June 15, 2020

Spring is almost over in Giove and everyone is catching up.

Everywhere the comune is cleaning the grass skirting the edge of the road with a weed-whacker. Something startles the orange clad and masked workman. Looking non-plussed he has killed a snake. He stares at me shame-facedly, as if to say I didn’t mean to; that is, I don’t want any more bad luck this year.

Winter work in June

Old men...

May 11, 2020

Darkness had descended on another glorious spring evening. Then a disturbing surprise. A vehicle was slowly grinding its way down the back lane with a loudspeaker, repeating information that at first was incomprehensible. Garbled, fast instructions, momentarily intimidating. Had we been invaded? Then I grasped the tenor if not the detail of what was intended. Every villager was being summ...

February 18, 2019

Salvo belongs to a world that is fast disappearing. Born to country folk, his life has almost entirely revolved around managing olive groves, vineyards, and a menagerie of animals. Cities belong to others. His twenty-five year old panda and his 1990s cellphone are reluctant concessions to modernity. For years he has added my garden to his portfolio of jobs, his pace slowing as he heads in...

November 12, 2018

Day breaks with a thick mist and the raucous yelling of hunters. The veil of mist lifts to reveal a cloudless sky and the hunters fire episodically and then go quiet. It’s a perfect afternoon for hunting archaeological sites.

Sergio has invited me to visit the archaeological sites he has been recording in our liminal comune of Giove, western Umbria. The first is beside a bend in the Tiber....

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