But Is There Something to See There?

There’s a question that I’m sometimes asked by people who are vacationing here in the Italian countryside that (I must admit) makes me cringe, and the question usually follows a request for recommendations on which hill towns to visit.

The question (that makes me cringe) is, “But is there something to see there?”

For those of us who adore the history, culture, traditions and endless beauty of rural Italy, the question is also perplexing. We can’t quite understand why visitors often hunt for things to do and look for entertainment in medieval villages. Oftentimes, in fact, doing nothing at all suits us just fine. It’s the very act of doing nothing (aka – being present) as we stroll through a quiet, ancient village that fills us with joy.

We admire ancient stonework and think about the muratore (stone mason) who tapped and chiseled and built a wall that still stands all these centuries later …

We sit in ancient piazze and watch the world go by …

We wait for the bells in bell towers to ring …

We photograph windows …

We photograph doors …

We imagine what is must have been like to live in a medieval castle …

And we gaze at breath-taking panoramas from ancient town walls …

“Is there something to see there?” We would say, “Yes, there’s plenty … if you’re willing to notice.”

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Photos take in Parrano, Umbria.

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Pamela Haack is the founder of Off the Beaten Strada where she creates and organizes personalized experiences and specialty retreats in central Italy, for travelers who wish to be immersed in the history, culture and traditions of the region.

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9 Comments

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  1. withitalianlove 11/02/2012 — 7:34 am

    I have to agree. The best part about being somewhere, is exactly that. Being there. (Also, I think I have maybe 10 pictures of different doors on my camera, they are so enchanting!)

  2. what a beautiful photographs you have taken! It looks like a fairytale place: these old buildings have so much character!

  3. I want to know what wonders are hidden behind that blue door!

  4. Loved your invitation to be present, Pamela. I discovered you through my friend Paula Scardamalia’s newsletter. You have a lovely blog. I SO enjoyed the pictures which gave me an opportunity to experience, “What if…” and I’m looking forward to preparing some of the recipes. I think the one with sweet onions is first!

  5. Greetings from PostaHouse, Posta, Lazio (720m)
    Found this through Adela Rubio (FB)

    http://www.johnmboverton.com

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