Home > Uncategorized > Part Otto – “Am I the only one here who likes Masaccio?”

Part Otto – “Am I the only one here who likes Masaccio?”

Tuscany means the English, not just the English, but the sort of English person whom one gets sat next to at a dinner party if last year the host caught you behind the conservatory doing something compromising to his wife/daughter/cat, and has waited a full year to be revenged. Every street of every town throngs with fat, furious looking women charging from basilica to basilica, all enjoying an experience of immense self-satisfaction, marred only by these other ghastly English people, none of whom are able to appreciate Tuscany nearly as well. Their husbands follow at a distance of ten paces, morosely photographing things. In the evenings, they sit on verandahs exercising the talent for complaining which hallmarks our island race abroad.

The worst instance of this behaviour was a comment placed in the visitors book at the convent in Piestrana where I stayed, written in the sort of spiky, outsized handwriting that one imagines plagues the offices of the government departments responsible for potholes, street-bunting etc. It also followed a string of very gracious comments in French, German and Italian, and referred to an extremely pleasant facility provided at minimal cost out of the sense of Christian charity of the local religious community. Over an entire A4 page it berated the nuns opposite for not coming over to wash the feet of our hero, ending rather huffily, “WITHOUT CHARITY THERE IS NO LOVE, AND WITHOUT LOVE THERE IS NO GOD”. I see no particular reason why nuns ought to devote their time to washing the feet of impertinent English people, and in the context of the rest of the comments, a rant which failed to demonstrate the slightest trace of thanks or grace made one sigh and wonder why it is the English have to be such shits. Fortunately, the other English language entries were all by Americans describing how they had only walked 5kms when the Lord, or LORD! as they would have it, sent first a pizza restaurant and then a taxi, neither of which they were able to refuse without the possibility of incurring divine displeasure.

Incidentally, I found a copy of the Times the other day and see that the science v. religion debate is in full swing again. Most disappointing was the assertion by the woman debating Dawkins on the inside pages that the pleasant sensation engendered by religion is sufficient reason for her to hold such beliefs. This is entirely wrong – the factual status of an act is not related to the sensation it produces. It is entirely possible to prove the truth not just of religion, but of the Christian faith by reference to the argument from Miracles. The modern church, in its Anglican incarnation at least, appears neither to care for the miraculous, nor to believe in it, likewise fundamental tenants of Christian belief which are required in order to illuminate the way in which the world does work, such as the existence of demons. The argument is, I feel convincing, but I shall set it out in a couple of weeks when I am at home and have time. In the meantime, the Dr Rowan Williams will, no doubt, keep the home fires burning.

This part of Italy has been wonderful. The Cathederal at Siena was an awesomely beautiful building in the truest sense, a place you could not help but observe open mouthed, the hospitality (including feet washing) has been outstanding and the scenery compelling (providing one finds ploughed up fields of mud compelling, otherwise not). Unlike the French and Swiss sections which brought each day a greater natural beauty, the Italian section brings each day something fine crafted by man. Today, I am in Bolsana, visiting the catacombs of St Christina, and viewing the miraculous host from which bleeding was reported in the thirteenth century, thus confirming the doctrine of transubstantiation. A very pleasant stop.

All best to you all, and thanks to those of you following this. Shall write in greater detail when I have more time in Rome. Tx

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. September 7, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Keep going! Have fun. Listen to Amelia, orange trousers are not good. If you hit Rome in the next two weeks visit Santa Sabina, the Dominicans are in General Chapter, have just elected the 87th successor of St. Dominic – Fr. Bruno Cadore, and in general are in fiesta form. Several of the Oxford community are in residence, including the Prior – and I am sure they would shout you a beer.


  2. Harrison
    September 9, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Why are you in Italy, Pascoe? I thought you were heading towards Spain. So why are star date co-ordinates set towards Rome and not Santiago de Compostela? Did you over-imbibe and take the wrong turning at the Alps or have I missed a page/lost the plot?

    Confused of Glasgow XXXX

    PS: Oh it’s lovely Roman in the gloamin’

  3. Jonas Ewe
    September 14, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Probably too late, but I hope you walked from Monte Mario to Via di Porta Angelica, through the north collonnade into the Piazza San Pietro? Architectural experiences like that can not be bettered. The fatigue of a days walk no doubt contributs to the experience, that may well be religious, whatever that means. Well done and enjoy Rome.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: