Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Walking in the heat

Public gardens in Albano.
The sensible thing to do when it is 96o F out is to take a nap. Truly.  Instead I have been walking. Yesterday I walked across the bridge at the far end of town which spans the valley separating Albano from Arricia. Today I walked the gardens in Albano, just below the Specola.

The views have been spectacular, towns and small orchards spread out below like toys. But part of the joy of the walking is what I can see at this pace. The discovery of the grotto underneath the plaza where I cross the street most days to pick up a loaf of bread.  The doorknockers and door stops, lion's heads and horses' hooves. And my favorite, which reminds me of Thing in the Addams Family (the hand in the box on the table).

It's also interesting to experience these towns as they were when foot travel was the only choice. I can walk from the center of historic Albano to Castel Gandolfo in under 30 minutes. The same can be said for the walk to Ariccia. Many of my walks parallel the Appian Way, or follow it for short periods. These are well worn paths, Ariccia has been settled for almost 3000 years, Albano, in this location at least, for 2000 years.

Though the walk from Albano to Arricia is much faster now that the bridge spans the valley, before the bridge was built in the mid 19th century by Pope Pius IX...well, not with his own hands...you had to walk down and up a very steep slope The country here is steep, I think twice before walking down a street, knowing I'll have to walk up it to get back.

The bridge is not the original bridge, but was destroyed by retreating German Army at the end of World War II, was rebuilt and then collapsed abruptly in 1967 (which created such wonderful ruins that they inspired Fellini to film there). I think I was glad not to know about the collapse as I walk across the once-again-rebuilt span.


  1. Glad you didn't take a nap! We would have missed all these wonderful sights. For me, the challenge is to keep this same attitude of "seeing" once I have returned to my ordinary walks around home. Truth be told, I probably choose naps over walking much too frequently!

  2. Right now I am ready for a nap after a 9 mile ramble through Rome!