Allerona: Within the walls of an Umbrian hilltown
The Umbrian Hills
Stop here along the railing to take in the view of the countryside.
[2 SECOND PAUSE]
You're seeing fields of grapevines, olive trees and maybe, the occasional flock of sheep.
Umbria is called the Green Heart of Italy, in part because there is still a lot of undeveloped farm and woodlands and also because it produces so much food for the rest of Italy.
Looking down, you'll see our town tennis court and beach volleyball court.
Summers in Allerona are quite lively. Almost every weekend in July and August, a group of community volunteers called the ProLoco, run a food stand down by the tennis courts. There, you can get pizza, pasta and grilled meat and eat at picnic tables. There's often live music and dancing. Kids are tearing around on bicycles or running around on foot. I can let my daughter wander off and play with her friends, knowing I don't have to worry about her safety. She can't get into much trouble either, because everyone knows her and someone would come tell me if she did something she wasn't supposed to. Growing up here, she has a level of freedom and security that I can't imagine exists in many other places in the world. Certainly not where I came from in the States.
The octagonal church you see to the left is the Madonna dell'Acqua.
It was built in the 1700s, on the site of an early place of worship, from where a miraculous spring apparently sprung. There's still a fountain there, but the water is non-potable.
[1.5 SECOND PAUSE]
If you're ready to move on, keep walking straight.
We're making our way to the last stop. This stretch of road is unofficially called "sotto fosso", which basically means "under the ditch". Ditch in this case meaning moat. It's a throwback to when this was a moated castle.