What’s Nearby:

Towards the upper right corner of this map of Lazio, you will find the town of Posta. It is on the Via Salaria, a major road that leads to Rome, but not a highway.

The closest village to Posta is Borbona. You can cycle to Borbona in 20-30 minutes from Posta. Borbona is another small town where they have a butcher and a pastry shop. Two luxuries you might start to miss should you not see them often enough.

It’s a very quiet place, at least in autumn, and, just like in Posta, the shops are open in the morning until 1:00PM and then they reopen in the evening at 4:00PM and close around 8:00.

There’s a small lake on the way to Borbona. The water is quite clear and people do fish there. There is also a slaughterhouse on the way, and that is where both the butchers get their meat.

In the town of Posta there are 3 shops, two restaurants, a post office, a bank, a pharmacy and a hairdresser. 

On the hairdresser’s door it is written, “If I’m not here, call me!” and it has her mobile number on display.¬†Every shop seems to keep different hours, but if you get there before 12, you should be fine.

Last but not least I had the great honor of meeting a very talented poet who has an agriturismo here, aptly named “dal Poeta“. The poet, Paolo Santini, performs what is known as “Canto a Braccio”, an old pastoral tradition that involves improvisation and keeping to a strict rhyming scheme.

They have competitions of Canto a Braccio around Italy and in one of the videos I saw from last year in Borbona, one of the poets went up against an Italian rapper and that really got the crowd excited.

Walking Around Lazio

The town of Borbona as seen from the old town, which is high above the new one.

Today was a very enjoyable day. Giulio came up from Rome to help out for a few days and we now have a stockpile of firewood, a second bicycle and numerous other things got done (not to mention a lot of planning and new ideas).

This afternoon we went for a walk in some of the neighboring towns. We visited the butcher in Borbona, went up to the old town of Borbona and took the long way home via Vallemare, which is a beautiful town as well.

There are many paths for walking between these villages where no cars can go. The paths take you across the tops of hills and along the side of the mountain. It takes fifteen minutes to drive from Vallemare to Borbona on a winding road while the footpath takes a little over an hour (and it’s straight).

Driving between these towns you see a lot of sheep and farmland, but mostly forest. After visiting Borbona we did some cleaning and then started a fire and grilled zucchini, aubergines and peppers over the hot coals. With our abundance of apples we made apple sauce that Giulio tried on his pork chop.

Now that we have got a bit caught up on yard work, maybe tomorrow we can go and harvest chestnuts.

Mele Finite per Terra

Finally a sunny day and a chance to collect the remaining apples from the garden.

When I arrived, most of the apples and pears had already fallen to the ground, so today I went out to gather what was left on the trees. A neighbor appeared on her balcony to beat a carpet and shouted some advice. “They’re still good. Even the ones on the ground, just cut off the bad part.”

With an abundance of apples and pears one can make numerous dishes and even schnapps. Enzo told me that these apples are priceless because they have no chemicals or anything in/on them. These apples are all natural.

Once I have collected all the apples then I can go visit Enzo and start gathering some chestnuts.

Vendesi: Posta

House for sale, Posta.

There are many of these “For Sale” signs around the town of Posta. Houses for sale, businesses for sale and a butcher who’s just closed shop.

When I was living in Hackney, I participated in many activities that attempted to bring country style living back into the city. There is Growing Communities, that produce most of their vegetables in Hackney and actively promote urban gardening. There’s Unpackaged that sells everything in the shop without any packaging (you bring your own containers). There is also a new wine shop that refills your bottles, thereby reducing the unnecessary use of new glass.

The most impressive endeavor I saw was FARM:shop, a project that aims to use an abandoned storefront as a space for cultivating everything from plants to chickens.

All of these businesses and non-profits are very successful. How is it that in places like Posta (where you can actually get your eggs from a neighbor without any packaging) people are going out of business?

Butcher "Out of Business", Posta.

I think it is because of the major brand names and distributors that have expanded their networks from cities, where they are becoming less popular, to the countryside, where such social movements make little sense. Why produce your own meat when you can have it transported in for less money? In fact by putting agricultural production into the hands of corporate farms, people in the countryside will eventually only be able to buy organic produce from cities like London! Imagine how much that would cost?

First days in Posta

Enzo never locks his car, he leaves it parked in front of his house with the keys in the ignition. When it comes to tranquility, “We have more than we know what to do with”, says he.

Ezio (not to be confused with Enzo), was curious as to how I was keeping warm. I told him I went into the forest to gather some wood. “So that’s where you were going with that saw.”

Not much escapes the locals in Posta, a town of about 5 or 600 inhabitants. Ezio and Enzo both told that next time I should ask them before going to get wood, they know an even better spot where I should go to get wood. When asked if it’s okay to get wood in the forest they both chimed “everybody does it.”

After my shopping, which everybody in the shop automatically helped me with, Ezio (or was it Enzo?) invited me to go and harvest all the chestnuts on his land. Then he told me about another place (two kilometers up the mountain) to find even more. “Bring a backpack” he said, assuring me that I would find more than I could carry.

That comes after I finish picking the apples in the yard here. I also need to get more pellets for the stove, a new bit of technology that I was hitherto unfamiliar with. Getting the stove running was a whole other story.

First I had to call the “Etruscan” who told me to call the service centre who then put me in contact with Claudio. Claudio came to the house later and helped me start the stove, which prevented me from freezing tonight (the temperature dropped and it rained all day so there was no firewood).