If you have been following us, you might know we have recently bought a country home in Italy, where we are now living. This is situated in a town/village called ‘Soriano nel Cimino’, which takes its name from Mount Cimino and it is located half-way to the mountain top.
On the top of the mountain there is a beautiful forest of beech, oak and chestnut trees, where today’s photo was shot.
This area has been inhabited since pre-history and there is evidence of various populations (including the Etrurians) having lived here at least since the bronze age.
The forest on mount Cimino was considered sacred by the folks living in the area: a sacred groove consecrated to the gods and goddess of groves, trees and water – in other words, a living temple of Mother Nature. It is told to have been as thick and lush as the more famous black forest in Germany.
Titus Livius (Livy), the famous Roman historian, tells us that when the Romans went on to fight the Etrurians, and were winning over them, the beated populations retreated up onto the mountain and into this groove to find shelter. While the Romans initially attempted to chase them, they soon changed their minds and didn’t enter in the sacred grove, officially becase the mountain area was not immediately interesting to them from a strategic standpoint, but most likely also because they were afraid of being cursed by the enemy’s deities and their priests.
While the forest certainly isn’t as thick today as it must have been back in the days, this spot remains a wonderful nature area, featuring centuries-old trees, providing fresh air to the area and home to many species of wild animals (squirrels, boars, deers, rodents of various kinds, falcons and more) and it is extremely beautiful to walk through it.
Even in more recent times, under different names, iconography and priesthood, the forest didn’t lose its sacred atmosphere: on the tower that sits on the mountain top, a statue of Virgin Mary was installed in the holy year (Jubilee) of 1950.