Looking up: a heavenly interlude

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Don't worry, Gran, they're still feeding us! There's the beautifully lean Culatello di Zibello that's been cured on the moist banks of the Po; there's the traditional Prosciutto from the hills behind Parma, where the Mediterranean air carries scents of chestnuts and pine trees; and the fragrant porcini mushrooms from the mountains. But before we go on to the next meal, a pause to savor the religious history of this place.

Cathedral dome.JPG Baptistry ceiling.JPG
Ceiling of the dome in the Parma cathedral; ceiling of the baptistry

Il Papa was on TV last night, in a live feed from the 17th century Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Looking upward, he would have seen many domes.

Here in Parma, though, the massive romanesque cathedral has but a single dome, painted in 16th century by Correggio with an awe-inspiring sense of upward movement in his spiral of angels. And just across the piazza, the imposing gothic baptistry has eight sides, decorations in Byzantine style, and another painted dome.

The unique, historic good fortune of Emilia Romagna is its agriculture: fertile plains, fresh water from Italy's longest river, favorable winds, easy access to salt (don't laugh; read Mark Kurlansky's terrific book). How fortunate we are today that its medieval citizenry invested the quirky gift of prosperity in the creation of great art. Okay, a lot of it was bishops building the power of the Church. No matter: the lofty architecture of Parma's piazza owes its very existence to the happy circumstances of the lowly pig.

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Okay, how about some recipe's Ronald? How about a nice pasta like Pappardelle with a sumptious sauce like a blending of Prosciutto, fresh garlic, parmessan cheese in heavy cream, etc., that glides over the pasta ever so smoothly and a nice glass of Lambrusco?

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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on December 1, 2006 10:27 AM.

Hamming it up in Parma was the previous entry in this blog.

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