In the shadow of such rich natural beauty, I can’t help but be reminded of the following lines from Canzone 128 of Petrarch’s songbook, Italia mia, ben che’l parlar sia indarno a le piaghe mortali (My Italy, although speech does not aid those immortal wounds):
- Ben provide Natura al nostro stato,
quando de l’Alpi schermo
pose fra noi et la tedesca rabbia;
ma ‘l desir cieco, e ‘ncontr’al suo ben fermo,
s’è poi tanto ingegnato,
ch’al corpo sano à procurato scabbia.
Nature provided well for our safety when she put the shield of the Alps between us and the Teutonic rage; but our blind desire, strong against our own good, has contrived to make this healthy body sick.
(Translation by Robert Durling.)
We’ve been having a great time here at the villa and the band has begun to arrive (we’ll be performing on Friday and Saturday nights).
But my old and very good friend Renato Dal Piva, the villa’s manager, and I have also had some heavy heart-to-heart chats about what it’s like to live and work in Italy these days.
Petrarch’s verses were composed in the mid-fourteenth century. They scan as though they, too, were written yesterday…