MMy very first time at the Castle of Pissignano, I played the piano. I did it for a group of friends who went there for an art exhibition. The hamlet was still a neglected one, thick with wild vegetation out of control; the walls and roofs of the houses were all run down.
Even the stones can tell a story, if you know how to listen!
But my notes weren’t reserved to the artists, the people and the friends who had gathered there. I know that, more than anyone else, the stones were listening to my music; the houses assaulted by time, the church by the run-down roof, the Medieval cobblestones, they all had no memory of their secret beauty, yet they could foreshadow their regenerated future from that act of new life.
That place had touched me. Shortly after, I would return there with a bunch of friends, there at the Castle of Pissignano.
The road that from the Fonti del Clitunno and from the village of Pissignano climbs up to its castle is bristling and tiresome. It is an unsurfaced road flanked by olive groves where the strong scent of spontaneous herbs, helichrysum, fennel, lesser calamint and thymus, accompany the wanderer.
Inside the castle, the vegetation, the ivy and the bushes have covered most of the dwellings, yet I start to climb the rise that faces me. The cobblestones are almost completely covered with grass and earth, but here and there I can glimpse an opus of stones, white stones that reflect those used for the houses, which are almost totally run down and without roof.
I touch the stones of the castle’s high walls and in total silence I can listen to them speaking; the words look like a light breeze in May.
This place is forgotten, it looks long deserted by its inhabitants. I sit down in a clearing that was possibly a garden, under the shadow of a big fig tree. The silence is absolute, only interrupted by the humming of insects or the chirping of cicadas. I look at the run-down house in front of me and at its beautiful stones, cut many centuries ago by generous hands, and this time it seems to me that I am listening to the voice of those stones. Even the stones can tell a story, if you know how to listen!
My heart had been bumping because of the hard rise I had faced, yet it suddenly starts to fill with joy. An uncontrollable joy, like the one that a child experiences for his first Christmas, or the young for his first love.
I look around, run up and down those alleys, reach the church and the ruins, that look like those of a great palace, and the soaring, bone-white tower that stands out against this morning’s blue sky.
I touch the stones of the castle’s high walls and in the absolute silence of the place I can listen to their words, that look like the light breeze on this day in May.I run through those alleys enraptured by all that surrounds me and it seems impossible that all this happened to me.
I reach the castle’s lowest slope and see the most outstanding landscape on the Umbrian Valley that I could ever see. I am astonished at the immensity of the sky and of the valley below. I close my eyes. The Castle of Pissignano is where life sees.
Castle of Pissignano – Antonio Meneghetti, May 1976
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