a chapter from the Rome adventure
Antonio took us to Teremo. His son lives there with his mother.
We said we'd take our car and follow him there. We had been near
there, but to have a guide when we got here was a pleasure. It
took a half day to get there. All new territory for us to
explore, the other side of Italy near the Adriatic Sea.
We had lunch, met his x-wife and his sixteen year old son, a well
mannered boy. Later Antonio showed us the town and a church built
in the tenth century, it seemed left in original state as it was
constructed centuries ago. So many old churches we had
seen in Rome, yet this one, left in its original state, is most
impressive, large, dark and somber. Antonio took us in his car
to a mountain village he knew as a child. It was small, broken
and early abandoned. An old broken stone home was one he grew up
in. Such a long way from Rome. Everyone we met that weekend were
Italian, yet so different, more hospitable, calmer than the city
people of Rome.
We spent the night in Teremo, and the the next day M and I
were ready to start back to Rome. Antonio pointed the quickest
way. There is a large highway leading up the Grand Sasso highway
and through the mountain. We passed through many long tunnels.
We'd heard about Grand Sasso for years. It means grand stone. I
always thought it just another mountain, but seemed the largest
mountain we had ever driven over and through. It is the largest
mountain south of the alps, Gran Sasso is the tallest peak in
Italy. The largest of the many tunnels on the road is 6.2 miles
long. Whata strange feeling to drive that road. We thought about
being deep in the center of a mountain as we drove the tunnels.
After several hours we were in Amatrice, the town destroyed last week by earthquake. That night we were there we spent the night in town at the Hotel Rome, had a wonderful dinner of pasta Amatriciana. The following day we walked around, saw the town and then returned to Rome.
We have this table that Franco built for us shortly after we moved here. I told him what I needed: a roughed-up pine table. He made it in the classic, primitive Italian style. I had it built to last, it’s the style he does all the time. When he asked for dimension, I had him make it quite long. It came out too long to carry up the stairway, we tried. Instead we tied a rope around it and pulled it up from the street to our window.
It looked great but took up too much room in our small apartment, so last year I got tired of spinning it around, trying to make it fit, and took my saw and cut it almost a yard shorter. It's still roughly five and a half feet long. I could measure it and tell you exactly how long and wide it is in centimeters, I don't have a centimeter tape.
For us, the shorter table fits better in our room. I keep twisting and turning the furniture around to make our space as usable as possible. We learned from living on a boat for ten years; if you arrange stuff well, it'll finally fit. Or, you don’t have to throw stuff away, you can get a bigger place to live in.
I've been editing my Rome book for two years...it's getting close.