Thursday, December 13, 2007

Chalcedony Bianca

Five of us (Mark and I, two other students, and the maestro) crammed into the maestro’s small car and headed south looking for something called “chalcedony bianca”, a type of chalcedony that is, you guessed it, white, and very nice to have when you need a nice white for pietre dure. We exited the main road near Poggibonsi and started searching the back roads. How did we know what to look for? We were guided only by the maestro’s memory from several years ago of a straight road and a restaurant. That’s it. No town or road name. So we searched.

After a while we were going in circles and nothing was making sense, though the country side was stunning to look at. We stopped at a marble manufacturer that happened to be along a road we were travelling and we started picking through a pile of leftovers. No invitation, just routing around. That’s how it goes. We found some pieces and loaded them in the trunk. Then a lady (with a mop, always a mop - and I say that in the most positive sense because a mop in Italy has a much different meaning than a mop in the US - in Italy mops are proud) came out of the building and said okay. Then her husband came and pretty soon we were all in the office as directions were being given to some secret location of chalcedony bianca. It was better than a lesson at school because the Italian was fast and furious and even the Italians didn’t understand each other. We kept trying to leave and then one conversation or another would start up. Mark and I talked to the lady who showed us her son’s work (lo scalpellino) and she talked about her plants (there was a small greenhouse and really interesting plants scattered around).

We got back on the road and after another hour we still didn’t find anything. Everyone was giggling, the maestro kept talking about the mysterious restaurant, and the sun was beginning to fade. Then, suddenly we were on a straight road and lo and behold a restaurant appeared, we took a left on a dirt road, gunned it through some mud patches and viola destination achieved. (Always trust the intuition of the maestro.) It was dark but we were able to pick up some pieces.

Tech geeks that we are, we had our Garmin Nuvi and saved the coordinates. Sorry, can’t share the coordinates because that is the maestro’s secret.

1 comment:

  1. I always answer my door with a Mop. It's a nice companion to greet friends or foe...


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