Prato Fiorito. Field of flowers. So beautiful. A big round bald mountain of green grass and thousands of little flowers, set in the ragged range of the Appenines. You sit up there, after some very good heart exercise climbing a little goat track to its peak, with this wonderful uninterrupted view of the world. We see the sea and the rivers winding their way down to it, the little stacks of industry along the way, the little perky villages on the hilltops, the cities and towns, the wee islands in the distance. Hawks float up on the thermal currents and dive into the grasses, collecting tucker. Tinkling bells in the distance come closer and closer, the first horny heads appear over the horizon, goats, delightful and curious, they surround you, the air a haze of flies and stench, and the occasional ringing bell. We lay up there collecting the sun into our bodies, munching foccaccias and cakes from our local bar and drinking the mountain water. We dream up here. Our perspective on life from up here is so vast. We love our magnificent dreams – they have brought us here to Italy and they have impelled us to take momentous decisions that are scary but wonderful, the impetus of growth huge.
The weekend before last, we went up into the highest mountains on our little vespa, higher by far than Prato Fiorito. Up, up, bouncing between potholes and over rocks. The higher we went the more spectacular the vista and more awful the drops into devilish ravines. At 1800 metres, the air is cool. All about us are the fruiits of the forest, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, a feast and our hands are soon black from juices. Our goal was to walk so we climbed one of the peaks looking over the Orrido di Botri. It was breathtakingly beautiful and the scramble upwards along the spine seemed nothing compared to the shaley slide and slip down. Slowly slowly. And then the jumping ride down through the Orrido di Botri and up again into our small mountains before we arrived back at Pieve di Monti di Villa, exhausted beyond measure. It must be all that clinging and isometric exercise on the vespa. We could hardly climb the little stairs up into our bedroom, almost crawling up, murmuring a laugh of utter relief before we sank into oblivion, the soft mountain air washing over us from the open windows, not a sound to be heard.