Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trentino-Alto Adige

I'm in the mountains....quite a change from Tuscany. In every direction there are terraced green hills covered with vineyards and apple orchards, more than I have seen anywhere else in Italy, or the U.S. Every available space has an intricate web of vines; it is mind-boggling to consider how the vendemmia (grape harvest) is possible, considering it is done by hand.

German is common here, and the houses remind me of mountain chalets, with bright flowers trailing from window boxes on every level. Everything seems orderly, clean, and new. It's odd to see German words beside the Italian counterpart on every sign or business. Are we still in Italy? I have a lot to learn about this part of the country.

At night the temperature here in Segonzano falls to 4 degrees centigrade, but I'm warm and cozy in my room at the environmental center where my friend Lucia lives, smack in the middle of a forest. During the day, it's been sunny, but cool. We have spent many hours hiking through the woods, looking for mushrooms, and enjoying the fall beauty that surrounds us. Marta, at 11, is already accomplished at distinguishing the edible funghi and porcini (mushrooms) from the poisonous ones. As you might imagine, being out amidst the trees is more interesting to me right now than writing about it, so I'll continue the story when I return to Firenze.

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