Over the years playwrights and poets have written pieces inspired by the magic of Italy. Despite never actually coming here Shakespeare set many of his works here, the most obvious being Romeo and Juliet. Byron enthused about the country as did Shelley and Keates and why not, at times Italy can be truly magical. One of these magical moments occurred a few weeks ago, in fact it was so magical, I have put off writing about it for fear of not expressing myself eloquently enough.
We were invited to the town of Fara San Martino for an evening of music. A stage had been assembled in the piazza at the base of Via Roma, and the musicians were tuning up as we arrived. We dropped in and had a pre concert drink with our friends Viv and Seppe, when we got there our other friends Graham and Mark were already there. We chatted for a while until we heard the music begin. So on a chilly evening we stepped outside and joined the locals who had gathered to enjoy the music.
A mist descended upon this mountain town and as the music played I left the audience and wandered through the narrow alleys. The experience was ethereal, shrouded in mist and lit by orange street lights with music filling the air the walk became magical. I felt like I was walking through a Federico Fellini film, and with these feelings of wonderment coursing through me I then understood why he favoured Italy for his backdrops. I remembered one of Fellini’s famous quotes, ‘Experience is what you get while looking for something else’, and it summed up how I was feeling, I just expected to listen to music on a chilled evening but instead I had an experience I’d never have imagined.
Walking around a corner, heading back to the piazza I watched the band, resplendent in their orange uniforms beneath the lights erected for the evening. Just standing beside the barrier put there to keep traffic away and watching gave me a feeling of contentment I’ve not felt before. I stood for a while and to misquote Shakespeare, I was filled from the crown to the toe top-full of calm. I felt as if at last I was part of a community, that I had actually arrived. As the light had such a magical feel, I took a few more photographs before re-joining the others in the piazza.
The second musical performance started, the first had been classical and this was more contemporary, even including a new arrangement of some pop songs into the mix. Children came over and took turns in walking Seppe’s dog, Ollie around the piazza, and we chatted to every person we were introduced to. We were four stranieri here at an intimate local evening festa, yet we were welcomed by everyone. The evening climaxed with a spectacular firework display, great booming stars of colour collided with the black inky sky and we all stood in awe, necks craning upwards.
Photo © Graham Ward 2013