Saturday, 16 January 2016

Arrivederci Cadore

From the post The Birth of the Piave
At the end of my trip to Italy in 1998 I spent my time on the flight from Milan
to Stansted airport in the UK thinking about the whole trip.

Perhaps, though, not thinking, as it was mainly images that came to mind... 

Such as this one.

Seeing Psalm 103 on a wall inside the tiny chapel atop Monte Peralba was a memory to cherish.

I had gone to Italy to research the background of my book The Door of Perarolo but it would take another fourteen years of research and writing, mostly part-time, before it was finished. 

From the post The Birth of the Piave

The Cadore region had been the focus of my attention.  So my thoughts went back to the time I was standing at the source  of the Piave high up on Monte Peralba. 

From the post The Birth of the Piave

I recalled the wee church - but a short stroll from the source of Italy's third largest river.  

From the post The Birth of the Piave

From the post The Birth of the Piave

What a treasure it was to find!  

Though it was not the only treasure to be discovered on Monte Peralba.

An essential stop for a burnt-out cyclist (me) was the Rifugio Piani del Cristo where good food and drink could be found.

In a thicket down the hill towards Cima Sappada there is to be seen the road/riverside shrine of Santa Maria di Luggau.

From the post The Birth of the Piave
Cima Sappada had been the ideal base from which to explore the area.

From the post The Birth of the Piave
From the hotel balcony I took these photos of the town.

From the post Down the Piave from the Source

Even in the rain, Cima Sappada was hauntingly beautiful.  I remember, thinking as the plane flew homewards over the Alps, that this was somewhere I had to visit again.

From the post From Cima Sappada to Pieve
From Cima Sappada I took the bus to Calalzo, thence by bike to Pieve di Cadore to see Titian's house. 

From the post A First Look at Perarolo

As the plane flew homewards over rural France I smiled while recalling  what a long day that was! 

There had been just enough time for a quick bite and a beer in the main square in Pieve, a few photos, then Una (my bike) and I were heading south once again... Perarolo.  

It was my first visit, and I wanted to take as many photos as possible before heading downriver once more.

The church dedicated to San Nicolò was in those days always open.  But in Italy, like everywhere else in Europe, churches are subject to theft and vandalism in recent times, so many are kept locked nowadays.
From the post A First Look at Perarolo

The church above is a wooden frontage of the remnants of the old church that occupied this site in the nineteenth century.

From the post Perarolo Then and Now

In my rucksack on the plane home were my research notes.  The reason for my research trip was to find out more about Perarolo in the nineteenth century.  You can see the original stone church building in the lower part of this old photo towards the centre.  Perarolo is subject to damage by earthquakes and flooding, and the church has been damaged many times by both over the centuries.  
From the post Downriver from Perarolo towards Codissago
And still my journey through Cadore wasn't over for the day!

Near Rivalgo I photographed this monument to the caduti who fought the Austrians in 1848 - though the uprisings of that year were not to bring the desired freedom from Austria. 

The heady days of Cavour, Garibaldi, et al were yet to come.

From the post Downriver from Perarolo towards Codissago

At Rivalgo I stopped to take a photograph of the church (but the photo above sent to me by Franco Baldissarutti is a better one).

I noticed a wrought-iron gate with initials at the top of the metalwork, and I made a comment in my audio diary.  The initials interested me - who was this well-to-do person living here in this tiny village?

From the post From Rivalgo to Codissago

(The initials were 'CSM' and stand for Cristoforo Svaluto Moreolo.  I didn't have a photo of the gate, but you can see it here in Aldo De Bastiani's photo (thanks, Aldo!). 

Giancarlo Soravia and others solved the mystery of the initials for me - thanks to you all!)

From the post From Rivalgo to Codissago

At Ospitale I photographed the Chiesa della Santissima Trinità before heading down river to...

From the post From Rivalgo to Codissago

...Termine, where I photographed the curiously shaped church there in the fading light. 

