Conservationists at Work


Conservationists photographed while working in the cloisters of the Cathedral at Monreale. Each of the 228 columns of the cloister are unique, and their restoration requires painstaking detail in order to maintain the integrity of the designs from the early 1200s when the peaceful, square colonnade was constructed.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Francesca says:

    Hi Allison, I sent you an email, did you get it? I see u were in Little Italy’s Marco Polo festival. I had no clue about that. Love the story on prickly pears. My grandmother always spoke about them.

    1. Ciao Francesca! Yes, I presented a tarantella workshop in Little Italy on Saturday… It’s been a busy few days. I’ll respond to your email this week so we can make a plan! We’re playing at Caffè Vivaldi on Tuesday, October 20 (tomorrow) at 8:30 – 9:30. Once I regroup from the next two days, we’ll be in touch!

  2. I’ve always admired the work that conservationists do. It takes such patience and long-term vision. This looks like a very big, very important task.

    1. Yes, it’s painstaking work. I took this photo in June, and was just back at the site on October 6th. This set of columns looked clean and beautiful!

      1. Francesca says:

        Hi I hope you’ll do well. We were suppose to go food shopping Sat. but I didn’t feel well. Had no clue about the festival. I’ll talk to you soon. Hope you have a great performance! Good Luck! Or break a leg! Fran

  3. Francesca says:

    I have to ask you about figurini — prickly pears. My grandmother used to speak about them nonstop, so did mom and dad. They said that each Prickly pear had a different flavor. One tasted of banana, berries, etc. according to their color. In the USA, they’re awful now. But I n Little Italy even in the 1920-1940s they were stunning. I bought them and they were awful. I wonder how they taste in Sicily. I missed them. It wasn’t their time yet.

    1. Everything in Sicily tastes better. Watermelon, white melon, prickly pears… everything! Mostly because they are grown within kilometers of where you are eating them, and they eat most things in season. So, you aren’t going to find prickly pears at another time of year, just in September/October. And they are bright colored (watch your clothes!) and sweet… and not pulpy. In terms of tasting other fruits in them, I’ll have to try this next time I’m there when they are in season. However, I would venture to guess, that like most fruits which are filled with water, they do take on the flavors of all of the plants grown around them, so yes, it’s absolutely possible that you’d taste hints of bananas (if there’s a banana tree growing nearby) and berries, etc. Just like wine grapes!

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