On Being a Paparazza

I write this today from a bar called Caffé Gnocchetto in Narni. I'm meeting Fred in a half hour. There’s a wedding going on right down the street, but I’m not shooting it. I find them stressful to shoot because I feel intrusive. Okay, the wedding’s out because this place is filling up with dressed-up people AND several guys in costumes with a snare drum. Sting is on the radio. Oh, wow, Fred just texted to say the bride is arriving just now in a dune buggy. SHIT of all the weddings for me to NOT SHOOT.

Fast forward, we had our spritz after Fred finished sketching and ended up not missing a THING except the arrival of the guests. BOTH weddings got out (the best part), one after another and we got to see it all. And I shot my ass off. Intrusive freak that I am! One guest even stepped on my foot—that's how in the mix I get!  She was all apologetic but I told her it was only my shoe, really.

But I'll start with our first stop, a town called Terni. More like a city. I roamed a lot, Fred roamed and sketched. I worked from a caffé, after which we moved on to Narni, one of our favorite towns.

I might do a series on ashtrays like this. So common to see outside of bars or caffés. Fred thought a nice idea for a series would be church confessionals all around Umbria and Tuscany where we take day trips. I'm not feeling it though. I'm more about the ashtrays.

This was my Terni office.

This is a bridge in Narni, or the remains of one. Huge chunks of it are deeply embedded into the earth. Tons of artists have painted these ruins. Fred thought he would, too, but as is often the case, the overgrowth of bushes and trees surrounding it gave him no opportunity for a vantage point. Lots of traipsing around in the brush to no avail.

Now for the two weddings. After our spritz...

...we saw the crowd begin to form almost a processional down the street from us, following a band of trumpeters and drummers and men and boys with huge flags. Turns out we were about to witness an Italian tradition called Flag Tossing.


The men and boys are called sbandieratori. They throw the flags in the air, catch them, much like batons, and flip them around, over and under their legs, etc. It was most fun to see the boys do it.

She is the mother of the boy in the photo below. We later saw him at another wedding in street clothes.

Love her! My own Isabella Rossellini!

Love this guy. I also saw him later at the next wedding!

I think the first bride arrived in this car, and left in the Ferrari below.

And this dune buggy was the next bride's vehicle of choice to her wedding which we came upon just after the other ended, a block away—another block another church.


Some townsfolk who were not among the invited.

The young sbandieratoro let his buddy carry his drum.

Could not get enough of these two!

Nice tie :)

One of the groomsmen.

This boy's getting fresh!

These guys are waiting for the bride and groom to come out so they can pop these huge "crackers" and shower them with tissue hearts.  There are two on the other side, too.

These old friends were so happy to run into each other—and on his daughter's wedding day to boot!

Our neighbor back home in Viterbo!