Yesterday we left Rome and drove East through the mountains to Abruzzo. It's only recently with the completion of the A-24 that this area has been easily accessible by car. We went through 17 tunnels, one of them 11 km long underneath the Appenines. East of of the mountains Abruzzo is a hilly agricultural area dotted with hundreds of small villages.
The little village of Valle San Giovannewhere we are has clearly been through good times and bad.
There are boarded up ruins and fancy modernized houses, but essentially it's a country scene.
Cats and village dogs keep their uneasy peace on the doorsteps, chickens strut in the back yards and this afternoon a tractor pullong a cart of firewood rumbled by our bedroom balcony. Here's the vista from the rooftop, showing cultivated fields undulating up the hills.
And here's a little chapel tucked behind some trees.
Valle is pretty small. There is only one bar/cafe and a couple of little stores. Apparently bread is delivered to one of these every day but we haven't yet figured out which one. If we only knew enough Italian we could ask the portly retired guys who sit at plastic tables and chairs outside the bar. Meanwhile we stocked up on supplies at the Conad supermarket about ten minutes drive from here.
We will get to know some of the village folk once we organize cooking lessons with a woman who offers them here. And already we are meeting the three other couples from Victoria who are also renting houses from Anita. She grew up here and now lives in Victoria, but she and her husband Gord run cycling tours from here every spring and rent the houses out inthe summer and fall.