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