Termine (a good choice of name!) marks the limit of the region (Cadore) where the language Cadorino is spoken.

From the post Vajont, Erto and Longarone

I was staying at the cottage of my friend Umberto Olivier in Codissago that night.  Here I am with Barbara and Umberto.

From the post From Codissago to Belluno

A few days later we sat down in a fine country restaurant owned by one of Umberto's friends (second from right).

From the post From Codissago to Belluno

And, no, we didn't eat lard, but we were happy all the same - perhaps on account of the vino rosso.  That was the memory I had in mind as the plane landed at in the UK.

Now... you wouldn't be allowed to do this nowadays, now would you? This is a photo taken inside the cockpit of the aircraft that took Una (my folding bike) and myself back to the UK.  
Lots of dials and switches...  [© P.A.G. 1998]

I had explained to a sympathetic stewardess that I'd been in Veneto on an extended research trip.

This was the end of a long journey.  

'Any chance I might go inside the cockpit of the plane after we've landed?' I asked.

She had a few words with the captain.

'No problem,' she said.

They were all concentration over their paperwork when I took my photos.

It felt a bit like entering a small, private chapel after the service had started.

The pilot and copilot check the football results.  [© P.A.G. 1998]

But I was getting hungry.  All I wanted now was to get some food...

Now, I've had some good tomatoes for breakfast, but these were special...

Giant tomato slices topped with cheese and grilled.

Meet the folk who cooked it for me and served me with good coffee.

The chefs

On the flight from Stansted up to Scotland I reminded myself of the other wonderful places I'd visited on the trip.

Belluno, Feltre and, of course, Venice.  

One place that stayed in my mind longer than most was Castello di Quero.
From the post Castello di Quero

Since I started this blog, this post has attracted much interest.

It was a great trip, but it was also good to get home.

Arriving home: Photos (slides) and camera, audio diary (mini-tapes) and recording machine

Apart from memories, I arrived home with many treasures.  In the image above you can see some of the slides in my photo collection, many of which I scanned electronically to include in this blog.  Also I had hours of voice recordings in my mini-tape audio diary - either my own commentary, or interviews with the many people I met in my time in Italy.

One example of Laura's work

Later, this wonderful set of pressed flowers (beautifully presented - thank you Laura - and labelled) arrived as promised from Castelfranco - Michele and his mother Laura having taken the trouble to label each item with their Latin, Italian and English names. All this to assist me with my work.  What kindness!

The collection as received in Scotland

As we have come to the end of the posts relating to the 1998 trip, I would like to thank some of the many people who helped me so much at that time:

Firstly, the late Nunzio Coletti and his wife who met with me in their house in Belluno in 1998 - Nunzio it was who diligently worked through the archives in Venice before writing his piece Trasporti di grande alberature sul Piave nell'Ottocento in La via del Fiume (Cierre edizioni, Verona), which sparked my own interest and subsequent research.  I dedicated The Door of Perarolo to Nunzio.

Secondly, my thanks go to Umberto Olivier and Barbara in Codissago for providing much hospitality, advice and assistance.

Finally, I would like to thank Michele Berton and Dario Masiero together with all the members of their lovely families for their hospitality, great kindness and help.

I was to return to Cadore again and again in the course of the researching of The Door of Perarolo.  But, in next month's post, we will journey to France to attempt to discover the country as it was at the start of the nineteenth century.  

Note: This blog supports readers of The Door of Perarolo, a historical novel set in Cadore, Italy in the early nineteenth century.  You can examine feedback from readers in the UK here and in the US here.  The Door of Perarolo is a Kindle ebook comprising 140 chapters.  It can be downloaded from Amazon sites worldwide. The launch post of this blog gives further details.  The second post provides links to maps, etc.

If you'd like to track these blog posts, you can follow me, Peter Alexander Gray, on Facebook.

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