As I haven't been taking photographs recently I'm sharing some more of our time in Italy last September and October. In between work in the house and on the land we went out to places near the coast, although we didn't actually get down to any coastal resorts.
South Lazio is divided into the inland and the coastal regions and as one would expect, the climate, terrain and vegetation is very different. From our province we have to drive through the southern range of mountains, the Lepini Mountains, to get to the coastal plain. The main road from our provincial town is a fast one which then joins the north/south Appian Way and we can follow this or cross it and take the minor roads that have been constructed in a grid pattern alongside the canals that were constructed to drain the Pontine Marshes of Latina province.
This reclaimed agricultural land, some of which is at sea level, is now fertile land with plenty of water for irrigation and the produce grown is sent up to Rome markets. The constructed water channels improved the marshland, but when they were not maintained and stagnant water was not pumped out epidemics of malaria were frequent. Mussolini used his programme of draining the marshes as a propaganda exercise, but then the area became ruinous once again during WWII; water channels were neglected so that they became brackish, farmhouses deliberately blown up as a strategy to hinder the progress of the liberation of Rome. It must have been an inhospitable place at that time.
These days folk who have bought land, especially those who have developed it seem to enjoy a good living. For our family it used to be a tradition to chose a large water melon from one grown in the fields and sold at the side of the road on our way back from a day at the sea with the children.
A hill town in the Lepini Mountains
The Appian Way which links Rome to coastal resorts such as Terracina and beyond.
|L'Arca Ristorante, Priverno, S. Lazio|
We took my sister-in-law and husband out for lunch to a restaurant in that area which is owned by a friend. Over the years we've seen the plants flourish and the whole area around the buildings become an oasis of greenery due to the abundant water supply that can be sprayed on the trees and grass.
This was an interesting shrub, although I don't know what it is. Do you have any idea? It had these orange balls that I think were seed heads.
* I found a photograph in the gardening book Cottage Garden written by one of my favourite gardeners, the late Geoffrey Hamilton. The shrub is called The Strawberry Tree (arbutus unedo).
Apparently it bears small, white flowers in the autumn followed by red fruit, which can be seen in my photo, including the pale orange dry seed heads.
On our drive in the area we passed this place selling mature trees. The olive trees looked amazing, but I suspect they're very expensive to purchase.
This was a new roundabout in the middle of the grid system of roads and water channels