As you know, our Italian house is situated in a mountainous region in South Lazio. This photo was taken years ago before I had a digital camera so it looks rather like a retro postcard! It's the Collepardo area where we go for picnics in the Summertime. There are interesting caves to visit and Trisulti Monastery is in this area.
On the first weekend of our time in Italy we drove up to Trisulti hoping to get some good photos of the mountains on the way - very difficult when the road is a winding one with few places to stop safely as you go higher and it follows the natural line of a deep gorge.
These first photos are near home, the last looking back towards where we live. This area is mostly shepherding country and a few decades ago the only buildings were shepherds' dwellings. With the improved access on the main tracks many have been upgraded so there are modern homesteads and we noticed many had started building thick stone boundary walls. Landslides can occur during sudden heavy rain storms.
It's also land suitable for growing olive trees and producing olive oil. We were given a large can of the local olive oil by a relative of a relative in exchange for some of our white wine that had gone to vinegar. Sadly it was much to heavy and impossible to transport back to England by plane, but has been stored in the cool of the canteen for future use when we are in Italy.
This photo doesn't really convey how high up we were, but as you can see it's a popular area for serious cycle training and must be exhilarating going down hill!
This area opens up at the side of the gorge and is a popular place to camp or come for the day for a family picnic. You can climb up a track though the woods to the source of the river which, of course, is only a mountain stream in this lovely, shady spot.
Below is a glimpse of the Certosa di Trisulti from across the gorge and before you get to the camping/picnic area where the road goes right down into the ravine and then up again towards the monastery area. The road is quite narrow and there are no barriers. Beyond the brown grassy edge is a drop into the gorge.
Because of its inaccessibility - my husband explained that once there was just a rough track to it - it was and is still is used as a retreat place to test a religious vocation, and also attracts visitors because it has become well-known for its ancient pharmacy with its beautiful and unusual wall paintings. Also, imagine trying to build in this remote area!
The area is covered in oak, sweet chestnut and beech woods with some pine. We have always been fascinated by this oak tree near the monastery clinging to the edge of the gorge and half dead and half alive. We've passed the interest in it onto our children and grandchildren who always want to walk along the track to take a look at it. Fortunately there's a barrier at this point!
We spent a while in the monastery and grounds before getting some water from the fountain. There a few of these fountains in the area where folk come to fill up bottles and jars with mineral water to take
home. More about the Charterhouse another time, but as we went for a light lunch in the restaurant attached to it I will finish off this post with a look around the rustic-style Trisulti Ristorante.
Did you notice the yucca plant?
I always feel that I'm going back in time and to the era when we came here first in the 1970s. We had a delicious lunch of cannelloni made with fresh pasta and Mr. P. had mixed roasted meats and salad.
This was an extra taster dish presented to us of mozzarella filled with chopped up pieces of salami and rocket leaves.
Monastery entrance door
Next time we can take a stroll around the monastery gardens and courtyards and take a look at the famous pharmacy murals (I was delighted to find that this year it was possible to take photos of the paintings for the first time.