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My Scholarship entry - Seeing the world through other eyes

WORLDWIDE | Thursday, 5 April 2012 | Views [231] | Scholarship Entry

When it comes to Europe, we all think with stereotypes. Italy, of course, is the country of pizza and Coliseum. But let’s move out of polluted Rome, crowded with tourists, and go somewhere else.
Ciociaria. A small region in Central Italy. Land, where traditions live peacefully with progress. This is true Italy you’ll have to discover. Small villages, hidden with clouds, are hard to reach. They are situated thousand meters above the sea on the mountains’ tops. Every village has a fortress in its center. That’s reminiscence of history when brave Italians were protecting their land during Middle Ages. Even now, fortresses unite Italians in these small communities. Roads to these highland villages are very narrow and dangerous, especially during winter with snow covering the hills. Going through all of that just to get home is quite ordinary for temperamental Italians. But when you climb to the top for the first time, you really see the country with changed eyes. There is beautiful view on the top of the hill where you see the entire land. High mountains and tiny valleys open up before you. But if you climb a little higher, you’ll get to the fortress. That’s where life is running. Fortress, great and sinister like centuries ago, is now full of people. To them it is a home now. People sit on benches, chat and laugh, without paying any attention to tourists. This is a place where Italians still wear national clothing. Women in long skirts and shawls and men with hats remind of 19-century paintings. The whole village seems to be from another century. Closely parked cars are the only reminders that we are in 2012.
These villages show Italy totally different. Suddenly, you see it with other eyes - not as full of metropolises, but as a land of great heights, open people and breathtaking sights. Going into hinterlands will show the real Italy, where civilization didn’t kill traditions and beliefs. Seeing it makes you understand Italy. And that’s worth the risk.

Tags: Travel Writing Scholarship 2012

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