Days 32 – 33 Fabriano

I had to take a bus to Fabriano, because Urbino does not have a train station. Adalberto very kindly gave me a ride to the bus station in what I thought was plenty of time to get organized. On the way, we talked about the Festa dell’Aquilone. “I hate it! I hate it!” He couldn’t have been more adamant. “All these people come for the free event, they do nothing. They are not part of the contrades. I participated once as a kid. My contrada won. Veni, vidi, vici. That’s it! No more.” A different perspective.

According to the published schedule, the bus was supposed to leave at 2:40pm. I was at least half an hour in advance. The bus was already at the station so I hopped on and expect to wait.

Imagine my surprise when it took off at 2:20pm. !!!! Had I been just a little bit later I would have missed it, the next one at 6am the next day. I asked the driver was was up, but he spoke so fast, I couldn’t understand his answer. I was just relieved I didn’t miss it.

The drive to Fabriano went through some very green countryside.

And some very hilly mountains made from striated rock.

The bus stopped in Gubbio, which I had visited several years ago. I did not recall how it looked perched on its hilly terrain. I do remember climbing the stairs under the hot sun.

Fortunately I arrived in Fabriano in time and settled in right before the group’s orientation meeting in the hotel’s garden. It looks to be a great group, with several Americans, Brits, Dutch and a Russian.

We visited the bicycle museum, which displays bicycles used for many types of workers: chimney sweeps, barbers, priests, shoemakers and the like. It is amazing that some of these bicycles were still used in the 1960s.

Fabriano’s main piazza.

The next day we had a talk and demonstration by master paper maker Sandro Tiberi.

We each had a chance to make some paper with Sandro’s guidance.

Sandro and his wife have a studio in Fabriano and give workshops throughout the year.

Fabriano is known as a worker’s town. Instead of lordly coats of arms on the buildings, symbols of workers adorn the facades.

I visited the art museum, which contained many beautiful frescos from the middle ages. Fabriano was home to monasteries and hermits who lived in the nearby caves.

After lunch we visited the Fondazione Fedrigoni Fabriano, located in the old Miliani paper factory. At one time it employed 1,200 workers to create the paper known world-wide.

Along with its high quality paper, Fabriano became known for its filograna, the watermarks that can’t be seen on paper until it is placed in front of a light. Experts meticulous created images in wire that could then be used as a resist to trademark the paper.

Some artists have created displays to add a bit of whimsy to the storage room.

In these pieces, an artist used ex-votos, the objects used by worshipers to give thanks or ask for divine intervention, to print on Fabriano paper.

An example of a complexd filigrana.

These large rolls have been used to print money for institutions and countries around the world. The filigrana makes an imprint that gives authenticity to the bank notes.

We took a group photo in front of the once busy building.

It promises to be a wonderful tour, with a group interested in learning Italian by immersion. We only speak Italian, so I’m hoping my language skills will greatly improve.

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