Not for the rain: that has gone, the heat, the heat

Pizzighettone is a lunchtime stop with lunch. Only the vagaries of Italian transport mean it is a white-heat afternoon tea stop, without tea. Walled and towered, Tom’s kind of place. He spots fans, and something more:

“I rode from Lodi about four of the clocke in the morning, the seventeenth day of June being Friday, and came to a town called Pizighiton seated by the river Abdua about one of the clocke in the afternoone. Over this river we were ferried….

…I went from Pizighiton about foure of the clocke in the afternoone that day, and came to Cremona a very faire city of Lombardy about seven of the clocke in the evening…

…Here I will mention a thing, that although perhaps it will seeme but frivolus to divers readers that have already travelled in Italy; yet because unto many that neither have beene there, nor ever intend to go thither while they live, it will be a meere novelty, I will not let it passé unmentioned. The first Italian fannes that I saw in Italy I did observe in this space betwixt Pizighiton and Cremona. But afterward I observed them common in most places of Italy where I travelled. These fannes both men and women of the country doe carry to coole themselves withal in the time of heate, by the often fanning of their faces. Most of them are very elegant and pretty things. For whereas the fanne consisteth of a painted peece of paper and a little wooden handle; the paper which is fastened into the top is on both sides most curiously adorned with excellent pictures, either of amorous things tending to dalliance, having some witty Italian verses or fine emblems written under them; or of some notable Italian city with a brief description thereof added thereunto. These fannes are of a meane price. For a man may buy one of the fairest of them for so much money as countervaileth our English groate. Also many of them doe carry other fine things of a far greater price, that will cost at the least a duckat, which they commonly call in the Italian tongue umbrellas, that is, things that minister shadow unto them for shelter against the scorching heate of the Sunne. These are made of leather something answerable to the forme of a little canopy, & hoped n the inside with divers little wooden hoopes that extend the umbrella in a pretty large compasse. They are used especially by horsemen, who carry them in their hands when they ride, fastening the end of the handle upon one of their thighs, and they impart so long a shadow unto them, that it keepeth the heate of the sunne from the upper parts of their bodies.”

As Godard – or was it Trauffaut? – says, you can’t go wrong with umbrellas. Tom took the idea home, but as usual he was ahead of his time. Bill Gates says never over-estimate what will happen in two years; never underestimate in ten. Well, it took the umbrella 200 years to catch on with the Brits. And by that time Thomas Cook was offering holidays in the “hell” of the Paris commune.

They advertise an opera here in Pizzi soon. I am glad something is happening. Onwards to Cremona.

About robhunt510

Writer, artist
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