‘I have more memories than if I were a thousand years old’
Kindness comes in many forms, often unexpected. Anita was born here at Malpertus, she knows it’s many secrets, heartbreaks and joys. A sparkling eye and an easy laugh, thick brown stockings under worn out shoes she wanders the borgata. Always busy and most often with a machete hanging from her apron, she is in her mid eighties.
She tells us stories of the partisans during the war killing a German soldier and the resulting hardships for the borgata. The Germans returned burning the stores gathered for winter as retribution. The furthest she has been is the local town of Bobbio Pellice two kilometers away, oh and once to Pinerolo her son tells us so that takes the total to thirty kilometers.
She has offered to show me her collection of photographs and mementos, treasures she has kept for a lifetime .
From day one we have been adopted by our neighbors Tizziana and Silvio. Big hearts and weathered hands they have taken us under their wing. Earthy, practical, and generous they work the borgata keeping goats, sheep, chickens, and rabbits. Silvio is a bit of a joker and told Sam he walks the sheep to pasture down near the town and it takes him three hours. His wife let us in on the fact that he puts them in the car a few at a time and drives them down.
With five families here including ours I am often overwhelmed by the sense of living history. They have three children Stefano, Marino and Jenny who take the goats out to pasture and back in at lunch time. I know where they are by the tinkling of the heavy bells worn by the goats. Carina and Luca are not to be seen until lunch time when all the children automatically return for lunch. It’s like time stood still here, we are often to be found out chatting as a group soon forms and stories are shared.
Our children have transformed and run back and forth to tell me of the baby rabbits, the two goats just born, the kitten just spotted, a new puppy being trained to watch the goats, our house rings with the sound of laughter, the boys tell Sam all about the stables on the ground floor and how best to use them. Our house is the biggest in the borgata, originally owned by the ‘Bonjour’ family with multiple levels and huge areas for animals, wine and provisions.
Our gates open directly onto the old main road of the borgata which is busy with tractors, the local postman in a tiny car, goats going to pasture and soon we are told the cows will be bought out…from where I am yet to discover but I know at least five are in here somewhere. It’s all mind boggling, I spend every day amazed and more and more in love with this wild part of Italy.
The gang from left to right – Stefano, Ester, Marino, Paulo, Luca, Jenny and Carina x