Sunday, 16 December 2012

An eyeful of Azzinano



Not on your typical Italian itinerary, the town of Azzinano offers a unique insight into countryside culture through murals painted on home facades in an annual festival.

Every year, around mid-August, the mountain town of Azzinano in Italy gets a makeover. Artists from all over the country descend into this tiny village, home to some 164 inhabitants, in the foothills of Gran Sasso, the highest mountain of the Apennine range in the Teramo province. In true Italian tradition, they take to their paints and brushes and draw murals like past Italian maestros did on church ceilings and palace walls. Only this time, their canvasses are the modest, but quaint, village houses lining cobbled streets.

Not on your typical Italian itinerary, the town of Azzinano offers a unique insight into countryside culture through murals painted on home facades in an annual festival.
Every year, around mid-August, the mountain town of Azzinano in Italy gets a makeover. Artists from all over the country descend into this tiny village, home to some 164 inhabitants, in the foothills of Gran Sasso, the highest mountain of the Apennine range in the Teramo province. In true Italian tradition, they take to their paints and brushes and draw murals like past Italian maestros did on church ceilings and palace walls. Only this time, their canvasses are the modest, but quaint, village houses lining cobbled streets.

The ten-day event called “Walls Tell” has been held two years in a row since 2011 to commemorate the memory of Annuziata Scipio, a renowned painter hailing from Azzinano. Originally the brainchild of Luciano Marinelli, who painted murals in honour of Scipio, the event has become a celebration of the region’s life and culture where painters now paint murals on specific topics on the front walls of houses.

Of course, the sight is refreshing for the locals, who see their houses bathed in new colours every year. And it “spreads peace, joy and happiness among all villagers,” as Antonello Pescosolido, a local tourist guide says. But the locals specifically pride themselves on this tradition for it serves to preserve and showcase the region’s cultural heritage that the new generation is losing touch with.

“It is important to revive the old culture of the land, even if it means through paintings,” says Silivia Bucci, a local. “When youngsters come to this village and see the [depictions of] indigenous games played in the countryside that are now extinct, they learn about their history, which they should not have forgotten [in the first place]. The murals offer stories from the past, knowledge of tradition and a message on local culture and philosophy. They also depict the colours of life in Azzinano and the surrounding towns.”

For tourists who visit Azzinano at this time of the year, it’s probably a detour from the conventional, and massively popular, tourist trail in Italy. The village and its attractions boast of no grandiosity like the Colosseum in Rome does, nor does it offer the romance that gondola rides over Venetian canals do. Still tourists find the sights of colourful paintings against the green and tidy backdrop of lush mountains and quaint cityscape very unique. After all, like Bucci says, “It is like a gallery of large paintings under the sky roof, an outdoor museum which can be visited free of charge anytime of the year.”

Healthy living: Detox bath recipe

Now that winter is here, a long hot bath sounds particularly tempting. And if these hot baths are converted into therapeutic treatments for detoxification, it’s a double treat for your body. 

The science behind a Detox Bath is fairly simple. Sweating is the most common and effective way to dextoxify a human body efficiently. Skin pores of a human body react to differences in the temperatures of the surroundings. So when you soak your body in hot water, the pores on your skin open up and all the toxins from your body drain out. The process begins when the bath medium is hot, peaks after the body is immersed for 20 minutes and ends as the temperature falls below the effective degree.
Here is the recipe for a detox bath that works wonders in making you stress-free, helping you to sleep better and give you a refreshing start for the next day.
Detox bath recipe
Ingredients:
• Sea salt 1/3 cup
• Epsom salt 1/3 cup
• Baking soda 1/3 cup
• Apple cider vinegar 1 cup
• Ground ginger 2 1/2 tbsp
Procedure:
• Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
• Prepare a hot water bath, setting the temperature according to your preference. Add the dry ingredients and vinegar while the water fills up the tub, so that these mix in well. Don’t be alarmed if the water turns orange or yellow, as it is due to the ginger and vinegar.
• Soak yourself in the bath for about 40 minutes and enjoy the ‘me time’. You can also rub your skin to activate the lymphatic system that helps you clear out harmful toxins from your body.
• You can make the dry mix and store it in a bottle for future use. All you will need when you want to have a detox bath is one cup of dry mix and one cup of vinegar. It also makes for a great gift!
Health benefits:
1. Sea salt: It helps to sooth open sores or blemishes.
2. Epsom salts: It helps to relieve muscle aches, makes you sweat more and reduces inflammation.
3. Baking soda: It is alkaline in nature and helps to balance off a highly acidic system. As a result, it softens the skin and eliminates chlorine present in the water.
4. Apple cider vinegar: It softens your skin and helps restores the acid-alkaline balance of your body. It is also good for acne treatment.
5. Ginger: It opens up pores and makes you sweat more. Ginger also helps in increasing blood circulation.
Important considerations before the bath:
• This bath can dehydrate you. So it is important to take plenty of water before, during and after taking this bath.
• You can feel a little light-headed after taking this bath, so don’t stand up so quickly.
• The preparation and duration of the bath could make you tired, so it’s better to take this bath right before bedtime.
• Do not take hot or salt baths if you are hypertensive, pregnant, diabetic, or if you have a history of heart disease. If you are unsure, ask your doctor first.
• If you come down with flu-like symptoms after a detox bath, then know it’s fairly common. Your body is flushing out toxins, and you have to make sure you are well hydrated at all times.
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