28 Nov 2014

Giving thanks

A posy of roses - some of the last of the Summer - a few linger on in the garden.

Time to close the blinds and the curtains and give thanks
for a warm house, food on the table, a soft pillow to rest my head,
family and friends, near and far.

For those who are enjoying a special time of Thanksgiving
I send warm wishes for a happy holiday
and for all of us everywhere and whatever we're doing
 I wish for a peaceful weekend.

26 Nov 2014

A walk around the monastery grounds and cloister (2)

Continuing with the walk around the monastery grounds.......

The College

Casamari College terrace recreation area

College study rooms and the Abbey church

More areas for recreation and sport

College gardens

A view of the town of Veroli from the College gardens

Back in the inner courtyard garden of the monastery steps lead
up into the cloister.

The cloister, cloister garden and Chapter House

Outer courtyard garden and gatehouse

It was time to have lunch with wine from the monastery
to try and savour and the kiwi that was given to us. It was ripe and delicious
with honey and yoghurt.

24 Nov 2014

A walk in the monastery grounds

This abbey is one that attracts visitors from far and wide so we're fortunate to be able to spend time within the grounds.  The pharmacy, the shop that sells monastic items, the parish office and social rooms, the farm shop, the college high school and the retreat houses are run by the monks and also provide employment as well as a local service. The post office is within the outer walls of the monastery complex and the sports ground is now managed by the parish. The olive groves on the moors behind the abbey are also rented out and cultivated by the locals. However, the landscape remains unspoilt because the land is in a conservation area and building regulations are very strict.

One morning we took a walk around the area that's mainly cultivated for the needs of the monastery and college, which is a boarding school as well as a day school. We then walked through the college gardens and back into the monastery inner courtyard gardens.

Old columns have stood there for centuries.The lift on the left has been installed recently which must benefit the elderly members of the community.

Wine can be bought from the monastery cantina.

The above building is the kitchen and dining room for the people working on the land and in the monastery.

We met one of the gardeners and had a chat about horticulture.  He had lived and studied in England and America and spoke excellent English.  He gave me a kiwi to try.

These buildings used to be the stables, but now they're being used as workshops.

                                    old mill stones for grinding the olives to produce oil

                                                   orchards and vineyards

                                             the path leading to retreat houses

the college

Next time I will continue with our walk around the college gardens and then back to the monastery
courtyards and cloister.

21 Nov 2014

Italy: the hill town of Veroli

I've still got a lot to write about regarding our time away in Italy in September and October as I'm trying to keep a chronological record of our year. I know I'm 'swimming against the flow' compared with many of you who are writing about Christmas preparations, but I'm going to continue to share about our Italian life with perhaps a post or two about what we're doing here in Yorkshire if something of interest comes up.

The view above can be seen from one of the terraces in a local town where we go from time-to-time. The weather, even in early Spring and Autumn can be sunny and you can see for miles across south Lazio.
However, it's not the highest area of the town and the day we took a walk it was one of the few when the weather was not so good.  It was a different walk because I wanted to explore somewhere we don't usually need to visit as we often park at the bottom of the town and walk up to the middle streets and that can be quite enough of a challenge.
Fortunately we could drive up, park and walk to the highest quarter of the upper town. There were tantalising glimpses of what the residents were growing in their town gardens on the other side of the ancient walls. The megalithic walls that surround and protect Veroli in a polygon form are called cycloptic walls because they were built with enormous stones that are wedged in place and can be seen best in the St. Leucio quarter, which is the oldest part of the upper town.
The lane led up to an ancient tower called 'The Rock' (9th century AD).  Many important people found shelter or were kept prisoner within the walls. Turning left passed 'The Rock' the narrow road had no barrier on the side where there was a steep drop into the valley road below. There was a dead end with a small cobbled courtyard where there was a shop, a little church and a narrow pathway back down to the lower streets. It felt as if this area was mainly used by the locals. The small church was very old, had been untouched by modern hands and yet was obviously a much-loved and intimate neighbourhood place of worship. We spoke to the elderly man sitting on the bench outside and went in.
The main lane to the right continued as a single-track road across the Ernici mountains. It's called 'The Way of the Benedictines' as St. Benedict and his little band of followers in 529 AD journeyed from Subiaco, stopped in Veroli, founded the monastery of St. Erasmus, before going on south to start a new monastic community in Monte Cassino.  Of course, these mountain tracks would have been known routes to all travellers as well as marauding peoples.

The remains of the tower called 'The Rock'

The enclosed courtyard in front of the church and the path leading
 back down to the lower part of the town.

Th church of St. Leucio

the cemetery

 a wall painting - I have no information about what is depicted

The Ernici settled in the area around the 12th century B.C. and founded  the settlement as it was in a strategic position being more than 700 feet above sea level and between two major valley routes. It eventually fell to the Romans and because of its alliance with Rome became a free municipality. There was a period of unrest during the Norman period, but by the Middle ages Veroli was established as flourishing centre of art and culture and in the Renaissance was well known for its places of learning and the libraries attached to them.
Although the weather wasn't good and the light was poor for photography, especially as we approached 'The Rock' tower, it was an interesting walk which gave me an insight into another aspect of Veroli.