pasta stuffed with meat or cheese, comes from Modena.  Other specialties include meats, hams, salamis and dishes called “zampone” (more fat) or “cotechino” (lean) Modena that are both preserved meats made from less tender cuts, and usually served with polenta and lentils.  For dessert one could choose the Torta Nera, a black tart made of coffee/cocoa with almond filling in a fine pastry dough.  

In addition to the pretty photographs on the card fronts I found the stamps to be interesting and quite lovely as well.  The two blue stamps are most likely the regular postage but the others show the wine industry and a library interior.  As always, my thanks to my kind friend. 

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Since we will be without internet access for a few days, this Thursday postcard is a day early.

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