In Montagna

Summer has finally arrived and Italians begin to plan their customary vacanze estive, the traditional exodus from the cities to the beaches or the montagne. Getting away from it all and seeking refuge in the quiet and pleasant weather of the highlands is an easy opportunity throughout most of Italy. Not only does the country boast infinite beaches and wonderful seas all around it, it is also traversed by the Appennini, with the Alps defining its northern borders.

Most people can reach their mountainous destinations within a 3 to 4-hour drive from their cities, finding places of incredible beauty and solitude. Civita di Bagnoregio (fig. 1) is a tiny, ancient village, now one of many Italian ghost towns, sitting on top of a mountain and surrounded by a deep valley traversed by several creeks. Old shacks often built with local rocks and stones (fig. 2) are common as one wanders around the many hidden trails filled with the vivid colors of summer (fig. 3). Rustic osterie can be found (fig. 4), mostly serving barbecued sausages and other local meats when open for business.

The Tuscan countryside is particularly attractive (fig. 5) as well as the Umbrian region (fig. 6), often displaying infinite greenery and very colorful open fields (fig. 7). The Terminillo (fig. 8) was still snow-capped late this spring, this being a favorite destination for many Roman skiers.

The Abruzzo region (fig. 9) is quite mountainous as well and, sadly, the site of many recent, very damaging earthquakes. Small, ancient villages are often seen on the horizon (fig. 10) where life moves at a much different pace, but with so much happiness and so many little pleasures difficult to find in the città.

The countryside is dotted with small farmhouses (fig. 11) where sheep (fig. 12) and other animals are usually raised. The local architecture is interesting as well, since most of these very ancient villages, built centuries ago, would have typically utilized materials obtained from the surrounding mountains (fig. 13) creating spectacular views worth admiring, once you finally got there. Buon viaggio!