The next day we continue our expedition to the second archeological ruin atop the nearby mountain. At the base a shrine and chapel to the statue of Mary. The cactuses here grow rampant along the slope of the mountain we hiked up to get there. We arrived early, before ten o’clock and stayed for several hours. Lizards run around, changing colors as they travel over the hot sandy rocks, and playing in the bushes.
Fruit seems so abundant in the region of Calabria. We eat grapes and figs as we walk along. Pomegranate, cactus and pears. Everywhere I go there seems to be something to eat or explore with the senses. We stop for a moment in the shade provided under a rock ceiling and have some water.
Enzo translates the signs scattered about, telling me a little history of the people who built the Eglise in 1670’s. Situated on the westernmost hilltop between Grizolia and Diamante, the panorama is an amazing combination of azure blue waters and cobalt blue skies and grayish-indigo rocky mountain coastline.
I explore the cliffs and jutting rocky bulges with my camera, fingertips silently clicking away (I switched the “click” sound off after some comment about Japanese tourists.) Time stands still in this remote location, yet the vibrant energy of the day gives every stone and cactus prickle an earthy vitality. The ruins here are breathtaking. The rocks of the old church were rough against my skin.
The air has the same dusty cloying texture as yesterday but more open and grassy here and less enclosed. The breeze from the sea doesn’t make it up the mountain but the dust has settled under the late morning sun.
My imagination runs wild as I run around from spot to ledge where the fallen portions of walls form a brilliant contrast of angular sandy rock walls against the stark blue background of the cloudless sky. Walking along the dusty hills the cactus, with fruit bearing potential, are often crisply over-ripe in the heat of the long summer days. There are many lizards here as well, along the dirt pathway leading up into the church site.
The beautiful Italian countryside with its historical architecture and sites of amazing panoramic beauty has captured me. I find satisfaction in knowing it exists, and also that it will always be here, knowing I will return someday.