The Roman alphabet, first developed by the Etruscans and further refined by the Romans, is the foundation of many modern-day languages.
It is interesting to note that the modern Italian Alphabet consists of 21 letters, with J, K, W, X and Y not present. These ‘missing’ sounds are easily formed by joining letters together, for example, a ‘j’ sound is formed by adding the vowel ‘i’ or ‘e’ after a ‘g’, as in Buongiorno. A ‘k’ is formed by adding an ‘i’ or ‘e’ after a ‘ch’, as in the girl’s name Chiara. More can be found here.
If you don’t live in Italy and want to learn the language, a good starting point is the alphabet and the way it is pronounced. The Italian word, analfabeta means illiterate. Naturally.
The climb to the highest point in the Umbrian hill town of Spello, Italy, is steep but the view is stunning. At sunset, the heat haze gives a pink glow to the olive groves and colline, the foothills sweeping up to stony Assisi in the distance. A welcome park bench awaits with an older gentleman keen to chat about the Roman ruins to be found a few steps away.
A black cat glides by and carefully balances on the drinking fountain, eager to quench its thirst.
The teenage girl can’t resist: she carefully pats the cat and follows it along the cobblestone path, yearning for a pet after her long months of travel.
Photographic themes and challenges are a lot like time travel. I hop into the Tardis and revisit wonderful places, remembering the conversations, the food, the ambience. After the visit, a few timely crops are made and then the hunt is on to extract a few pearls that might fit the chosen theme.
This week it’s numbers and we are heading off to Umbria, Italy.
A house sign in Spello, on Tempio Diana Street. Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, the moon and birthing, continues to make her presence felt throughout Italy. It is interesting to note that the cult of the Virgin Mary was tacked on to that of Diana, ( and in Sicily where Greek connections are stronger) that of Artemis too.
Spello is an enchanting small hill town in Umbria. Apartments to rent are economical and the views from the top of the town provide vistas of Umbria, the olive grove walk from Spello to Assisi, and also the industrial plains in between, ever-present but rarely mentioned.
The search for dinner is on. Will we dine at Number 9?
Despite my attempts to fill her head with history, dates, architecture and numbers, Mischa Bella was still in search of her idol, Justin Bieber, and found him in Italy. She also found the Twilight actors in Volterra! Thank goodness she has now outgrown him.