Writing has always been my life, the hidden, underground one that no one sees. Some time ago I decided to bring it to light and I don't know if it's a good thing. I have always considered it an annoying and cumbersome mania, which often distracts me from everyday life and surprises me because it is completely unknown, like instinct. But the Greeks loved mania and it seems it was also venerated by the Romans who transformed it into a divinity to be respected, there was even a sanctuary in Arcadia between Megalopolis and Messene, and I can think whoever went to honor it, now they would be waiting for him with an ambulance from headlights on, a nice straitjacket and some pills to swallow. With this premise completely justifying the fact that what I am going to tell is partly the fruit of my imagination, I am going to report what I saw and absorbed during a day spent on a trip to Smerillo, in the south of the Marche, a town that really deserves a visit, between art and nature with a lunch break that doesn't hurt.
A friend of mine and I left from the south of Ancona at nine o'clock one morning in mid-November, determined to reach the town of Smerillo where we expected to be an hour later, a vain illusion because we both know well that it will take longer, when you cross the interior of the region you find tractors and interrupted roads which make you discover new corners, which is not bad, but it distracts you from your true goal and we are no longer able to handle surprises lately, and I see that this is the case for many.
Loreto is beautiful in a moving way, as it passes me to the right of the state road that we travel along peacefully, we had set out with the firm intention of seeing a farmhouse, but the appearance of the basilica sends me back to a hieratic sacredness that delivers me to silence, this is the function of architecture and art in general, I tell myself, to calm the soul in constant dissent, a vortex of opinions, judgements, thoughts in perpetual discord. Beauty stops the motion, says Thomas Aquinas, and it is all terribly true, just as it is true that creation comes from chaos and this comforts me even more. The phone rings and we pass Loreto, end of the lucubrations. Amen.
How are your cats? I then ask to open a discussion. I know we could stay in silence for hours, but talking restores you and brings you back into the now - she replies that everything is fine, her mother is out of hospital for a knee operation and by the way did you turn on the stove? No, I have builders on the ground floor, I want to take a bath so my mother doesn't have to climb the stairs. Obviously we also talk about other things but I won't list here, it's a working day and we try to stick to the roles, as much as possible, we are from the Marche region, the human component is part of our modus vivendi and also operandi all in all, it's one of the reasons that made me choose to stay in these parts.
As we speak, the view of the sea opens up on the left, this large container of something that immerses more than it emerges, the sea confuses and bewitches, Neptune/Poseidon took Ulysses on a larger tour that almost risked never seeing Ithaca again , The sun palely illuminates the vast blue-green expanse, I breathe deeply as never before in the early morning, The phone rings and brings me back to the now again, in a flash we are almost at the Pedaso Porto San Giorgio exit, I hang up the phone and as we resume the dialogue we admire the landscape, this time it is narrow between the valleys, you see orchards interspersed with renovated farmhouses and not at a regular pace.
Here where we go they have the chestnut festival and it's also full of truffles, you know? No I do not know. Well then we'll go and eat it if we find something open what do you say? Yes, but it must be very wooded, I'll make this place and he replies that it's high, eight hundred metres, four houses but very nice and they also have a festival called " The words of the mountain” which is nearby, you don't realize how much. In fact, I still can't see her from the highway.
Finally we begin to climb and out of nowhere we arrived, perhaps because we continued talking and woods and mountain ranges appear to me to the west that envelop you in their dark and dark green scrub, we are near the Sibillini mountains after all and the woods are magical, places of loss but also of initiation.
In ancient times, parents sent their children into the forest so that they would become men again but the forest is also life: animals, food, vegetation. The woodpecker that is said to have led the Piceni to the Marche from Sabina is a bird that loves oaks, ergo he led them on the path of food and survival.
Sigh... think about the now Lorenza, don't immerse yourself, as always.
How many inhabitants does Smerillo have? 333 . It's not possible, damn I don't believe it. That's how it's written, he answers me laughing and suddenly a sign of an open restaurant appears saying: “Truffles today.”
What I was asking for has become clear! I give in to the magic. After the visit we will stop here. I have the feeling that this place has maintained what has been lost in other parts: the Genius Loci, the Anima Mundi, what has maintained, moreover, a large part of my beautiful region.
In the picture: oil by Tullio Pericoli, painter and writer, 2015