There is an particular couple in my building who have been very friendly to me. Both speak fluent German–the wife is a translator and the husband is a professor of German literature–but neither speaks a lot of English. So this is one situation in which I get a lot of Italian practice! We’ve had coffee and dinner together, taken walks, and recently we’ve started a language exchange.* They’ve even been to one of Sarie’s concerts. Given that my neighborhood is a bit reserved, I appreciate all the efforts they’ve made to be hospitable, especially towards someone who can’t always come up with the right words in Italian.
Twice now they’ve taken me on a walk in the park above the tiny town of Cavoretto, on the Collina (hill) just across the Po. Though it’s not a mountain like one of the Alps, it’s high enough to have a good view of the Alps. My Benvenuto! photo at the top of the page was taken from the Collina.
So far as I can tell, Cavoretto consists of a couple of small piazzas, a few streets with a school and a couple of churches, and the park, which is almost as big as the town. Its streets are so narrow and steep that it’s hard to get a good idea of the layout of the whole town, but that’s part of its charm. There are unusual details at every angle.
Since I was with my friends, I didn’t stop to take that many photos, nor do the ones I took quite capture the serendipitous quality of an Italian hill town in all three dimensions, but hopefully these photos at least get something of the idea across. I always think these towns would be a great place to play hide-and-seek, and in fact Sarie has done just that, in Barga, with some friends!
And lastly, please pardon my recent obsession with the Instagram bokeh button. I’m sure I’ll get over it eventually.
Below: 1) The town parish church, which sits with its adjacent buildings in its own piazza 2) One of many household gates along the city streets 3) Capers. Yes, capers come from a tiny bush that grows wild on city walls–who knew? 4) Street approaching the parish church in 1. above. 5) Another tiny church, dedicated to S. Rocco. 5) An old wall which has had a modern gate added to it–tastefully, I might add.
*Note to my family, who may be confused: This is the second family with whom I’ve been doing language exchange. The other one lives across the alleyway and we got to know one another because their enthusiastic 11-year-old daughter kept waving to us from the kitchen window.