06 March 2007

Ringin' in your ears

Ascoli Piceno is a town of many towers, claiming to have close to one hundred in various configurations, some of which are bell towers attached to churches. These bell towers are put to good use here in Italy where if you listen closely you can hear bells tolling each hour and each quarter section of the hour, one tone to mark the hours and another the quarter hour. If you are out walking in town or have your window open you can not miss the sound of these bells.

I enjoy the sound of the bells, they are always on time. This is a sound I was not familiar with when I was growing up, there were no church bells in our neighborhood in American suburbia. The church I attended in my youth had bell ‘sounds’ but this was a recording, which just isn’t the same. We can hear bells from the Duomo San Emidio at Piazza Aringo and Chiesa San Francesco at Piazza del Popolo.

The bells not only toll the hour but summon the faithful to services on Sunday mornings. We have also heard them clanging away at other non-descript times and our land-lady informed us these may be signaling weddings or other special festivities. It is interesting to me to watch the bells ring as they swing out beyond the tower walls, looking like they will come loose and go flying out into the nearby piazza.

Ding-dong, ding-dong.

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