One of the great joys of traveling through Italy is discovering firsthand that it is, indeed, a dream destination.
~ Debra Levinson
I decided to change the title of these posts to “Beauty in the Time of Corona” as that fits a bit better than “Life.” If I were to show you life here in this time, there wouldn’t be much to show. Me on a laptop. Dog on my lap. Mike on his La-Z-Boy. TV set to anything other than the news.
Today, let me introduce you to Carunchio, the town where I got my citizenship.
Carunchio (ka-ROON-key-o) is a small town in the Chieti province of Abruzzo. Located on a hilltop, the town looks over the Trigno River valley, Agriculture and sheep raising/breeding fueled the town’s economy. As a matter of fact, the town’s name (originally Carunca), comes from the word carruca, which translates to “plow.”
Due to its hilltop location, Carunchio affords views of mountains, valleys, farms, and the Adriatic Sea (the dark blue stripes mid-photo above). The town’s location also affords views of the Majella Mountains (part of the Apennines in Abruzzo) and Gargano Promontory (the little spur of the Italian boot) in Puglia.
Like all of the hill towns in Italy, Carunchio is full of narrow roads, walkways, and stairs between streets.
On of my favorite stories of our arrival in Carunchio is that the GPS did not work too well. It took us to the top of one street, and as we drove down, we noticed that the street ended and the staircase began. There was nowhere to turn around, of course, so we had to back up all the way the narrow street. The next day, I was cleaning the paint scratch off of the car with salt and olive oil. (Note: The staircase on the left above ends at the place where our GPS took us.)
Carunchio, like most of the towns in Italy, is home to a lot of animals. Meet a few we encountered on our daily walks through town. Most were content to stare, although one took his chicken guard job seriously. The grey and white dog in the middle lived next door to us, and he was usually relaxing in the middle of the street.
Of course, dogs alone didn’t rule the roost (pun intended). We also met a few cats, a rooster, and a shy duck.
On the feast of Corpus Domini (Corpus Christi) of each year, Carunchio holds the Festa Infiorata. Infiorata means “decorated with flowers,” and participants use flower petals, leaves, wood, grasses, etc. to make colorful “paintings” that carpet the streets of the town. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend since I did my residency in January, but I do hope to go back one day to attend.
Carunchio has about 625 residents, and there are not a lot of businesses there. We found two bars and a tiny market that had essentials. The closest restaurant that we saw was about eight kilometers outside of town. Vasto, a city on the Adriatic Coast, is about 45 kilometers away and has bars, restaurants, markets, marina, and, of course, the beach.