I've said before that I am most definitely a city girl....
I know 100% that I could not live in the countryside, anywhere isolated or in the middle of nowhere.
It's not just the hustle & bustle that I'd miss, it's the street lights & the next-door neighbours, even the hum of the traffic.
I find it reassuring, comforting even.
I absolutely love being in Italy in the summer but, since where we stay is very remote, I find the silence at night quite unnerving, I've never really got used to it.
We stay in a tiny place called Dorbora* which is simply a collection of about 7 houses, only 3 of which are permanently lived in.
Along the same road is Costageminiana which is bigger, although only slightly...the population is around 100! It's where my father in law was born & where his brother still lives.
When we were there last summer, every night I would notice a tiny light shining high up on the hillside. In the daytime I couldn't even see the home or building that it came from....my husband's zio lives in Costa & he told me that the light belonged to the home of one of a pair of brothers who live high up on the side of hillside.
It turned out that this man lives alone just down the road from his brother who also lives in a little house up there, one of them had married but is now widowed, the other hadn't.
They both well over 70, no one quite knows their exact ages.
They occasionally go to the weekly market in nearest town of Bardi, which is about 20 minutes away but they've never been further than that....in their whole lives!
I find the whole story fascinating, partly because I cannot imagine living their lives....
and partly because I am so intrigued by someone who feels no need whatsoever to travel beyond what they can see from their front door, someone who is simply content with a smaller world & has everything they need almost within arm's reach.
It's most certainly a beautiful location to live in....
and from their houses at the top of the hill looking down the valley, the view must be quite spectacular.
You can't even see the track that goes up through dense woodland to their homes though & in the winter, the area can be snowed in for weeks.
I think about travel all the time but how would it be if you never went anywhere....
and never actually wanted to?
I think there is something very lovely about the sameness, the familiarity, the connection with the seasons & the local environment. And yes, the contentment, the being happy with your lot.
Maybe it's simply a question of not wanting anything else?
The whole time we were in Italy, I couldn't stop thinking about these two men living close together but still alone....
I'd look out at the single light shining from the house & just wonder about their lives.
I'd wonder at what point in their lives they decided they were happy as they were or if they even consciously thought about it, maybe it just worked out that way.
I must confess that part of me is a little envious of the apparent simplicity of their lives.
It does lead me to wonder if the smaller & more straightforward your life is, the happier you are as a result?
Less is more....
My mother in law had never been to Rome, which since she was Italian seemed quite strange to me...having said that she also grew up in a cluster of tiny houses in the hills but left Italy at the very young of age of 16 by herself, arriving in London not speaking a word of English.
She always said that she knew she would never return to Italy to live & she never wanted to.
My in-laws had never met in Italy although they came from villages only about 30 minutes apart.
They both left Italy for England independently
when they were about 16 in order to find work.
My father-in-law Giovanni left Italy always hoping he'd go back, my mother-in-law Luisa knew that she didn't want to return.
The two brothers in the Costageminiana hills never went anywhere....I'd love to know their story.
* Dorbora is what is known in Italy as a localita, an inhabited place not big enough or "significant" in administrative law to be called anything in particular, such as a village....
" (an) area of more or less size, normally known by its own name, on which are situated either grouped or scattered houses"....
"most località are small habitations, hamlets, and occasionally a mere clump of houses."