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Wednesday 24 March

Boy what a mix of a day (and those last few words were an omen, too). But I am indeed in Treia tonite, sort of.

It all started innocently enough: I woke up nice and early, watched the news, had a fairly good breakfast, checked out, looked at the inside of the Duomo (which had been closed yesterday), and left Macerata for Helvia Recina, now the modern townlet of Villa Potenza, about 3.5 km away, very sharply downhill.

[and if you need it, here's help in using the map,
including my own symbols & added information.]

Traffic on that road — and at that time — was horrific, but at least it was so bad that it was slow and thus not dangerous: everybody clearly coming in to work; the lane out of town was much quieter.

Villa Potenza nothing much; so, unfortunately, the remains of Helvia Recina. All there seems to be is bits of a theater; and not a big one, nor a very good one (opus mixtum), nor early as far as I can tell, nor in good shape. Nor open, of course, but that I knew beforehand. Still, the obligatory circumambulation; met a woman walking her dog — small whitish poodle-mix — who directed me a bit better, and off to walk round the fenced-in mess; accidentally found myself shortly in a place from which all I had to do was walk in, but refrained: just didn't seem worth it. A sheet‑metal-roofed shed with lapidary fragments, among which one nice inscription if shallow-carved (click-click, of course: as often with this wonderful camera, much more readable on the camera's LCD than on the hoof, meno male).

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Helvia Recina: holding pen for inscriptions and lapidary remains.

Back around the soccer field in front of the ruins and onto the dirt gravel and grass path optimistically named (big street plaque, marble) "Via del Teatro Romano" — to find that Chicco, my old lady's dog, had decided to run off, and in fact three times tried to climb onto the busy road. Motorists each time slowed to a crawl, but my friend didn't like it a bit of course, although she couldn't walk faster nor shout "Chicco" any louder; I didn't run after him, fearing to make him flee straight into traffic — but I can holler "Chicco" as loud as anyone: and bless him he came to me, even, not her; for which he was rewarded by her by being put on his leash, and by me with a stiff talking-to, in English — told my friend what is now getting to be a running joke with me, that dogs don't really speak Italian, they just pretend since they love you people so much, but all they understand is English —

Dog safe, we talked about how poorly the excavations are handled — her of course, not me: married in 1949, she swore that most of the stuff in the shed has been in there since around that time; and her husband died 6 years ago, but the cabin next to the excavations has been "a-building" since four years before that, which I can well believe: for all practical purposes, Helvia Recina is not so much in preparation (despite disclaimers), but abandoned. My friend said frankly it's just as well, there are far better Roman remains to spend money on; surprisingly, I agreed — and at the corner, she and Chicco one way, me the other, westward along the highway.

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Garlic for sale. Hay for rabbits.

An unpleasant walk thru some of the most beautiful countryside in central Italy. The 2‑lane highway has no shoulders, and is very busy, with a lot of semis, tanker trucks, etc.: I had to be very careful, and it wasn't fun. Also the weather wavered in and out of overcast, even drizzle at one point, and on the cold side of cool thruout. I never found the side road to Treia,1 which would have got me out of the traffic: this turned out to be a blessing I guess, since on leaving the hotel this morning I mentioned I'd need a hotel in Treia tonite and would they lend me their phone book. Oh but we have an agriturismo there: not actually in Treia but in Passo di Treia (about 4 km S of Treia). Me: wow, so much the better; by staying in Passo I'll even out my walking for Thursday, and Thursday is in fact critical (since I have to meet a train at the station of Sforzacosta at 1:48 P.M.). Reservation made; and my idea, I'd see Treia, then walk S to Passo to my hotel, which they swore was at "qualche centinaio di metri" from Passo.

Well . . . having missed the straight road to Treia I found myself almost in Passo di Treia (in fact, 1.6 km from the turnoff to Treia)º


Note in the Diary:

1 nor the abbey of S. Maria in Selva, supposedly somewhere on the right side of the road before the turnoff.


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Page updated: 1 Feb 10