Ok. let's see if we can make a bit more sense of this situation….. 18 hours ago I found an article linking to barganews written by a blogger called Grant who was recently here on holiday in Barga with his family. I read a couple of his blogs and thought that his slightly quirky view of Barga was worth putting up on the site to see if a larger audience would also find it interesting. There used to be a section on the site called "also in the news – articles about Barga" but that has long been deleted and so I put the article under "A reader writes" banner. It was on the front page but just a headline.
Below is the full text of Grants blog;
I was recently on holiday in Barga, Tuscany and one day I ventured up to the top of the charming medieval village to take a look at the Duomo San Cristiofano, built and variously altered between the 9th-15th Centuries. I first of all had a stroll around the outside to look at the exterior and take in the impressive views across the mountains before heading inside. It was lovely and cool in there – just what I needed after the trek uphill in 35°C heat – and so still and quiet. As I looked around I noticed the usual Catholic trappings – lit candles, statues, etc. and also something else that I had half-expected to find but had really hoped wouldn’t be in there…
I was last in Italy six years ago and an abiding memory of my many visits to churches and cathedrals is the large number of coin-operated things found inside which detract immensely from the beauty of the architecture and the general feeling of “churchiness”. I think the worst example I can remember is from a church in Assisi which had a collection of coin-operated neon crosses and fake electric candles which looked utterly tacky and out of place. Anyway, in the Duomo San Cristiofano I had noticed that it was quite dim and dingy but there was no need to worry about that – situated right next to a statue was a box that would happily guzzle 1 Euro coins in exchange for a limited period of bright illumination. Quite how popular that was with the folk in the church praying or doing their candle-lighting down at the front is unknown to me but it must have been mildly distracting, at the very least.
For me, just the presence of that machine changed the whole mood of the place and turned it into something commercial and touristy which I didn’t really like (although I shouldn’t really say too much about that since I was being a tourist after all, but at least I didn’t actually turn the lights on or make any noise unlike some other loud, brash folk who came in – I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to guess which nation of cheesburger-eating invasion-monkeys they belonged to ).
As I continued looking around inside the Duomo I discovered a likely candidate for what the profits from the machine could be spent on. Maybe the church could splash out on a new Pyrex bowl to sit inside the font? Incidentally this contained the foulest, most sediment-ridden “Holy” water I have ever seen.
Mmmm, come to think of it, could the title of this post be a witty and cutting remark about the corruption which may (or may not) exist within the Catholic Church? Nah, not really
*doesn’t rock boats*
Over the next 18 hours a dozen comments were posted up here and on his own blog and as Grant himself said "Well, we’ve got a bit of chat going over at barganews.com and apart from me being called a petty, childish, self-obsessed, complaining, offensive, mindless church-desecrater, I think it’s going rather well " which kind of summed it all up really.
Please read comment number 13 and accept my apology for not making all of this clearer beforehand.
Now that we have hopefully cleared the air a bit maybe you all might be interested in just where Grant's story is now leading ?
The ever ready award winning photographer O'Connor (whiskey-swilling
Dublin Kerry wife-beater) was sent up the Duomo in investigate the sediment-ridden Holy Water font. Grant is right on the ball – the recent reconstruction work going since the spring has left its mark, but wait there's more.
Grant did you notice the baptismal font to the right as you enter the main door ? It is covered over with fitted copper lid with a small trapdoor. Open the door and what do we find ?
SHOCK HORROR PROBE
The Holy Water is kept safe, clean … and well … holy … in two Tupperware containers
Now, who would have thought ?
This seems to want to just run and run. We sent the award winning photographer O’Connor back once again into the Duomo this afternoon. (he is now complaining that he spends more time in church than the priest does) He put one Euro into the box and filmed the lights in the Duomo. We can now say categorically that one euro gives 5 minutes light.