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Coins to light paintings in Italian churches?

Coins to light paintings in Italian churches?

Oct 7th, 2009, 10:44 AM
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Coins to light paintings in Italian churches?

I've been reading that some paintings in Italian churches can only be lit up by depositing coins. Is there a standard price, like one euro, or is it whatever random coins you may have? I want to be prepared with plenty of change.
aggiegirl is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 10:47 AM
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It's generally just 1 or 2 euro. Have several available so you can feed as many as you want lit (there are often many little alcoves w/ frescoes or paitings in every church) or add more time as desired.
hazel1 is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 10:55 AM
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This reminds me SO MUCH of Venice where they are still generating revenue from their plundered treasures...frankly, 1 or 2 Euro these days isn't all that cheap given the worsening exchange rate BUT if you've spent the time and money to go THAT FAR..then why not?
Dukey is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 11:00 AM
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Thanks for the feedback. One or two euro per painting can add up quickly! Maybe a flashlight is in order
aggiegirl is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 11:08 AM
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My experience was that we really didn't need to "feed the meter" all that often, the lighting was generally adequate to see them and very often, someone else had already put a coin in. I don't think I spent more than ten euro total in all of the churches we toured in two weeks time on two separate trips. Not that bad.
hazel1 is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 12:10 PM
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To be honest, torches rarely work for the kind of paintings and mosaics you most often need a coin for. But no-one intending to look at Italian churches should leave home without a decent torch and a micro pair of binoculars (the very first lesson Mrs F learned on her History of Art degree course).

Elbowing in on other people's bought time is fine - especially to help you decide whether the church's paid-for lighting transforms a masterpiece, or merely illuminates a painting you'd just have soon not bothered with, I'd say a masterpiece is transformed by the lighting somewhere between 35% and 50% of the time.

Whatever, For those masterpieces, begrudging that €1 is insanity: if you're poor, don't waste money on mobile phones, ghastly Italian puddings or pointless American-style tipping. Downgrade your hotel, sleep in the street or even of things are really bad - skip lunch (though anyone sensible would sooner sleep in the street). But see that painting properly: why else are you putting up with Italy's myriad inconveniences?

And keep €10 in €1 coins with you at all times. You can always walk to the airport. Incidentally, last time I went church-crawling, the machines all took €0.20 and €0.10 coins. There's rarely a fixed time: it's €0.xx per minute
flanneruk is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 12:14 PM
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I love art and particularly church art, so fear not, I will feed the light meters as needed.
aggiegirl is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 02:58 PM
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Just wanted to add that it's not a matter of a donation where you can put in whatever amount you want. They require a certain coin. As mentioned, it's usually 1E, although I've also seen them .50.
SusanP is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 05:36 PM
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They don't always work either.
kybourbon is online now  
Oct 7th, 2009, 08:58 PM
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No doubt I'll find the ones that don't work!
aggiegirl is offline  
Oct 8th, 2009, 08:14 AM
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Presuming that they work (most did in my case), the lights make a big difference in getting a decent photograph, if that interests you. Some churches allow photography but not with flash, and in any case flash usually does not work as well as the lights, which can provide nice diffused light.

Here's an example where you can see the famous Bellini altarpiece in San Zaccaria after I fed the meter.

Also, a hearty second to carrying small binoculars. Even if you are only 20 feet from a painting it is surprisngly breathtaking to look at fine details in the binos. And they are required to get a decent look at more distant works.
Nelson is online now  
Oct 8th, 2009, 08:33 AM
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Nelson, so that pic is without a flash? Great pic!
aggiegirl is offline  
Oct 8th, 2009, 09:02 AM
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Just back from Rome and most light boxes took .50 or 1€ coins as Susan says. Not sure which churches you plan on visiting but if you go to S. Maria Maggiore be sure to visit the small chapel of Saint Zeno inside the nearby Santa Prassede. The mosaics are stunning (when lit).


To help with your budget, here's my favourite place in Rome to get pizza bianca sandwiches. For 3.5€ you get a large filled sandwich w/3 ingredients. Try one w/ arucola, mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes.

mvor is offline  
Oct 8th, 2009, 10:33 AM
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aggiegirl, Yes that is without a flash. The shutter speed was too slow to handhold, 1/4 or 1/2 second, so I had the camera braced braced against something, probably a 15th century sculpture... Just kidding, just kidding, it was a modern wooden bench.

But you can see the nice light they cast.
Nelson is online now  
Oct 8th, 2009, 05:56 PM
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Peter_S_Aus is online now  
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