A Hidden City

I wrote this in Spoleto, Italy. Enjoy!

A Hidden City

There is this old city that is hidden away in a valley where houses are hidden in forests, and all you can see is green hills that fade into the distance. The small gardens that each family has and the small doorways that lead to Italian households where the owners of the groves live in houses on the hills. The small alleyways and the narrow streets with small cars and Vespas flying by as you press yourself to the walls in hopes of not being run over.

There is a hidden forest, which is isolated from the chaos of the city, a sacred sanctuary for religious and relaxing purposes. Located high on top of a rock is a castle that overlooks the valley of this city and one could see the place of worship. The cemeteries greet you with love in the air as you see generations of family members buried together and the ever-present flowers scattered on the graves from loved ones.

In the old city, it does not feel like a meet-and-greet or a gathering where you have a possibility of knowing someone; instead, the people treat each other like family. The storekeepers greet you with friendliness that warms you to the heart as they tell you their stories. Your heart goes out to the storekeepers who lost their loved ones or to the storekeepers who attempt to speak English to you.

The quietness can be heard but so can the hustle and bustle of cars zooming by or kids screaming in Italian. You can feel the sunrays beaming down as you walk up and down the hills of this ancient city. The castle provides a pleasant breeze along with a beautiful view and the aroma of Italian food hits your nose, while the gelato soothes your body with a cold sensation. The moon rises in the east while the sun sets in the west and no cloud in the sky gives you a perfect view. During the day the sun lights up the city but at night the lights from the houses help show the way home.

The aqueduct, which is still in use, reveals usage throughout the years. Peeling back the layers of this ancient city shows the history of this little town. The scaffolding that is used for restoring the ancient structures disrupts the beautiful view; however, restoring the buildings from the outside in, reveals beautiful designs that were hidden away years ago. In the end, it all comes down to be a beautiful city that relaxes you with its history and art. Spoleto, a beautiful city, half old and half new, is set hidden away in a valley only to be discovered due to its history and beauty.

Down below the old city is a new city that is developing with a modern sense of the world. It makes the old city look out of place and it causes people to ignore the history that it holds. The red clay sticks out from the white stone of the ancient structures. The fountains and parks out shine the old Roman temple and amphitheatre that were discovered in this old city. One might think that there are two cities located in this secluded valley; thinking that one city was built later than the other. But then they learn that the city is cut in half, half old and half new.

The beauty of Italy causes one to stare with amazement at the view and get a serene feeling while watching the sunset near the aqueduct. However, the reality of life settles in when I see the un-repairable frescoes at La Rocca and the Duomo. The castle on a hill, La Rocca, has gone through history as a prison, a summer home, and a religious center. The constant construction causes pieces of history to be lost in all the debris. Graffiti disrupts the beauty of the structures in Spoleto and the ancient structures are blocked off to the public to prevent any more deterioration. Any picture taken by a tourist, damages the historical monuments; however, the preservation of history is only temporary.

One could forget the troubles of ancient structures deteriorating as the beauty of Spoleto entrances them. The modern world is influencing people to forget about these historical monuments and leaving the restoration to people who care. Ancient structures are being repaired with modern materials causing the structures to look manufactured. While the beauty of the modern world is greatly appreciated, the historical world is important for scientists and general population.

Spoleto is a city that I have come to love and cherish; the thought of leaving Spoleto is hard because it has been my home for the past three weeks. I know that everyone would agree with me that they could call Spoleto their home away from home. All the students know the fruit seller as the “Fruit Man”, they all know which gelato place is best and what flavors that they like, and they also know that Roberto makes the impressive hand-made journals. At the end of three weeks, you get a sense that you really know this old quiet city and you feel like you reached that sense of serenity. Leaving this town behind is like saying goodbye to a relative you might see in a month but you know that you will miss them dearly. I will miss Spoleto, the city tucked away in a valley, but one day I will come back to explore the other secrets that are waiting to be discovered.


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