This summer I am participating in an artist residency outside of Assisi, Italy. The residency is located in a large and lovingly restored farm house run by a longtime family of the area in the region of Umbria. They call it “Art Studio Ginestrelle“. With me are Composers from Japan, Poets from Finland, Painters from Italy and Sculptors from Russia. It is an isolated and beautifully relaxing location – perfect if you seek quiet time to do work or love the location of the area as it is a good hub for visiting other parts of Umbria by car. I’ll write more regarding the Assisi experience soon!
These last few days, I took a hiatus from the residency to visit friends closer to Rome for a bit of English speaking company. Escaping the bustle of Rome to live more in nature, my friends re-located two years ago to a small Italian town called Roccasecca meaning “dry rock”. Born in Roccasecca, Photographer Massimiliano Tommaso Rezza and his partner Michael hosted me in their home and took me to the sea to explore as well as some other small villages. One afternoon, Massi and I drove to neighboring Atina which happened to be having a weekly Monday market. Like Roccasecca, Atina is void of tourists and is a small, non commercial hill top town. Seemingly more populated than Roccasecca’s hill top, yet also partially abandoned with the changing of times and industry in the 21st century, its weekly market was thriving.
Evidence of pre-Roman structures and old walls adapted into newer structures exist in the landscape. The average age of the population of these hill top towns seem much older than retirement, leaving one to wonder if they will eventually become deserted by their families of origin and be re-placed by the French and English who have purchased vacation homes here. Or, perhaps, thanks to the internet and high speed trains, a younger (40 something) generation like Massi and Michael will continue to seek solace from the larger cities and choose to live and work remotely in these ancient hill top towns within an hour and a half outside of Rome or other large Italian city.