Guccio Has Some Serious Muscles

The day began with a rooster finding its way out of the henhouse and into a small fenced in area adjacent. Flora and I had a plan to move the rooster back to its roost, but Guccio would have none of this. Instead, he found the smallest of crevices and bound into the pen, frightening the rooster who then flew out and began wandering about the yard.

If you haven’t tried to catch a roaming rooster, I’d suggest you try. It’s not for the faint of heart and a lesson in humility. Ultimately this required the coordinated effort of 4 adult humans until finally the rooster was contained, and we were ready. (Guccio wanted to help, I’m certain)

Once the rooster was managed, four six of us piled into Flora’s Giulietta: Flora in front with Lisa, Lucia and me in the back, and in the carrier behind us were Guccio and Daisy. We were on our way into the countryside of Lazio to see some of the sights, a faint mist of rain hazing the car windows as we began our journey.

This trip began with a wrong turn, as so many seem to in Italy, because the intersections here sneak up on you, and the navigation apps usually warn you about an impending turn just after you have passed it.

Still we hadn’t gone much off course, and the misdirection was quickly righted, with our route taking us into the town of Montefiascone, well over Lake Bolsena to our west. The rain had stopped and the weather begun to clear, so we stopped there for a moment to gasp at the view of the lake in the distance, one of several volcanic lakes in the area. Well below us, the pastoral landscape was brushed with broad swipes of green, brown, silver, and gold reflecting the winter season and the crops grown there.

Back into the car we continued on, passing into Bagnoregio, going to the far end of the city.

There, we again climbed out of the car, and this time freed the dogs from their crate. The group of us followed a nearby sign to the lookout point to find, the town of Civita Bagnoreggio, standing like it was set down on a giant stone pedestal. The town hung there like a tiny appendage at the end of a delicate hair of a road.

Guccio led the way now, straining continuously at his leash (look at those thighs!), as we picked our way down a nearby stairway to the road below. We continued forward toward the bridge, yielding to a small cart that occupied the entire width of the structure, and then we began the climb to Civita Bagnoreggio.

From a distance it didn’t seem much of a climb, but in person it was substantial.

We forged ahead, with Guccio fighting to reach any of the several cats in the area.

And in short order we were at last in the center of town (it isn’t a big place) where we visited the church before continuing on. Along the way explored several side streets, with walls and roofs standing at various angles, always tempting the eye in new and interesting ways

We could never travel far, however, before we reached a precipice, with sharp eroded edges of layered earth cutting through the forest visible in the distance.

This place is probably quite busy in the summer, but on a late Monday morning in December, our walk was quiet and calming, with few tourists about. Eventually we crossed back over the bridge and climbed back up the stairs to the main city, where we found our car and then lunch.

I dozed in the back seat for parts of our journey back to Flora’s house, but was wide awake when we stopped at the church in Montefiascone and when we finally stopped in Marta on the shores of lake Bolsena.

I suspect these shores are also busy when the summer heat beats down, but for now the town was hushed. The fishermen’s boats sat beached on the coarse grey sand, while the placid lake lapped languidly at their hulls. Flora told us of the perch and whitefish that they pull from the lake.

We explored only briefly, seeking out the old octagonal clocktower above, and with it another view of the town about us.

And as the grey clouds returned, sitting low in the sky, my need to explore had been sated and it was time again for us to each find our positions in the car and at last to go home.

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