It feels as old as it looks when your voice echoes through the mountainside and the inside of the walls of the amphitheater near the church ruins. Walking through it, my guide described events held here during the summer; music, plays and festivals. I appreciate the theater because of its simplicity, natural acoustics in this panoramic backdrop of mountains, valleys and Tyrrhenian blue sea.
From there it was an easy walk to the first church. It is still under reconstruction, with scaffolding along the outer walls and the main hall interior, but the courtyard area only had scaffolds along one wall, leaving the rest of the natural setting open. Lizards run around, changing colors as they travel over the hot sandy rocks, and playing in the bushes. Some plants here were imported from India, some strands of olive trees a and fig trees. Fruit seems so abundant. The rocks of the old church were rough against my skin.
My guide waited patiently as I ran about the ruins of the old site taking pictures from every vantage point. Our conversations remained in French, so was intermittent, a second language for both of us, studied in school. Conversation was sporadic but he showed me were to go and saved me from at least one nasty fall in the holes in the ground. They used to be storage rooms long ago when the churches were in use. It was very long ago in the 1600’s they were constructed.
We arrived early, before ten o’clock and stayed for several hours. The area was actually closed off but we weren’t going to let a little fence because by October, tourism has pretty much died down for the summer. He wasn’t going to try at first but once I had tossed my shoes onto the other side of the gate, there wasn’t much chance of talking me out of going over the fence. I like to climb things. It was fortunate that the area was so deserted. Bella vista.
The second level would have been inaccessible but for the scaffolding inside. At the heart of the courtyard area, there was once a garden, which is now overgrown but contains soft moss and every once in awhile rustles with the activity of some animals I never got a glimpse of.
The day found me satisfied yet still wanting more. The smell of the dirt and stone infuses the air with a feeling of new discovery that the hot hazy day has not yet spent. At night the dust settles. The air is crisp and clear, fragrant with tendrils of some nearby wild flowers growing on the vines. The moon is full and silent above the open enclosure of the church…