Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fruit Flies: Cavour

Cavour is a  baby Alp that has strayed from the pack, it sticks out of the muddy, field-rich plain like a stone fallen from heaven. No, 'that' Cavour wasn't born here, you know, Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour one of the Fathers of the unification of Italy (150 years ago this year) came into the world in Turin, under French rule at the time, and just took the title out of the family collection; his country house isn't here either, that's over somewhere near Cuneo.
But the village celebrates him handsomely anyway, at the Town Hall, with lots of flags and flowers, and some ant-foul-fowl netting that's suggestive of some pigeon-related drama in the past.
ooo - Nice bust, even if it's all a bit tenuous.
There's nothing vague about the Rocca, though. The pretty village nestles under it, on the plain, like a kitten curled up next to the mother cat.
From the main piazza, full of flowers and pinky-yellow houses, you can walk right up the mountain,  before long you're looking down on the church tower if you've got the stamina.
Or just drive up. Much better.
There used to be a castle at the top, and before that, I don't know, some sort of Celtic settlement. 
There are ruins, the usual religious statue in a pergola. The pergola has an inscription along the lines of 'delle alpi inviolabili delle ridenti pianure, le ossa ed i ricordi di sua sabauda fierezza". Sabauda fierezza is a fancy name for Savoy pride. There's also a restaurant tucked into the cliffside, and on the grassy knoll, benches - and the view.
Every country is a patchwork of ways of life, but you're never more so aware of it, than up here. The wild and the tamed, stone and soil, peak and pasture pushing against each other, like two tides.
It's all about apples, Cavour. There's a festival in November, the Tuttomele, in which they celebrate ... everything apple, and make a fuss of their twin city in Argentina, Las Varillas. Lots of Piemontesi went to Argentina, mostly just before and after WWII. Hardly any came back.
Apples! Apart from the obvious cakes and pasties, they make liqueur from it, and bars of apple chocolate, and, from September to July, little cakes and round chocs with rum and almonds, called Cavours. We bought the absolutely last ones made before the shop closed for the summer holidays.
The other thing to do, on Cavour's rock, is to watch the flying. There's so much to see, from the submarine clouds,
to the butterflies basking on the rocks,
and silver planes sliding across the silhouetted mountains,,
... and daredevil deltas, racing around the peak with a cheery wave, so close that it feels like you could hand them a sandwich, as they splutter past the hilltop, and off into the blue. Cheese and apple, maybe.

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