From the window I could see the mountain of Segni, I was six years old, and one day my father, returning home, introduced me to a friend of hisfrom Segni, a friendly and jovial man.
When that nice gentleman started talking, I realized that I could not understand a word of what he was saying, as he uttered sounds that I had never heard before.
Through an “initiatory” language (the Segni dialect), my adventure began in a new territory that led me to the knowledge of its population and its history.
Segni, surrounded by a vast mountainous and hilly area, offered numerous worlds to explore.
Woods with age-old oak trees where you can fantasize about meeting elves and fairies. Vast meadows for picking blackberries, picking flowers, looking for mushrooms in an exhausting treasure hunt. Chestnut woods to rummage through, to make a collection of delicious browns and with a little luck, fill a basket with porcini mushrooms.
The human adventure was just as sensational because, with so much nature, I could get to know the agricultural and mountain world of Segni made up of lumberjacks, breeders, farriers, singers, all linked to the ancient traditions and traditional crafts of the mountain community.
I loved listening to the tales of the lumberjacks and peasants narrated in that colourful dialect, whose sounds and meanings I could now distinguish. I listened to the local songs, “the stornelli“, which narrate witty, and sometimes spicy scenes, drawn from the daily life of the people of the area.
But Segni always had surprises and rare beauties for me discover.
One day, wanting to explore the ancient village, I had decided to go up the mountain avoiding travelling on the internal urban road and, starting along an impervious path through the wild bushes far from the sounds and noises, suddenly it appeared before my eyes, in all its majestic presence, the white, cyclopean, Porta Saracena!
It seemed to me that nymphs chased by fauns were hiding in the bushes and that at any moment I could see a Hippogriff take off!
From that imposing work built with limestone blocks, surmounted by a pair of lintels, consisting of monoliths 3 meters long, the walls began that went up the whole mountain and surrounded it in a majestic circuit.
Walking along the walls of Segni is a journey through time and history.
Along the path you are often flanked by the void, because the slope of the mountain is steep and down at the bottom there is the valley that separates Segni from other towns. The stone walls had been built as a fortification for defensive purposes, Segni was a border area that controlled the roads that led from Rome to the south, passing through the valley of the Sacco river.
Like a large fan Segni opened up a new scenario, that of History, by making its archaeological museum and a group of researchers who brought to light several high-value discoveries available to everyone.
It is a very precious jewel set in the secular history of Segni: a Nymphaeum!
The Nymphaeum appeared to me in all its beauty as a miracle, with its niches and its setting with rustic mosaic decorations reminiscent of a cave. At the centre of the main facade, in a frame formed by cockle shells, an inscription in Greek letters formed by Egyptian blue beads and the signature of the one who designed it: the architect Quintus Mutius.
The collecting of water has always been important for Segni and it is done by setting large cisterns, basins and basins in the mountain, functional to the life of the town.
These works with their circular shape are an additional ornament to the morphology of the town and its aesthetics. On the ancient Acropolis, next to the temple of the goddess Juno Moneta, the Roman Cistern appeared majestic.
Today the rotunda does not collect water but welcomes its inhabitants on holidays as in an arena used as a show.
The millennial need for water collection is well evidenced by the presence of the large circular basin called “the Fountain” in the area of the springs, where water still flows. A secluded place, where an ancient sky in the day and a starry universe at night are reflected in a huge circular mirror.
All the early journeys led to a transformation and the full life that I have lived in Segni over the years and it has led me to choose to live in the house at the top of the hill, facing the mountain, which many years ago my father had built with the help of his friend.
The mountain of Segni, decorated by the mosaic made up of the many houses of the ancient village, now stands out entirely before my eyes.
Its shape sometimes reminds me of a giant resting crouched on the vast plain of the Sacco river.
Other times at sunset, tinged with an ochre colour, it reminds me of the ancient medinas of the eastern countries.
Finally, in the deep darkness of the night, when lots of lights appear on the great mountain, Segni appears to me in all its magnificence, like an immense ship illuminated for a party, ready to continue its secular journey through time.