La Verna in spring


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As my stay in Anghiari draws to a close, it feels as if I have been watching spring arrive in slow motion. Shutters and windows are opening, and every day the landscape changes: the greens get greener, and the light brighter; there are ever more birds and flowers and colours. And, now, leaves are appearing on trees. The forests of beech and ash around La Verna were shimmering with new leaves when we visited there yesterday.

La Verna is a Francescan sanctuary located high in the Apennines, about an hour’s drive from Anghiari. I have been there in autumn, in winter, but never before in spring. And how lovely it was. After spending some time in the sanctuary, we walked through the forests to the top of Monte Penna, the highest point between the valleys of the Arno and the Tiber. The play of light on the leaves of the beech and ash was breathtaking. There was a lightness about it all. In the air too, which became more and more enlivening as we climbed up through the forest, looking out over sheer rock faces. And, then, there were the flowers! Carpets of flowers, others growing amongst mossy rocks.

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On Wednesday I leave Anghiari for Rome, on my way home to Sydney. The rounds of ‘goodbye’ and ‘till next time’ have begun.




3 thoughts on “La Verna in spring

  1. Dear Ann, I discovered this website just as you started to write about your most recent trip to Italy. There is so much that speaks to me – of course I’m familiar with the language as a native of the Italian part of Switzerland, but there is more – like the church bells, that light you see only by being high up in the mountains and yes – the cheese. While pondering what to start writing about myself, I have been reading “The Surgeon of Crowthorne. A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Oxford English Dictionary” by Simon Winchester, indeed a fascinating tale that reignited a desire (or crazy thought) that I have had since childhood to read through the whole dictionary, both in Italian and English, in order to better understand the different shades of meaning that a word embodies. And so I am going to start with the word that you use that first rang a bell: LETIZIA – I simply love this word and with I could define what I feel when I hear it. Reading it lead me to dust off my old Italian dictionary – “a sentiment of intimate joy and spiritual serenity”… “Beatitude celeste: non fora giustizia / per ben l., e per male aver lutto (DANTE: Purg. xvi, 71-72)”. So thank you Ann for reminding me of joy – and the reason almost three years ago I named by baby girl Naomi Letizia – known as LA GIOIA.

    1. dear Prisca,
      how lovely to hear from you, and thank you so much for your comment. It gives me great pleasure to hear that my writing rings true for my Italian friends. And, as you will have gathered, I love the language – learning Italian has opened doors for me in so many ways. And I find translation endlessly interesting. I’m learning a lot about it in the process of doing interviews with people in Anghiari, and then working on the transcripts with Mirella who has a lot of experience in translation (and lives in Torino!). That is wonderful that your daughter is la gioia! very best wishes, Ann

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