After a long away day on Sunday, we decided to stick close to home on Monday. In aid of that effort, we arranged to have a private, guided walk around Narni. On our first Narni ramblings with Cindy and Paul and Claire and Dave, we were truly rambling, just wandering and admiring the views without much sense of what we were looking at, which I think is a perfectly fine way to experience a place. Our ramblings with Giovanni Destilo were quite a bit more informative even if just as meandering.
We rendezvoused with Giovanni on the steps of the duomo where he treated us to an overview of Narni history. We then headed off to the gorge for insights into the importance of the area’s geography and geology to the development of Narni. From there we went into the “new” town and then across Piazza Garibaldi up into the old, Roman, part of the town. We learned where the ancient via Flaminia went and how its course had altered over the centuries. We learned about the water system constructed by the Romans and in use until very recently. We got to poke our noses into the beautiful little theater (a miniature La Scala) and out of the little platform on the town’s tower where the town crier would make important announcements. We went into the council chamber of city hall where I observed that the colors of the guys shirts harmonized perfectly with the fresco behind them.
As we walked, Giovanni was greeting and being greeted with “ciao, bello,” “ciao, bella.” At one point, he was greeted by a gentleman who is from the same village as Giovanni and we were treated to five minutes of rapid, expressive discussion of what turned out to be the problem of tree cutting in their village. Someone, obviously a villain, had taken it onto himself to cut down some trees and is proposing to cut down more. My impression is that the trees are not on private property. The gentleman and Giovanni are in the “leave ’em standing” camp and the gentleman had just been to the commune governing folks to lodge a complaint.
We ended our tour at the garden/playground at the far end of the town, which overlooks from a different perspective the same gorge with which we had begun. The garden is also next to the school and, as we were wrapping up the tour, Giovanni’s almost-ten-year old daughter came out to the playground with her class. Meeting her and seeing her interaction with her father was a perfect ending for our slice of Narni life, past and present.