I’ve gotten into the habit in recent months when in a new place, of waking early, and heading out for a long walk to explore and take photos in the early morning light, and this trip was no exception. Although we have visited Gabiano several times previously, I’d never really walked around the area, especially towards the centre, the heart of Gabiano.
Whilst the previous day had been very hot and sunny, the dawn bought a severe thunder storm, but by the time I had risen and was ready to leave, the weather had calmed, the clouds were clearing and the temperature was a little cooler.
via San Pietro
From our house, it’s necessary to follow a path down to the road (well, not really a road, more of a narrow lane barely the width of a Fiat 500!) and one of the first views that you would enjoy features a wonderful farmhouse style building, overlooked in the distance by the imposing Castello di Gabiano.
I adore this building, it incorporates such different aspects – the further part is clearly residential, but the nearer part appears to be a barn type structure, featuring a patchwork of concrete, bricks and breeze blocks – I would love to find out more about it.
Following the lane past the farmhouse, you turn left to head toward the main road of via San Pietro. As you turn, you encounter another intriguing house, one with a contrasting facade that always captures my attention. I really like the small area of exposed brickwork, although I doubt it’s presence is intentional.
Turn right on to via San Pietro, from where a little further on, there are some breathtaking views across the valley and the hills beyond.
A short distance further, you find a junction, where turning right takes you up a steep hill towards the Town Centre (I still think of it as a village!), whereas staying on via San Pietro would take you out of town towards the surrounding, larger towns of the region.
I decided to head up the hill, but not before stopping to enjoy the views, and nod a friendly ‘buongiorno’ to a passing jogger.
via Vittorio Veneto
As you head up the hill, after a short distance it’s quickly noticeable that this part is far more built up; both sides of the street are populated with terraced properties of varying sizes, colours and states of repair. Very different to a row of terraced houses back where I come from, where each one looks the same!
One aspect of Italian homes that I absolutely adore is the balconies – there are such diverse styles, but they are a central feature of almost every home and building. I found myself taking numerous balcony pictures throughout our visit – just count the number of balconies in the scene above, 9, 10?
Also in this scene, I was particularly struck by the dilapidated property on the left hand side – despite it’s poor condition, I thought it looked amazing – with its faded colours, flaking plaster, and once ornate balconies, very much like our own property before we embarked on this project, I really enjoyed photographing it.
As you reach the summit of the hill, via Vittorio Veneto veers to the left, but on the corner are two entrances to the town’s crown jewel, the wonderful Castello di Gabiano. On the right is what appears to be a private or pedestrian access, then on the left, via San Defendente, a short public road leading up to the car park and grounds of the Castello. We have visited the Castello a few times on previous visits, where we enjoyed the extensive grounds, which are free to explore, and also experienced and purchased the produce of the Castello’s wonderful wine cellars!
Given the earliness of the hour, the grounds were not open, so after admiring the entrances and surrounding buildings, I walked on towards the town centre, Plazza Europa.
Although less grand than Plazza’s found in other Italian towns, Plazza Europa is definitely worth exploring. It houses the Municipio, the ‘Town Hall’ amongst it’s varied residents, and most pleasantly from a tourist’s point of view, a seated look out area, from where visitors can enjoy more wonderful views across the now familiar valleys.
By now I was getting hungry, so this was as far as I walked. After enjoying the views and taking my photos, I retraced my steps down the hill back towards home, looking forward to a well earned breakfast.
However, there was one more delight that I was yet to encounter, something I had missed previously – the magnificence of the Alps!
Back on via Vittorio Veneto, there is a vantage point between areas of small trees, before the housing begins, where on a clear day, towards the North, the distant Alps can be viewed. This morning, due to the mist and overhanging clouds, I hadn’t noticed the view on my way up. However, now that the light was changing and the clouds clearing, I found a stunning vista, which warranted several minutes of just staring in awe.
I tried to photograph the scene, but to be honest, I couldn’t do it justice. The photo below is heavily edited, to try and bring out the magic of the snow capped mountains, but I fear it falls short of capturing what was the highlight of my walk.
Sometimes, maybe we should be content with what our eyes see, and the memories they imprint on us. For me, whether or not I was able to take a good enough photo, this was an astounding way to end my morning walk.
More information about the Castello di Gabiano can be found here