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A gentle stay in Lazio’s backlands


The village of Proceno sits high on a hill removed from the worn and trotted tourist trails of Italy. The winds carry centuries of conversations between the narrow streets as whispers of times past. It is early spring and the morning fog lifts reveling vistas of far away towns perched on the sides of cliffs bathed in streaks of sunlight dancing across thousand year old tile roofs. I left my watch on the bed side stand as time does not have to be measured in blocks or segments of a hectic working day.

Proceno is a small village of 500 people in the Lazio region of Italy 125 km North of Rome. This village is essentially removed from the wired hectic world I have grown accustomed to. Proceno has no significant landmarks or major works of art to attract tourists yet it is special as its beauty lies in its serenity, a place were one can unplug and enjoy the sound of silence. This is a wonderful base to explore towns like Orvieto, or Bolsena a wonderful picturesque lake town less than 30 minutes by car.

Laazio villageProceno is a favorite with hikers and bikers, who appreciate its raw beauty and authenticness. This whole area is drenched in a rich Etruscan history. We toured Savona’s tombs dating back over 2300 years ago. Pitigliano, Sorono, Savonoa, and other Etruscan villages and towns lie in rows like shiny medals proudly displayed on the chest of ancient Etruscan warriors. The owner of this quaint apartment where we are staying stated “Don’t worry about the keys as we are all family here”. Her statement codifies why I want to be here. A few decades ago I grew up in a similar town where you didn’t lock your doors, as neighbors were like family looking out for one another. Traveling the back roads of Italy touring the small towns and villages with their Piazza’s, bakeries, small shops, and a sense of community echo a time when I was so young. A time when the summer sun was so strong and bright my senses were alive with the smell of fresh rain, and youth was a tight white canvas waiting for your imagination to splash it with patterns of vibrant colors. I believe technology is slowly diluting the mystery and uniqueness of travel. Last week I was in Orvieto and I observed people walking around with their iPads held high like wooden soldiers doing FaceTime. To me instant publishing is like being connected by some electronic umbilical cord, thus losing the experience of the moment. On the flip side are devices like a GPS, I can’t imagine traveling Europe without one. As a baby boomer, I have lived in an era where tremendous changes have taken place both in society and especially technology. At this moment in time I want to indulge myself, embrace my inner being in this collage of landscapes, and preserve precious memories. When I was young I always made sure to watch On the Road with

Charles Kuralt on CBS. He always closed his show with “I wonder what is around the next bend”. Tomorrow when I leave Proceno I will ask the same question.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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