Posts Tagged ‘Italian villa’

A walk to a church then up a mountain

March 27, 2012
nearby church from Hotel Alla Corte - Bassano del Grappa

nearby church from Hotel Alla Corte - Bassano del Grappa

It was the morning after the party the night before.

We got in at 3-30am in the early hours of the morning from Paulo Coelho’s St Joseph’s Day party. I awoke not long after 6am.

I somehow dragged myself down to breakfast. I felt dreadful, my head would not stop throbbing. I felt sick.

My friend Russian friend Dasha was down to breakfast, but no sign of my Japanese friends. Dasha asked when did I get in? She got in at 3am.

As there was no sign of my Japanese friends, I took myself for a walk to Villa Bianchi (arch A Palladio), a 16th century Italian villa.

On getting back, Dasha and family were preparing to leave. We had a chat, and said our farewells.

I found Ken and Yumi finishing breakfast. No sign yet of Mio.

We had a chat with a film maker, Yumi made her an origami figure of a crane. Ken and I went down the road in search of a bank. No, they could not change Yen, suggested we try banks in Bassano del Grappa.

On our return we found Mio had emerged. As Ken and Yumi did not wish to go out for at least an hour and as it was too nice a day to waste, I suggested to Mio we went off for a walk to the nearby church that we could see on a hillside. The church we could see from our hotel.

As we set off, I suggested we could maybe then go for a walk along the river, but realistically we did not have the time and I was not sure how long it would take. I had walked along the river on my first day, and that had been a three hour walk.

We find our way to the church. We walked all round, tried every door, but sadly all were locked. We were unable to gain access to the church.

Outside the church a wooden cross with a hen atop. Not something I had ever seen before. The church also had painted on its wall a sun, a pre-Christian symbol.

Let’s carry on up, I suggested, see how far we can get.

Mio agreed, and after a short rest, off we trekked.

It was a wonderful walk. Sunny, very hot. very peaceful and quiet. The only sound was the birds singing and rustling in the leaves as lizards scrambled away on hearing our approach. Occasionally we caught sight of the lizards as they scurried away.

We were greeted by dogs protecting their property. Whether friendly or not we did not get to find out as luckily we were always separated by a wall or a fence. We greeted them and carried on upwards.

As we climbed, a panoramic view unfolded below. Views of the mountains, views of the flat plain that extended all the way to Venice. Far below we could see in the near distance the Italian villa opposite our hotel.

To the side of us lovely grass slopes, wooded banks.

In the woods we found a lovely blue flower. I knew what it was but could not recall its name. It also grows in the woodland area of my garden and I found it in flower a few days later on my return.

We found four, maybe five, species of butterfly flitting around. Mostly small, including a white one with orange tips to its wings. I caught a glimpse, but that is all it was, of a much larger butterfly, maybe twice the size.

The road turned into a stony track and eventually petered out, the way forward blocked by a gate.

It was time to turn around and set off back down as Yumi and Ken would be waiting for us.

On our way down, it struck me how like an Alpine church was our little church. I do not even know its name.

We found Yumi and Ken waiting for us. We set off for Bassano del Grappa, along a little road, past the 16th Century Italian villa and then to walk along the river.

As we passed the villa, a man we had spoken to a previous day, stopped and chatted to us. He told us that the villa had an associated winery. That in the vineyards they grew three varieties of grapes, Merlot, Pinot and a third variety we had not heard of. He said the wine was exported all over the world. He said we coud go take a look but did not know if anyone was there.

We retraced our steps and looked in what I thought of as the farmyard. We found packed cases of wine, what we assumed were vats for fermenting the wine, barrels for storing the wine, but no one was around to talk to or sell us any wine.

We then continued our walk into Bassano del Grappa. I picked up a stick, which Ken found ideal for walking with. It was a lovely sunny day for our last day in Bassano del Grappa. And I was slowly slowly recovering.

It could not have been a nicer or more pleasant day for our last day in Bassano del Grappa. We set off in good spirits.

Flowers: There are 1200, maybe 1600, flowering plants in northern Europe. I used to know them all, be able to identify them all, even though it may have meant spending half a day sat by a plant trying to identify it. Mushrooms and fungi and grasses too. Now the best I can do is see a plant, know I know what it is, but be unable to give it a name.

Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa) is a white spring woodland flower. Blue anemone (Anemone apennina) is a close relative, looks the same but with blue-purple flowers, not white.