As a cat enthusiast I was immediately drawn to observing the lives of Mazzano’s feline population. Architecturally the village’s medieval town structure is an absolute paradise for them, cats tend to naturally be drawn to irregular shaped rooms and spaces which the town offers them plenty. In fact I remember reading about a study which concluded that cats seem to be most uncomfortable in square or round spaces where there is no obvious spatial hierarchy to draw them towards a certain spot. The different street levels and rooftops also offer a perfect environment for climbing and jumping while certain door frames seem to work as unintentional scratching posts. A hole punched through a door offers an ideal play spot to stick your paws through. A certain sunny part of a rooftop next to our flat seems to be the place to be for afternoon naps with all the kitties hanging around the small square squeezing themselves in between the roof tiles in uncomfortable looking poses. Other popular napping spots include the bins around he village where we have often found our fluffy friends in the mornings. Read more “Cats and architecture”
At the day we were visiting Calcata, I also had the chance to see some of the main sites of the Treja Valley Park and get some fresh air after the musty odour, flocks of pigeons and hippie shops of Calcata. Our Italian contact Orlando was driving me around and also explaining the sites so I could get some insights to the park and archeological sites of Faliscan origin in its area.
The first one of the archaeological sites we visited was the temple site of Monte Li Sante. The site actually consists of both sacred and secular functions, but only the sacred part has been excavated. First thing you see, is the massive steel roof structure that is protecting the excavated site from the elements. I wonder if it’s slightly too heavy for the eye and if a wooden structure would have been more pleasant, but apparently the structure needs to be sturdy in case of seismic vibrations. The site itself is very nice and it was surprising to hear that some people come there to do some sort of pagan worshipping as can be seen from some small stones being moved around so it has some relevance as a present cult site also.
The second site that I had the possibility to visit was the excavated necropolis of Cavone Monte Li Sante. The consisted of three tombs and a quarry beside it where some stone material had been taken to build the tombs. The place used for cremating the bodies can also be seen. There are many tombs in the area beside the excavated ones, but sadly all the valuables have been looted from them.
The nature on the Treja Valley park is very nice, but poor road maintenance, vegetation blocking all the nice views and confusing signs take some edge from it. I also got to visit the Monte Gelato and saw three different info signs from different times when the older ones could have simply been removed!?! With some service design and small interventions the Treja Valley Park could be reached more easily which would allow more people to enjoy the natural park and it’s beautiful sites and also hope this is what the future will bring. Read more “Into the Wilderness”
This morning we went to Commune di Calcata, which is located about five minutes (6,5km) from Mazzano Romano. The village of Calcata resembles Mazzano Castellano, but over time it has attracted a lot more tourists than Castellano. In both Castellano and Calcata lives around 1000 people. For this reason it was interesting to go and check the village to see the potential differences. It was both a good thing and a bad thing that the village was peaceful, since the tourists mostly arrive on the weekends. So during the weekdays the village is quite peaceful, but during the weekends it’s full of tourists. I twisted my ankle a few days ago, so my point of view was also from a disabled perspective.
Mazzano Romano the old town, Borgo is rounded by river valley with lively forest. I went to explore that with few others student. We found some views that you don’t see from by googling the Borgo or Mazzano. It’s like hidden gem beside Treja river. This is definitely one of the most beautifull place I have seen.
The area was originally used by locals for raising cattle and crops. As time has passed agriculture has moved away and roads and paths have been taken over by plants. This is the thing that we want to improve and we have also discussed with local people and found out that issue is something that they feel passionate about. Treasures of the valley need to be excavated for locals to enjoy them and maybe some lucky tourist too.
It is increasingly rare to see civic engagement in today’s society, and refreshing to experience when it occurs. This morning Mazzano came together as a community to celebrate Corpus Christi, a Roman Catholic holiday honoring Christ’s instruction to his disciples during the last supper that the bread and wine they ate together represented his body and blood shed on the cross in order to save them. A procession through the city involved men and women, young and old participating in and contributing to the event in a variety of ways. Some decorated the streets, some sang in a choir, some played in the band, and some simply attended.
The town seemed created for this type of public gathering as the small streets and piazzas provided an intimate and comfortable environment for the gathering. Individuals who stayed at home watched from their front doors or balconies, and restaurant patios along the course were full of onlookers slowly drinking their morning coffee. In the end, the festival represents the simple activities, or social capital to use Robert Putnam’s name, that enrich communities around the world. Small towns often thrive or languish as a result of its presence or absence, and it is encouraging to see it providing such pride in Mazzano. Read more “Corpus Christi”
Yesterday we were experiencing some local evening entertainment. The Estonians were following the sounds in Borgo and found a local cantine that had a a proper mini disco in the caves of the old town. They also found us spending the evening in our appartment and guided us to the bizarre local bar party. The soundscape in such a small and tight structured village functioned as an advertisement of the town´s entertainment. Handy!
In the evening the weather was almost cool which was a nice surprise. Here it is hot and sometimes cool. In Finland it is cold but sometimes warm. In the hot weather people are inside in borgo. In Helsinki it’s the other way around. Exotic!
Butterflies are flying around and we and some random horses are eating our lunch at the picturesque countryside of Italy. We’ve biked about 30 km up North from Rome, but there’s still approximately 20 km to go. We still have some spring in our step, so it doesn’t seem like a big effort, so ”andiamo” or something!
2,5 hours later
I was very, very thirsty, when we finally arrived at Mazzano, covered in blood and sweat. I rushed to the first gas station I saw, and desperately shouted ”AQUAAA!”, but the local Shell didn’t offer anything else than Windex, so I went around the corner to the gas station’s toilet and lapped up the water from the sink.
We continued our way, driven by a thought of a cool beer, and experienced a pleasant surprise when we finally arrived to the old city of Mazzano. The local bar owner Carla saw us and seemed really happy about it. ”We are so pleased to see you alive” she laughed.
It was a journey filled with blood, sweat and maybe even tears, but also fulfilling with spectacular views of Lazio ́s country side. Also there is no question that arriving Mazzano Romano’s old town Borgo was no disappointment. The fresh green and the charming old town was a price that could attract other expeditionists too. It was completely worth it. One could imagine that such a travel done with better bicycles and the route maybe connected to Mazzano Romano’s history might serve surprisingly well the revitalizing aspirations of the town.
For Monday 4th of June there will be an encounter with local people in the Municipal Library. We are preparing the questions; they hopely their suggestions for improvements.