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Madame Gamborota's Art Critique

The town of Assisi, where everything is covered in stone and marble. My first impression was, "What a dreary looking town. There's not much green here and it looks like everything's covered in cement." It wasn't tourist season either so there were very few people around.

 I remember one old staircase we climbed that was worn with a deep curve on every step. It was solid marble and 1,000 years old. How many feet had climbed up and down those worn treads?

The steps led to the apartment of an American lady who had lived in Assisi since World War II. She was someone who had a deep appreciation for the art all around her. The apartment had a single window up high on a wall in the kitchen with a view of a stone wall. The rooms were spacious and we all sat down on the furniture and the floor as Madame Gamborota poured us each a small shot glass of Gamborota.

She told the story of what that name means. She had a limp and complained of rheumatism so she went down to the local storekeeper to ask for a remedy. The shopkeeper said, " Oh Senora Gamborota, you have Gamborota in your leg and you need to drink a little Gamborota to ease the pain." It's all Italian, of course, so I still don't know the exact translation of what that means. The important thing was that she was in the right place. Her name meant something there, her malady had the same name and there surprisingly was a remedy, with the same name. She always kept a bottle of the liqueur handy.

Then Madame Gamborota talked about the color of several stones and a small marble sculpture that sat in the center of the room. For some reason everyone looked at me when the questions began. I was not sure how to respond but did my best to answer her color quiz. She very politely explained how I was all wrong and challenged us to see color everywhere and in everything. Gray and brown have underlying hues that the average person doesn't really notice but it was important for the artist to see color.

Later as we were walking back to the bus I thought about what colors I could see in the gray stone that covered absolutely everything. The sun was setting and now the missing hues showed up.

It's easy to see the small town of Assisi in one day and you can enjoy walking it's marble covered streets and staircases.  Assisi info for the traveler tells you all about what to expect.

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