Ode to the Langhe ● With pure eyes, I celebrate you, my beauty

I have not written for quite a while, and maybe someone missed my images and words. I ran, although not literally, over the past few months. When you travel and your life changes, often you do not realize how much you need certain things, like spending a portion of your time with your memories. Today I am hanging a sign outside the door: we are open, come in! Come see what’s new!

They tell us that Italy is falling apart, the world is ending, that there are only thieves around us, and that the ground trembles and factories are imploding. They yell at us that despair is a value.  Void and pain happen, of course, and they cut your hands and deteriorate your heart.  Pain modifies what you are. I don’t buy it, though: I decided not to believe that life is completely terrible. When everything becomes dull, I go travelling. Sometimes, to smile again, a bike ride in my new city does the trick. Sometimes, however, I just travel to the Langhe region.

Langhe is a region of Piedmont in the North West of Italy. In my imagination, they are a shell, set in the fireplace of the Castle of Serralunga, a shell that has spanned centuries and has climbed oceans to get there, to embellish the marble of that huge stove. They are the vineyards smiling at the Monviso mountain. They are the Barolo wine in Barolo, and the Barbaresco wine in Barbaresco. Langhe are the night of before the 15th of August with the masche of Sinio. They are the roads following the hill ridges, the snow visiting them in the winter months, the scent of white gold, of truffles, and hazelnuts. They are refuge chapels for pilgrims, castles, towers, and the coffee smell on the streets of Alba when the wind appears.

They are the colours of Earth that, turning in tune with the seasons, walks besides the winemakers’ dreams. They are the Stanza delle Maschere at the Grinzane Cavour castle, and the vertical cemetery of Montelupo Albese. They are la via del Sale, the palazzo designed by Juvarrain Verduno, and the few houses of Novello.

In Langhe you breathe Pavese’s and Fenoglio’s air, and you walk the Resistance paths. Langhe are ivy and sundials hanging on the walls. They are the Arneis wine, and tractors running in the fields, and bagna cauda with thistles, and Castelmagno cheese. In my memories, Langhe are a rainbow dropped from the sky in front of La Morra. I decided to believe in a life that is possible, and full of hope, good wine and powerful mountains.

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