Came across this lovely tree when I was walking from the house in Fossa along the road to the village cemetery. It stands looking to the Aterno Valley and the Apennines in Abruzzo with Gran Sasso in the distance.
* Interestingly, the oldest (scientifically dated) tree in Europe is in southern Italy. A craggy pine (Pinus heldreichii) that is 1230 years old and called, Italus (and is still growing).
This hillside speckled with wildflowers could perhaps be out of Little House on the Prairie but is in Abruzzo (where, incidentally, many spaghetti westerns were filmed in the 1960s and 70s).
Took this photograph near the farmhouse where I stayed after the 2009 earthquake (as my family’s village of Fossa was evacuated). This was just outside the village of Sant’ Eusanio Forconese, population around 400, with the hilltop castle (pictured) of the same name.
At the time, I was too overwhelmed by the earthquake to take it in much but later found out this castle was built in the 12th century with walls around a metre thick, up to seven metres high and also a moat, enabling it to retain its defenses for nearly 600 years.
Such a quiet, tucked away spot, easy to rush past, yet as always, the landscape in Abruzzo’s Aterno Valley never ceases to amaze me in its history, varying beauty and terrain.