Amore and I were driving to Lisciano Niccone the other day and on our way we passed this ruin in San Martino. When I'm in the passenger seat I frequently take the opportunity to pivot my head from left to right and spied this ruin that I hadn't noticed before, although we'd passed this way many times. It was down the hill a bit and at this time of year when the trees and bushes are almost bare it's easier to.
spy see everything. "What's that?" I asked casually. "We call that La Valle." and then Amore continued on to tell me the story of how 30 years ago his family kept their chickens there because they lived in a house nearby. This was before his father and his uncle bought an apartment in town (long story for another time) and they moved. When his sister married 25 years ago and she and her husband were looking to buy a house -- which wasn't immediately after they were married because as all good Italians do they moved in with the father right away -- Amore's father wanted them to buy this property but it was already in negotiations at that time. They now live in a house they had built in a newer area of Mercatale. That's what happens with towns here and everywhere I'm sure. There is the old town with lovely old stone buildings and then slowly slowly the town gets built outwards with newer structures, stores and homes and where was I going with all this? Oh yes, we passed La Valle and I asked to return and explore when we had time. A few days later we were walking around the property with Amore yelling at me not to get too close to the house because it was crumbling and I could get hit by a giant falling stone. There are so many neglected and crumbling houses in Italy that are so stoic and beautiful and yet so sad to me. It seems like a little piece of history dies with the house. On the way to La Valle we passed through a group of old stone homes and I noticed a pole with a sign that indicated a telephone. Amore said that there had been a small grocery store/bar on the street level of one of the homes many years ago. And another bit of the past just flew by.