Il Viano ~ Romancing Italy
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Sep 12, 2006

Il Viano

Entry for September 12, 2006 Il Viano magnify

The day has been somewhat washed out by the rain. I had left the upper windows and didn’t want to ruin their furniture so I’m glad I didn’t make it to the Cinque Terre today. As it turned out, there was hardly any rain – yet. I keep hoping for torrential rainfall while I’m holed up here where it’s warm and wonderful with a great view of the valley. On my way back, I was lucky to witness an A M A Z I N G lightning display. There must have been about 20 bolts at the same time across the panorama. Beautiful!

Rain is in the forecast for the next couple of days, according to the ladies at the corner. They were wonderfully friendly – I wish I spoke better Italian because it would have been nice to just hole up with them and chat. But it was nice enough to have that small conversation.

One thing I need to get used to – and that is that it is an oddity for a single female to travel alone. I think places like Italy and Spain are getting more open and used to it, but the places I go – to the smaller villages, it is still a bit unusual. However, I did run into a similar soul as I was coming back into the walled village:

My footsteps resounded on the stone floor, announcing my arrival before the ladies, who were seated comfortably in their porch, actually saw me. I could hear their voices, when suddenly there is a hurried whisper (they don’t know yet that I don’t understand a single word of Italian, even shouted from the mountain top) and as I round the corner, I see a little head straining over the balcony, trying unashamedly to stare at the newcomer. I love it – they are curious about the single woman staying at the English rental at the end of the street. It’s my moment of notoriety…..something I find I enjoy and dislike at the same time.

A few days later, that same woman, seated on her balcony as I passed by, greeted me and we exchanged “hellos”. We established that she could say anything she wanted to her friends as I walked by and I wouldn’t be the wiser. But in our short exchange, when she asked if I was alone, she commented that it was a good thing. I didn’t expect it from an Italian woman her age. There must be a multitude of women who have grown up with dreams and desires that far outstretch their cultures and they remain caged – only living with what they’ve been handed, rather than spreading their wings to get at what they would truly love.

A little about the village….It is one of many medieval villages in this area. Lunigiana has the largest concentration of castles, about a 1000+ and it’s not a large county. There is no castle here, but the characteristic tower is still apparent. It has been turned into a buffet area when they have events in the plaza. So, the plaza is now a dance floor, with planks of wood held together with aged and rusted screws along the periphery pretending to be seating. The tower now houses the buffet table and refreshment stand. There’s more little lanes branching out to different parts of the village but as they are so narrow, I don’t want to go nosing around where I ought not be.

This house has been wonderful in the sense that the view is incredible and it’s peaceful beyond measure. However, I have not been alone here. And what would I expect from a building that is this ancient? One of the largest spiders that I’ve ever seen appeared in my bathtub one morning. It got washed down the drain. Later that day, I again noticed it back up, with a broken leg, in the tub. Normally, I don’t kill creatures of any kind and I’d find a way to help them escape, but this bugger was fatter than I’d like and there was NO WAY my hand was going anywhere near it, nor did I want to think of it wandering back in to kiss it’s thank you’s on my poor body. It had to die….and down the drain it went again….and then I did some more laundry…..and had a bath.

As if large arachnids are not enough, I had a bat fly in the bedroom window one night. I was up reading and in flew a large black creature, down the stairs into the darkness and back up into the room a couple of times before finding the way back out the window. That was startling, but not frightening, even if I had been thinking of Transylvania earlier in the day.

What did get my complete attention, was the small creature making a mad blurry dash from the curtain to under the bed. It did not have a spider’s gait, it seemed almost translucent, but I can’t be sure and it scurried fast. Everything that touched the floor came up on the bed. My feet no longer went close to the bed – actually, I acquired the habit of jumping on it from a short distance away….and then taking my shoes off.

Shoes were kept on the heater and tapped in the morning….geez, it’s just like camping!

I’m getting used to the church bells. About three different churches ring their bells in the area, seconds off of each other. They ring on the half hour….what I haven’t figured out is why at odd times, they ring profusely, not chiming. Anyone know? Several mornings, I hear hounds baying in the morning. At first I associated the hounds with the “shots” I heard at night. Odd time to be hunting (another reason Transylvania had come to mind – why else hunt at night? Except this is Italy) I still don’t know what the sounds are but they consistently go off every night so it can’t be a mad hunter.

Well, this is long enough. I can see though, why people who have grown up with this all their lives would choose an ultra modern apartment to live in. Clean, straight lines.

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