Artena is an ancient medieval village, characteristic of the Rome countryside. It stands on a hill and from the peak it slopes overhanging, recalling the features of the famous Neapolitan nativity scenes. An authentic Italian wonder to be discovered.
Artena is a bit like that … she looks at you from above with a certain feeling that sometimes arouses fear. Especially in the sunsets of the sunniest days, the bristled spur on which the town is steeped witnesses its grandeur enveloping you in its shadow.
Looking at Artena from below, you feel small and do not explain how houses could have been built on the slopes of a mountain so steep and rocky. Do not even explain how the inhabitants can live there, being obliged in the daily journeys to travel (exclusively on foot) of the streets so steep.
Yet it is so … the center of Artena teems with life, populated by friendly and welcoming people, proud to be residents of a unique country.
I decide to shake myself out of admiration and start climbing up into town. The climb is steep, it takes good legs, but then the effort is forgotten in front of the spectacular maze of alleys and steps that wind throughout the country.
There are people … children, young people, old people. People who walk sent thanks to the habit that these streets have to do every day. Others who play cards outside a small bar that still carries the old sign of a famous brand of drinks (It seems to go back in time).
A small group of seniors is sitting on the stairs of the entrance to a house and discusses in the local dialect of I do not know what issue. I stop for a moment … I want to feel enveloped by this atmosphere of other times. Sniff the smells of the alleys … smells of humidity, but also of good food. I recognize the dish … it’s roast chicken with potatoes. I can not go wrong, I’m crazy about roast chicken.
I continue my walk with my little digital nikon that I always carry with me. Each alley surprises me in its simplicity, but above all because we see that they are alleys torn from man to rock.
The streets are all like this, until you get to a point where cars can not be put on. Exchanging a chat with a gentleman who was pouring oil in a kind of cellar, I ask him how old people do their shopping and take it home. He answers me (as if it were the most natural thing in the world) that there is a mule that does this ….. loads downstream and transports upstream, serving the older inhabitants.
How I would like to see that little animal now. Only the Roman countryside could reserve me this surprise! My Nikon quivers!!! I would like to photograph it. I’m happy to look for a picture on the internet when I come back home …
Going up, going up, I reach the top, where a beautiful cathedral awaits me. I can not tell the style … I’m not got on this. But his sight causes me to say: “It was worth it”.
Once home I look for some news about Artena on internet, with the promise to come back more calmly. I discover that it houses an archaeological museum inside “Palazzo Borghese” full of pre-Roman finds found in this village in the locality “Piana della Civita”. I discover that it has beautiful polygonal walls of the same period and that in August the “Artenesi” give life to the “Palio delle Contrade”, an event in medieval costume where the 10 districts of the country compete in competitions of skill.
I plan to return at that time … See you soon Artena !!!