The wind almost never comes to my place.
If it approaches, it remains trapped behind the mountains and is silent or speaks in a low voice, like a child hidden behind a curtain.
Golden and dry in the summer, wrapped in the fences of the gardens and the blackberry bushes, this land becomes opaque in the autumn and already at the beginning of September it pales, armouring itself with farewells and swallows’ nests at the start of the season.
In winter it keeps silent, it contracts like air-hardened skin and while it sleeps it turns silver with mists, between porcupines and foxes, then in spring it repeats itself, humid and impatient with the wild buds that sprout nervously behind the stones and the abandoned expanses of alfalfa.
The sea is hundreds of steps away from here, beyond the mottling of the peaks, perhaps at some point you start to see it emerge from below, as if the sky were numbed in the ground. The sea is not from here, it is of another breed, it is only a foreign legend, a frivolous amusement for those who get agitated by the currents.
My land is an island without waters, surrounded by earth, with bare passes and bristly woods, embroidered with beech and primroses, brought out to the cold, to burning logs, to silence.
Castel di Ieri has the name of a fairy tale, of an ancient magic that resists time, passing down from voice to voice.
It is a small point in the presence of the immensity of the planet, yet it contains everything, every word and every silence. It stands upright on a top, alert and discreet like a solitary animal.
You can glimpse it from afar, curve after curve coming from any direction: from from any angle you observe it, the town reveals an unprecedented and delicate profile that sinks into a carpet of ancient woods and rocks.
In the square at the entrance to the village, in spring the pink flowers of the almond trees rise, which touch the white stone of the facade of the mother Church, that of Santa Maria Assunta.
The sky embraces the luminous circle of houses and then disappears behind it, while knotted in a row one by one, the houses stand and climb like immobile pearls of the same necklace.
Small streets tighten between the walls, intersecting with others even narrower, then opening up into tiny open spaces beaten by the sun, from where the endless panorama of fields and mountains reigns and, at the end of the day, clouds of all colours appear.
Balconies and small terraces rise, flowered windows and curtains embroidered in silence: this is the historic centre of Castel di Ieri, crossed by its fragrant alleys and always fresh even in summer, even when the sun has not yet set.
Some imperceptible noise, the carpenter’s shop, a cat walking close to the wall, a couple of small tablecloths hanging out to dry, the sharp chirping of some sparrow and everywhere, as if it were invisible enchanted dust, a widespread sense of peace.
The tower is there at the highest point, a silent lookout for voices, rises, games, battles, hiding places, secrets. For more than eight hundred years it has been watching over the town, witness from the most ancient times of a larger and elusive Time which continues passed and does not stop.
Those who pass through here are enchanted by an atmosphere that is not only beauty, it is not only peace.
Even when night is about to come and the sun goes to bed, while the purple horizon confuses the sky and the mountains in a single line, Castel di Ieri lights up with a warm, welcoming light. The stones of the walls and houses are tinged with an intense yellow, the air cools and the darkness spreads over the town.
Come here, stay only a few hours or decide to stay there for several days, come here in summer when tourists fill the empty houses. Or in the middle of winter, when the cutting cold freezes the air and the mountains, it is a way to reconcile with the exact dimension of one’s existence.
The past constantly resurfaces on the streets of Castel di Ieri: perhaps its destiny is written in the name itself.
A place where time has stopped to get who knows what redemption, or more simply a place where memory and fantasy come together, just like in dreams.