Chiuduno, Home Sweet Home
Chiuduno is where I grew up and where my family still lives. This enchanted little town is located in the Province of Bergamo in the Italian region of Lombardy. It is about 60 km northeast of Milano and about 15 km southeast of Bergamo.
It is a really small town. Its population reaches just about 5,000 inhabitants. It is a prosperous agricultural land full of vineyards that produce high quality wines. Just to give a little history note, the name Chiuduno is thought to be of Gaulish origins. It was originally “Claudun” and then became “Claudunum” later on during the roman domination. The term “dun” in the Gaulish language means “hill”. Since the Guals populated this region as early as 600 BC, it is believed that Chuiduno is a very ancient town.
Many rustic and antique structures are still all around the town. Some of them originate from the 16th century. The San Michele Castle is one of the most ancient construction of the town and it is dated in the early 1300.
Through narrow cobblestone streets bringing you to the Castle you can see antique stone houses spattered with green and colorful flowers in every corner. The sun reflects on the stones creating a beautiful rustic glow.
Growing up in a little town has its own charm, people know each other and the community is so well organized within itself that nothing is missing, from the watch repair man going door to door to fix your watches, to the produce truck driving by the streets for fresh produce right out of your window.
And this is up to this day! There is a little story that I will remember for the rest of my life and I recall with great pleasure. When I was visiting in 2008 after 8 years of being in the US, my father had physical inability and the County clerk came to our house to get my father’s signature for his ID document. But this is just one example… from the neighbors sharing fruits and vegetable to the baker delivering the daily bread right at your door!
Not to mention the town’s Friday market filled with amazing smells from the cheese stand, fruits and vegetables, the roasting chickens spinning on their skewers and the candy stand where on my way to school I would get my favorite milk candy.
Not too far from the center of the town you can engage in a relaxing trip in the green fields, forget about the day to day activities and immerse yourself in plain nature. After a little hike in the woods you will find a new world: a little river crossing the woods creates little waterfalls and ponds where the water is so limpid and refreshing that you can’t resist a bare foot splash. The place is so magic that it makes you think of the dwellings of fairies and wood elves.
If green is not enough, then there are fields and fields of vines and gardens surrounding the city from recreational parks to the windowsill of every single house where a plant of flower or basil is never missing.
Then up we go to Chiuduno’s hill called “Montepelato” literally translated: “Bald hill”. Every weekend I would take a hike from my house, right at the feet of the hill, to our mountain retreat, sometimes taking shortcuts, sometimes taking the “long way”. We would dedicate the day to the care of chickens, goats, sheep and even a pony and a horse not to mention the numerous “hill cats” (I won’t call them stray) that would come running to get the scraps of food from our meals. Unforgettable are the summer times full of produce and cherries eaten right out of the tree, and peaches and apricots and plums and more and more, so much fresh fruit and vegetables, not to mention the still warm eggs picked from the chicken coop; all these would fill our pantry and create healthy meals and delicious homemade pies.
And finally, back home an orange colored house right in between a pink and a white.
There my father would sit in the shoe shop repairing shoes and matching customer’s desires. And in the back room you would find my mother operating the pedal sewing machine to create beautiful garments. I can still hear the sound of the hammer on the shoe soles and the smell of leather.
Home, Sweet Home!