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Paliano twists within its walls.

It twists, tangled like a ball of wool, its alleys, steps, climbs, underpasses. A jazzy improvisation in the form of medieval and Renaissance architecture.

Paliano- Panorama paese by Benedicta Lee

Paliano – View by Benedicta Mary Lee

A visionary and furious impressionist painting, to be observed from a distance to grasp its essence.

Then, lightning-fast and unexpected, discover instead its airy vocation, of open spaces, of perspective views and of expanded horizons.

A lane opens up into a small square that looks like a front of the stage for a comedy play.

An alley descends from the tallest houses, flows winding like a river, takes a wide staircase and seems to pour down its steps like a stone waterfall.

Still another, shaded and hidden, seems to suck a spark of light from an indefinite point of space and time, until, at the end, it opens up over the entire Valle del Sacco.

An unexpected blaze of sky, sun, distant mountains, swallows dancing on white and plump clouds. Paliano is like this. Full, empty, abyss, dizziness.

A precious stone set on a hill and smoothed over the centuries. And by the Colonna family, its lords who defined its current aesthetics through the Collegiate Church, the Fortress, Colonna Palace.

Here in 1606 Caravaggio lived, fleeing from Rome after the murder of Ranuccio Tomassoni.

And the ‘chiaroscuro’, the alternation of lights and shadows of these cobbled streets seems to come out of his canvases, as if they were a sort of generous and unexpected legacy to the people who protected him.

A people who today, every August 16th, find themselves in the Palio dell’Assunta. A medieval carousel that is an explosion of colours, vitality, wooden planks overflowing with Cesanese wine and traditional dishes.

A choral song, a powerful hymn to its roots, which on a warm summer night reaches the stars, scattered over the valley to guard an ancient and proud city.