4 July 2024

Italia Bella

Eros in Italy  (No, it's not quite what you think....)

It is hard to know where to begin - and hard to imagine the end..... 

Every beginning is an end, and every ending is where something new begins, perhaps?  Fifty years or so ago my life had a new beginning in Rome, and then, some years later, with Amanda, we started a new life in Trevignano Romano, on the shores of Lake Bracciano.

Nothing matters as much as love.  Eros.....  Love, love as concentrated affection between people.  And Amanda and I bathed for years in the music of Eros Ramazzotti - not a household name in the UK, but a borgataro from Cinecitta Est who has sold more than 60 million records around Italy and the world.  

I'm a peace loving man 
But I'll take the blows 

This is not about him.  This is about love in many ways.

I love Italy.  Not the Italy of Mussolini.  Not the Italy of Andreotti.  Not the Italy of Berlusconi and not the Italy of Georgia Meloni.

I also love the archipelago around Britain (including Ireland) which is not to say I love the United Kingdom, nor the Flag of St George, nor the successively appalling governments of recent times.


I love these lands and their peoples, their contours, their freshets, their customs, their flora and fauna, their drinks and their foods......


Maybe I have 
No grounds to feel jealous 
But I'm just a guy 
Who's gotta say it like it is

I am in Tolfa, whose ruined castle on the hill is a symbol of just how difficult life was when feudalism was the rule and rich and poor had almost nothing in common (except life, perhaps.....)

Yes, the ruins look down on the town:

And on the country:

But from these insecure heights, the sound of a band wafts up on the evening breeze.  Strains of Verdi, tunes from Rossini, ooms and pahpahs gild the soft evening air:

I must be sure of your love 
On that I exist 

It is the Sagra del Prosciutto, and for four Euros I have the most delicious ham sandwich with a glass of robust local red wine that could be desired (by a meat eater, admittedly!)  Eros may have been passionate - but he had to eat......

A smile can be many things - often associated with fear - but here a gentle lifting of the lips signifies an enjoyment of the things that matter.....

I'm a peace loving man 
But I'll take the blows

Anyway, I have to move on......

Difenderò l'amore mio 
Come solo so battermi io 
Posso farlo però 
Solamente se c'è 
Più di un motivo 
Per esser sicuro di te

It is only music.  It is only words.  I pass through Bracciano where plaques on the walls remind us that Anthony Burgess (Scrittore e Musicista) lived here, and Comm. Peter Nichols OBE (Il Grande Giornalista Scrittore Inglese) lived there.....  [I remember the day the latter died:  E morto quel'inglese, someone cried....]

I make a detour to Canale Monterano, a discarded cartridge of my life, where Gian Lorenzo Bernini left two stone lions:

And Amanda and I ventured gingerly within the walls of the Chiesa e Convento di San Bonaventura, tenderly imagining life as it might have been before malaria and the French Jacobins drove people away.....

Is there someone 
To whose heart you would run 
Just tell me now 
Darling, I will be gone

And so, back to Trevignano Romano, where Amanda and I created a nest in which to raise our two fledgelings..... Back to witness solemnities of marriage. Not, as here, in the Parochial Church of Santa Maria Assunta, crowded by alarming baroque decorations:

But in the tranquil garden of Tenuta Il Possesso, where the smiling Lady Mayoress proclaims my daughter Sarah shall be wedded to Marcel under the flickering shade of an ancient olive tree:

Tutto ciò che sento mio 
Il mondo che ho costruito 
Intorno a te 
Per questo io pretendo 
La tua lealtà

There are some cool dudes in this town.  It has grown since we first came here, and all things change, but there's a good vibe.  The family gather to take Amanda for a final swim in the lake, our tears salting the otherwise calm and sweet waters.  We drink spritzes and smile, comfortable in our memories, sad in our hearts, but happy in the continuity that we share.....

Late in the evening, a sprinkling of fairies delight the village with their innocence - Italia Bella!

And then my last evening is spent alone, just me and my memories under the great pines of the piazza:

In the morning  it is the sky that is crying:

I don't back down 
When I've got my feet on the ground 
I'm a peace loving man 
Posso farlo però 
But I'll take the blows 
Solamente se c'è 
As long as you want me 
Più di un motivo 
That's all I need to know 
Per esser sicuro di te 
That's all I need to know 
Per esser sicuro di te

Eros Ramazzotti/ Adelio Cogliati / Vladimiro Tosetto

Have a wonderful life, Sarah.  It is what your mother would have wished....


  1. Beautiful bride, beautiful thoughts -- thank you, Richard

  2. Auguri Sarah, Elisja c.s. (from Rome/Trevignano/Amsterdam)

  3. Congratulations Richard!
    & special Wedding Congratulations to beautiful bride Sarah & her handsome groom Marcel 🥰
    How wonderful that their ceremony was held in a place close to Amanda’s heart ❤️
    With love,

  4. Lovely words ;sad and yet happy. Best wishes to all. Brian

  5. All my nest wishes to Sarah and Marcel. So thrilled you were ALL there as a family for such a celebration and a swim. Thank you Richard for taking me back to nostalgia too. JZ