This old picture of women returning from the fields may not be of the greatest quality. But it really captures what small town southern life was once like in Italy, where the donkey reigned supreme. Even long after the first few cars started appearing, many continued to rely on the humble asino as their main mode of transport.
We have a saying in Italian. Non c’è niente di nuovo sotto il sole. (There is nothing new under the sun.) And yes, I know it’s from the Bible. But I also know that King Solomon, who wrote that, didn’t live in a foreign land. Otherwise, I wonder if he might not have changed it to: “There is something new under the sun. Every day, and in countless ways!”
One by one they filed in, sitting around the smoky fire in the dark, dingy room. The entire village, it seemed, wanted a look at the foreigners. While I in turn, through teary, smoke-filled eyes, examined them. Our new town folk, for this was our new home.
My husband’s hometown, Sacco, and our summer home are right in the middle of a national park, is one of Italy’s most interesting places. Interesting because it’s rarely ever visited. Interesting because it’s a striking area of lonely, rugged mountains, extending into the Tyrrhenian Sea, and forming the southern end of the Gulf of Salerno.
Adapting to different cultures is usually difficult. But many times it’s also perplexing and mind boggling. Like the interesting mentality our town folk have. Hint: sometimes antiquated, backward, and impractical. Which often comes as a surprise to us. Because they are in many ways a practical and down-to-earth people.