Friday, October 15, 2010


Here's a view of the Val di Cembra, the area in Trentino-Alto Adige where Segonzano is located. Segonzano is actually composed of fifteen villages. My friend Lucia manages an environmental center located in a vast forest, where school children come to learn about nature and the environment. I met Lucia last year through a language exchange site and we usually meet on Skype to talk for an hour once a week . She invited me to visit her, and I stayed in Segonzano for four days this week. In a region that is often cloudy, we were blessed with sunny skies throughout my stay.

The environmental center amidst the forest.

The children come with their teachers for day trips, they may stay overnight to explore the forest at night, or during the summer they might stay for a week or two of summer camp. There are 55-beds, 4-5 to a room, to accommodate them during their stay. Lucia and her daughter Marta live on site and take care of many duties at the center. They were wonderful hosts during my stay and we had a great time exploring the area together. Marta is a skilled guide in the forest: she's a born naturalist with a strong love for animals, and dotes on her pet pig, Pepsi.

Marta and Lucia with a porcini mushroom.

We went on many walks in the nearby forest, where some trees had started changing colors.

The trees here are mostly pine, beech and larch.

Mountains were always in the distance, providing a vivid contrast to the many cultivated fields of grapes, apples and strawberries in the valley.

Another major industry in the area is the mining of porfido (porphyry) that is used in building and road construction. Porfido is a volcanic rock quarried from the nearby mountains. Many homes in the area resemble Swiss chalets, with colorful displays of flowers hanging from windows and balconies.

One of the more unusual places we visited were the piramidi di terra or earth pyramids that were created by erosion.

On several mornings, Lucia and I visited some of the Segonzano villages while running errands, and one morning we went to Trento.

A fresco on Palazzo Alberti-Cotico in Trento.

After being in the city for a few hours, I was eager to return to the peaceful forest setting. I enjoyed my stay with Lucia and Marta and am very grateful for their kindness and generosity in hosting me in their home, sharing their lives and showing me the wonders of their region. As I was leaving, Marta gave me a special memento, a small boat she had carved that day out of larch bark, along with my initials on the side of the boat. Che dolcezza! How sweet! I will miss these dear friends! Grazie mille, carissimi!

Lucia and I at the train station in Trento.

For more photos, click here: Segonzano#


LindyLouMac said...

what a wonderful place for children to learn about their environment.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy you enjoyed region Trentino.. as you know I consider Trentino Alto Adige to be my second home... it's a place that will rest in your heart.