I spent a wonderful day in Saluzzo, near Torino, in September this year with my Italian relatives. We wandered through the ancient alleys and bought freshly picked field mushrooms, ripe, warm figs, and purple grapes from an old woman so bent over that you could barely see her face. She told us she had been robbed that morning, her car stolen as she unloaded her goods at the entrance to the old city. It was hard to imagine how she was able to drive, so hunched over was she. We left her behind and made our way up towards the cathedral and then onto the monastery that is now an exclusive albergo. Here are some of my photos from the day I spent walking around Saluzzo.
At the entrance to the old town we met an old woman selling vegetables and fruits from the local gardens. She told us of her woes. Despite being robbed earlier in the day, she praised her produce and the mushrooms she had picked herself that morning. We couldn't resist the pungent odor of these prize specimens, nor the labor she had gone to. A tub of mushrooms, a bag of warm figs and bunches of grapes bursting with juice came with us as we made our way up the hillside. We walked on stones worn smooth from years of traffic - human, horse drawn and now small vehicles. As we climbed my cousin told me about the town's history, the scars it wore and its attraction to artists and artisans.
Gelato in the town square before driving home in the dusk to Vigone to prepare for the Corn Harvest Festival. That afternoon the air was heavy with corn dust, the sky a rich mauve daubed with pink clouds. Later we cooked the mushrooms we'd bought from the old woman, tossing them in olive oil and garlic. We ate them with rocket salad and thin spaghetti topped with Regiano and drank dry, effervescent Prosecco from Venezia. We talked about history and I learned more stories to return home with.