Anagni is an ancient sailing ship moored on a hill.
It’s nice to imagine it this way in the winter mornings, when the fog that rises slowly from the plain cloaks it, and from a distance you can only see the bell tower of the Cathedral. A white stone main tree placed there to scratch the sky.
Then the chimneys hoisted on the rooves of ancient houses start to mutter again, puffing intricate arabesques of grey smoke. From the alleys, muffled, the metallic clang of the hinges of the wooden doors that open as the new day arrives, while the windows of the medieval mullioned windows open wide, creaking.
Stray cats, still sleepy, observe curious of that human swarming, which to them, as free spirits, must appear as a monotonous and repetitive liturgy.
Here, Anagni is a noble ship. And now she is ready to sail again.
Someone, under the columns of an old portico, is barely able to pull up the heavy iron anchor. And the city of the Popes starts sailing again, swinging clinging to vaporous waves of wandering clouds. As if by magic, it sees its earthly reflection from above and sails through the centuries.
From up there, clear, its whole history appears in its clarity. You can see the Ernici who built its walls, to make it one of the five Saturnian cities; here are the Romans, who now conquered it and gave it dignity as a municipality.
Then, suddenly, festive and bright colours appear to fill the gaze of the sailors. They are the men and women of the thirteenth century in their fashionable clothes, when, under the lordship of the Caetani, Anagni became a papal residence and a splendid example of a municipal city.
They look like many moving dots, bouncing industriously from one side of the streets to the other. “Here they are!” Shouts someone from above, facing the bulkheads of the vessel. And indicates, below, the four Anagnine popes. Boniface VIII, bruised with anger at the shame suffered by Filippo il Bello, nervously walks in the paths of his palace waiting to escape.
Then someone else, intrigued, points his finger at a slender man who walks quickly. He has a strange red pointed hat and a heavy volume of hide under his arm. He walks down from the Duomo to Palazzo della Ragione and seems absorbed in a thousand thoughts. But it’s Dante! Yes, it’s really him. They just have time to see him. Then the sailing ship suddenly folds.
Roll, pitch, squeak. And it makes its way to the countryside below, those fields surrounding the walls.
Vineyards, cultivated fields, green meadows. A bacchanal of colours, of aromas. Nature screams her joy, sings her pagan and immortal glory at the top of her lungs.
And under the vessel, meanwhile, the centuries continue to flow, lazy and indifferent. Slowly, we return to our present. Now, to sailors, Anagni and its lands appear different. The ancient stones, however, are still all there.
To watch, to remind us who we are and where we come from. And to speak to us in silence about our roots, deep and flourishing. It is time to return to port.
The morning mist has cleared, and the sun has started to slide westward towards sunset. The vessel rests delicately on its hill. The bell tower, in front of a purple sky, lowers its sails.
The Anagni of yesteryear and that of today are once again one. Its inhabitants descend from the bow and return to their homes. But they already know that tomorrow they will sail again, because such a journey lasts a lifetime.
And it’s beautiful.