It was a beautiful spring morning, so we decided to take a walk down the hill to check on the progress of the canale antico, antique channel. They started the work a couple of weeks ago, so the project is far enough along to see how it’s shaping up. The channel will connect to the piccolo lago, small lake (really it’s a pond) to provide for over-flow in case of an emergency.
We were told that some years ago, the ground around a lake in Italy collapsed during a torrential down-pour, flooding a local hotel in the adjacent valley causing many casualties. So, as Italian law-makers are apt to do, they enacted a sweeping mandate that applies to ALL bodies of water, no matter how small—which of course includes our little country pond.
The beautiful part of this story is that they decided to solve the problem in harmony with the surroundings. Because this area is part of Italy’s historic countryside (and what isn’t?), they insisted on constructing the channel using an ancient technique. They “harvested” stones directly from the ground and timber from the local area.
We love the old style and workmanship and watch with great interest as is settles comfortably into the natural surroundings, unified with the beautiful environment. They are building with such sensitivity—in harmony with nature.
As we watch them work, we appreciate one of those rare qualities of true Italians. They love to go against the grain of the contemporary impulses toward productivity and cost-effectiveness. They don’t mind going forward slowly and doing it right the first time, because, after all, it will be there for centuries and generations to come. People from around the world, just like you and me reap the benefit of their long view. For the foreseeable future and beyond, we will be able to marvel at the natural beauty, the timeless beauty—that is Italy.
Note: You might also enjoy another story we wrote about Stefano called “Just Listen.”