To travel through Italy is to traverse through time concretised in the walls, arches and domed ceilings of ancient buildings. Even the most random little hamlet in some neglected corner of the countryside, with potholed roads, three-wheeler Piaggio vans, and a temperamental electricity supply, will present you with stunning architecture. There is likely to be a church, or town hall, built in the thirteenth century over Roman ruins, with gorgeous frescos and the ever present Madonna and Child adorning the altar. Or, in the middle of nowhere, you’ll stumble upon a series of houses, nestled atop a hill and overlooking a sweep of ancient vines, plump and pregnant with the juice of the gods. Casually, over a sugar encrusted cream tart and bitter espresso, the ‘nona’ will reveal that her family has in fact lived in the stone clusters since Etruscan times (around 500 B.C).
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