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swirl and savor

Il Silencio Bellisimo

Beth Ribblett

My mornings here in the walled village of Cortona couldn't be more different than those I enjoyed in Positano. While there are a few similarities between our two favorite Italian towns, like the beautiful views and the challenges presented to your legs, heart and lungs, the quiet serenity here on the Cortona hilltop is as precious to me as the waking to the beat of that beautiful coastal town.
Instead of sitting on the terrazza gazing at the Mediterranean, I'm at a little wooden table, looking out stained glass doors into green forests that surround the upper part of the town. Stone walls two feet thick keep the apartment cool, no air conditioning needed even in July, in this beautifully restored building from the 15th century. Kerry and I stay on the uppermost road of the town, very close to the top of this commanding "hill" at 2100 feet, with the Porta Montagna, the ancient stone portal from the mountain into the town, right outside our door.

History seeps from the buildings here as Cortona is considered one of the first European cities. Older even than Rome, its true origins are lost to history. Founded by the Etruscans sometime around 800BC, then home to the Roman Empire, evidence of the different civilizations and cultures can be seen in layers of the foundations and architectural detail. The ancient city walls still encircle the town protecting it from the siege of the modern world.

So as I write this post in the early morning, it is delightfully quiet as I'm greeted only by the sounds of the singing birds and a few roosters from the nearby farms. No cars, the tourists haven't arrived yet and even when they do they rarely venture this far up the hillside. And with the deep sound of the church bells at 7am, I can't help but think about those same morning bells ringing in Positano, someone else sitting in my chair absorbing the energy of that place looking at that view as I sit and soak up the calm peacefulness of this one. I feel very fortunate indeed to have experienced both.

I hear the creak of the shutters opening upstairs as Patrizia, the owner of this beautiful piece of history we have the privilege to call home, quietly says "buongiorno" to a neighbor slowly walking the cobbled street. Cortona is waking up and I can't wait to see what the day will bring.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad