Thursday, December 9, 2010


When it's Wordless Wednesday, I have to hold back a flood of words.

When it's Photoless Friday, dozens of photos tippy tap on my heart.

When I'm away from the computer, or (supposed to be) doing other things, loads of things to share with you and to ask you press, press, press.

Here's one of them.

What's this?...More......

Scattered around town are these marks on the stones delimiting the sidewalks.

Sometimes they are just upright marks, like Roman numerals.

Sometimes these upright marks have a strike through them, as if someone were double-checking a list. These strikes sometimes end up looking like "X's."

Sometimes there's an "O," which could be a letter, or a number. The first examples I noticed, in fact, looked like a series of "O's" and "X's," which can be used to signify "Hugs" and "Kisses" at the ends of letters, but then the more Roman numeral looking examples starting cropping up, too, followed by this example in which the diagonals were carved even before the uprights.

Though it's possible that these stones are not in the places in which they were when the marks were made, it's very unlikely.

The marks don't seem to be related to anything that can be seen in the vicinity.

Though, by now, I consider myself a "local," I have no idea what these are, and even those, who are longer term locals, whom I have asked, don't know. In truth, they'd never even noticed them, before.

The difficulty of sculpting these marks, as crudely cut as they are, would rule out extemporaneous marks, for whatever reason.

If you start looking for them, they're all over town.

What are they?

I snapped this photo for you on the 7th of August 2010 at about 4:30 P.M.

P.S., the pock marks on the sidewalk are the result of something, even ladies' high heeled shoe heels, being set on the tar during summers so scorching that the surface softens disconcertingly.


Jeanine in Canada said...

Star, I was told by some public works men in Siena that the marks are a method of cataloguing the stones, so that when they have to lift them off to do work underneath like excavating, plumbing, etc. they can always put them back where they were.
It sounded reasonable to me!

Star said...

Sounds reasonable to me, too, and it's the first of any kind of explanation. The flanking stones are usually not marked, though, so complex re-arrangements of multiple removed stones wouldn't be the case. Reminds me to mention that the streets sometimes are quite delightfully connect-the-dot-ish because, when the "san pietrini" little stones are taken out for road work, then put back at random, the street and parking lines end up scattered all over.
Thanks, Jeanine!

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