Tag Archives: mucrone

cardboard vespa…

cardboard Vespa in shop window in Via Italia, Biella

OK I know i have left the place now but i leave you with this last fun fact about Biella: round about the end of WWII in an attempt to create low cost transport for the masses, the first version of the Vespa was invented there! The early version was named by the workers Paperino, or Donald Duck, because of its its strange (subsequently reworked) shape. You can read a full and comprehensive history here.

And i leave you with the worlds most amateur attempt at a Koyaanisqatsi style time laps landscape. Please bear in mind it was done one on a day when i was ill, bored, stuck in my room…and as always without a tripod!

madonna blu/madonna rosa…

…Speaking of Oropa, when i go there, i tend to buy one of these small statues every year.

This wee madonna turns out to be a rather brilliant predictor of the weather. When it is sunny and/or dry, she is blue as above…and when rain comes…like today…

…she turns pink (when i take her home to Scotland she remains mostly pink…!). Works every time…honest!

oropa and madonna nera…

Oropa – i see the dome of oropa every day, weather permitting, half way up a mountain (Mucrone) near Biella, you can just see it there below in the middle of the image…

It is a sanctuary dedicated to the Madonna Nera (black Madonna). Because of this place, most of the “Mary” statues and murals (and there are a lot) in the area are black, for example this one is in a corridor in the Zegna Woolmill up in Trivero.

…and this one in a house in Chiavazza

…and you can even find her on my wrist…


Anyway Oropa is big business in the catholic cult of “Mary” trade, complete with souvenir shops, bars and restaurants and a never ending queue of religious tourism. These photos taken at dusk on Sunday are surprisingly empty as everyone is inside one of the various churches. For those of us outside, the mass given by the Pope in Rome is broadcast booming out from strategically placed speakers around the complex (hence impossible to ignore) for our listening pleasure…

new words…

Useful things i have learned this morning already:

that “ortica” is italian for “nettle”,

that our resident from the USA calls friends that she also works for “frolleagues” (i like it, for some reason it makes me think of frogs in bow ties…)

that  Inass, the Palestinian resident has taught us a really good game called “5 stones” she played as a child, its addictive (will try to make a short film to explain it)

…and that it has finally stopped RAINING!!!!!!

Biella early in the morning, abandoned and converted woolmills along the river Cervo. That is Bielmonte and Mucrone (pre Alp hills and mountains) in the background…