February 2010

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11 Feb I Suppose This Means…

…we don’t get a walk today, Mama? I mean, it’s just a little snow. We like snow! Really! There are lots of good smells to smell under the snow. We won’t be cold. We have fur coats! Please, Mama? Please, just one little short walk? Pleeeeeeeaaseeeee….?

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01 Feb Ferrara Live

Am immersing myself in sixteenth-century Ferrara. So much of the old city has been preserved—the medieval city walls, the Castello with its four massive towers, the magnificent Romanesque cathedral, the many palaces of the Este including the Palazzo dei Diamante, which today houses the National Picture Gallery, and the Palazzo Schifanoia with its incredible fifteenth-century frescoes. My Barbara would have known them all, walked their floors, touched their walls, breathed their air. It’s a daunting and delightful thought.

Sometimes I watch the various webcams of modern-day Ferrara.

Città di Ferrara, various webcam views

Today, for example, it’s clearly sunny and cold—the sky is blue behind the clouds but there is snow on the roofs and here and there in the streets. Much of my story takes place in December, January and February of 1565 and 1566, and I imagine the weather to have been similar. I imagine Barbara’s breath as a visible cold mist when she goes out into the city to pursue her secret plan…