Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Into the Mountains

Here are some pictures from Sunday's excursion in the mountains. It was not much of a mountain trip at all--just a morning of hiking near the town of Amandola with Antonello's cousin Daniele, his girlfriend Virginia, and a friend of theirs. Driving up the mountain in another day of beautiful weather, we got to a certain point where, underneath the car, the crunch of fallen snow, and the slippery-slidy feeling took over, and the further we went up, the more snow there was. Even if I have been loving these sunfilled, warm, early-spring-like days, it's still winter: and snow still makes me a bit giddy.

It was a good hike, and these shots show some of the views of the region. When we reached a certain point, we could look out and see Le Marche spread before us, and Daniele said that on very clear days, you could see across the Adriatic to Croatia. We stood there, surveying the land, and Daniele said how he thought it must've been amazing, those first people to find this land, when they looked out from the mountains and saw nothing but forest. It was so long ago really, it's not even something you can imagine anymore, what the landscape looked like, how the towns were missing, and how those early people were like pioneers, taking it all in, wondering what would become of the sight before them. Just another difference between our land in America and the land here in Italy: all of those years of occupation, that no one could ever really feel alone, that shiver of excitement, of starting in a new place, in a new time. Are there anymore real pioneers? And so Daniele and Antonello stood there, two people brought up and belonging to this land: counting the towns and naming them, as if the land belonged to them as well.

Walking up the mountain in the snow was fun, and it amazed me that, after just being on dry ground, here we were in the middle of a snowy field with ice crunching beneath our boots. I tried to make a snow-angel, but the snow was too slippery and hard, and instead I risked sliding down the mountain (don't worry, it was pretty unlikely that I would actually slide down the whole thing). After lunch together at the restaurant where Antonello and I had our wedding dinner a couple of years back, we decided to stop at a castle that we had spotted on the drive up, something that Daniele said he had never seen before, in all of his years exploring these mountains. All that was left of the castle were ruins, but we decided to take a look anyway, to see what was left. These are some of the things I like best about Italy still--finding pieces of history in the middle of the mountains, where it's hard to imagine people lived, much less built castles. Italian territory is so condensed, so tightly packed, that people built fortresses and towns in the most unlikely places to protect the little patches of land that were theirs.

Even though there was a gate around the castle, Antonello, Daniele and I jumped the fence and explored around inside (which was outside too--there was no more roof). It was hard to picture what the place must've looked like, but you could make out traces of architectural forms--the columns on the outside walls, the remains of a well, the door down to a cistern. Who knew the history, but isn't it beautiful living in a country like this, where the ruins of castles and medieval towns are your neighbors, and you can explore them in any way you want?

So it was a good Sunday. I'd like more Sundays like that, please.

Thank you.

- Jackie


At 9:38 AM, Blogger rowena said...

Awww Jackie, this is fabulous! I can absolutely relate to your experience of being bound by the present, but still surrounded by bits and pieces of the past!

With that angle of the last shot, I would've liked to slide down that mountain on one of those little "butt sleds" that look more like an oversized sand shovel with a short handle. One for me and one for the Maddie! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

At 6:50 PM, Blogger Texas Espresso said...

yea - that is something I look forward to living in Italy. I hope I always get that amazed feeling when looking at buildings/ruins that have been there for ages. sigh

nice day!


Post a Comment

<< Home