This article marks the beginning of the collaboration between Italian Ways and Parchi Letterari®
Gabriele D’Annunzio was tied to Anversa degli Abruzzi by a deep bond that Parco D’Annunzio – one of sixteen existing Parchi Letterari® – brings to life and makes tangible.
The town, on the rocky spur overlooking the beautiful Gole del Sagittario – part of a WWF natural reserve –, was the setting for the great Italian writer’s “La fiaccola sotto il moggio” (literally, “The light under a bushel basket”), which he declared “the most perfect of my tragedies”.
The story is set in the first half of the 1800s, and revolves around the illustrious, aristocratic family of the Di Sangros, who we see in their inevitable decadence into the bourgeoisie. The dark and penniless characters of “La fiaccola” – written in a dash between February 4 and March 4, 1905, and just as quickly taken to the stage of Teatro Manzoni in Milan, for a premiere on March 27 – live in the Norman Castle of the ancient town of Anversa degli Abruzzi. Today, only its ruins remain visible, and perhaps it was that sight of degradation that inspired D’Annunzio to write the dramatic ending of his work.
After all, this region has always both charmed and scared the travelers who came to cross it. Perhaps even D’Annunzio, when he first come here by horse in 1881, at the age of eighteen, had felt an obscure sense of wonder, which perhaps led to the first concept of this tragedy set in Abruzzo.
However, D’Annunzio’s gothic literary visions don’t do justice to the harmonious nature of the local landscape, made first and foremost of pure light and luscious nature. Anversa, for example, is also home to the crystalline and therapeutic waters of the Springs of Cavuto.
And on the right side of the Gole del Sagittario, on Cresta di Sant’Angelo 820 meters above sea level, sits Castrovalva, an ancient village that very much inspired Maurits Cornelis Escher. The Dutch artist created a lithograph of this special place in 1929, which is currently on exhibit at Washington’s Museum of Art as one of his most important and significant landscape views.
A journey in this wonderful land can rejuvenate the body and soul, for its amazing natural beauty, caught in the most gorgeous light. A light that should never be hidden under a bushel basket.