Box No. 5: The Mirabilia Box
Number 5 is a box full of medieval topics, where the traditions of an era that shaped the land become accessories and everyday objects created with the same methods and in the same areas where they were manufactured at the time, with the result of taking us back in a wonderfully authentic way: Mirabilia, wonderful things, extraordinary indeed.
When we talk about the Middle Ages, we think of castles and knights, cathedrals and witchcraft, somber and gloomy places. Novels and writings about the period, be they courtly or Gothic, still revolve around incredible stories with fantastical figures and men driven by divine forces moving through dark meanderings and intertwining interests. Literature that enthralls and inspires stories, movies, and TV series without losing charm and audience.
I set aside witches and fantastic characters to look for objects that could represent the traditions passed down on this wonderful land. There is no place in this Box for "Middle Ages" or "dark ages," there is, if anything, an awareness of a flow of people's lives that prefers slow times. Also because the seemingly distant history mirrors our present day.
I named this box Mirabilia because this Latin term was used in the 12th century to denote a specific literary genre. The Mirabilia were the equivalent of modern travel guides, serving pilgrims on their way to Rome to guide them along the way. The first Mirabilia booklets were born in the 12th century, were handwritten, and would remain so for several centuries.
The printing of these sought-after booklets began in the 15th century, and they remain among the oldest movable type books printed by German printers in Rome. They retained the original name despite progressive modernizations. Of course, there were plenty of translations into the national languages of European travelers who would journey to Rome.
Although they were guides for pilgrims, they also pointed to pagan works, which were equally beautiful and interesting; indeed, these parts attracted much attention.
Mirabilia was the natural title for a box that will guide you to discover the Marche.
And so, here is the subject of the fifth surprise box revealed, and here is the territory to which it is dedicated.
In the next Newsletter, I will tell you about the Marche and the sites of Mirabilia!