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Hail Clouds in Chianti 19/10/2011

Posted by florencecapital in Uncategorized.
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How often, in summers spent near Siena, I have heard, as the hail clouds darkened over the Chianti, church after church take up the flying peal, ringing to break the cloud and avert the danger! The direct, unmistakable claim of the church-bells themselves, the fulgura frango so often fused with them as a bell-inscription, shows that in no secondary sense as a call to prayer, but in itself, the sound of the bell is relied on as a true defence. Nor is any ritual consecration by the Church thought necessary to secure this effect. In the days of danger, between Christmas and Epiphany at the opening of the year, I have met in a Tuscan country town masked dancers in white, ringing bells at nightfall in the principal street. And these were precisely horse-bells which the maskers had hung about their necks, strap and all, just as they came from the harness. It would seem, in fact, that what brightness and colour are trusted to do by day is secured by night when the bells are heard; the baroccio and its driver travel safely in the darkness under cover of that cheerful chime.

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