I think I have to go back quite a bit over the years:
In June of this year we decided to go to Terracina. This is because my husband Tiziano came from Terracina. He had left Italy looking for work in Germany. And right at that workplace we met, fell in love, married.
We left our little daughter with her grandparents and left. He with the great joy of returning home and presenting his bride to his family and friends, while I with a little anxiety but also impatient to see all the great new things that awaited me.
In 1962 there were only a few kilometers of highway, all the other roads were state or country, even the so-called dirt roads! It was beautiful to pass the Alps, the countryside, the cities, the towns!
We went to Milan to find a sister of Tiziano. She lived in Cologno Monzese and it was very difficult to get there. There were no cell phones or GPS yet. In the end we managed to find it and there was a great reception: many hugs, many kisses and Italian food so good and in abundance.
The brothers had a lot to tell us and I stood nearby without understanding, I didn’t speak Italian at all. Tiziano acted as interpreter. A terrible and long night, interrupted a thousand times by the church bells that rang every 15 minutes !!! on the other side of the road. Another day in Milan and then off, heading south!
The green, flowery countryside, distant towns, cross the Po, all wide and flat. Cities like Parma, Bologna, Florence, Tuscany! Umbria! Orvieto up high! Rome!
Rome finally passed and the Roman countryside could be seen. Then in Latina Tiziano changed direction and we arrived at the sea.
Never had I seen the sea before in my life! The wide beach with an immense mass of beautiful sand! The sun. The sea, the sea to the horizon! What immense joy! The Pontine Islands on the horizon.
Further ahead you could see the water also on the left! Even this sea? “These are the four coastal lakes and we are located on the dunes in the middle. The dunes are among the highest in Europe “.
It was an explosion of surprises, beauties, all in an instant.
I felt this joy physically, it seemed to me that my chest was not big enough to hold and feel all this happiness. Now I understood the sparkle in Tiziano’s eyes when he spoke of “his sea”, from fishing from a boat or underwater with his friends, their adventures.
Moving on to Torre Paola sotto il Monte Circeo, on which the sorceress Circe sleeps after her adventure with Ulysses, we slowly arrived at Terracina.
From a distance you could see the Temple of Jupiter on Monte Sant’Angelo and immediately next to it under the profile of Terracina with the Frangipane Castle, the former monastery of San Francesco, then becoming the hospital of Terracina, and the historic centre of the city.
The setting sun illuminated everything with pink and red.
For me a unique scene. That evening we went directly to his dad’s house, my husband’s brothers, sister-in-law and grandchildren. The first to greet Tiziano was Tosca! A white dog that didn’t want to leave him anymore!
Then the same procedures to make yourself known, hugs, kisses, fantastic dinner. Never eaten so much fish before. And all like that at the sister-in-law’s house in Milan and without speaking any Italian.
The morning after we have an espresso coffee at the bar! This is also a novelty for me.
And the great expected novelty: the sea close up on the beach, feeling the water and sand with my feet and hands! I really can’t describe how well I felt. It was fantastic, wonderful.
What absolutely fascinated me was how light the sea was!
The sun here has another aspect to that in Germany, which seemed closer to me, certainly stronger! The shine of the sun on the small ripples was fantastic, interrupted by the boats that moved on the water. And the wide beach with this fine yellowish sand. Occasionally there were some swimmers with their umbrella. It felt like heaven.
So you can understand the Romantic artists, many of whom came from all over Europe to paint in Italy. Everyone was attracted by the different light.
Then gradually in the following years I got to know a large part of the city, especially the historical centre with its Roman monuments, Piazza Municipio, the cathedral, the alleys. Back then there were still few houses built below. The big boom and havoc would start later, in the mid-60s and 70s. It was built without a master plan.
In the year 1989 we came to live here in the middle of the historic centre, Tiziano and I. The children were grown up, each with his degree and a job to follow. The two boys stayed in Germany, our daughter followed us four years later, she chose the Marche, where she still lives.
My husband only had 10 years left to enjoy Terracina in our beautiful home, his boat on his beloved sea together with his old friends. How beautiful those meetings were for an impromptu dinner, almost never organized, with old friends. It is gone!
For me, the choice to stay here was very easy.
I live with pleasure in my eagle’s nest, as I call my home, because I command the view of Terracina and the sea. There is the sun from morning to evening and everything is framed by Monte Sant’Angelo with the Temple of Jupiter on the left and Monte Leano on the right.
I will stop here, because a thousand other beautiful things that justify staying in Terracina would have to be told.