On Corridors

From Old French and Old Italian corridore, literally: place for running; from correre to run, from Latin currere

A corridor is a narrow enclosed hallway, passageway, or gallery

A corridor is a route leading to rooms or apartments

A corridor is a tract of land allowing access for passage

A corridor is a restricted airspace for flightpaths

A corridor is the path a spacecraft must follow when re-entering the atmosphere

A corridor can be an anatomical reference as a meatus, duct, portal, canal, orifice, opening, channel, sinus, fistula, or shunt

A corridor is a densely populated strip of land connecting two or more urban areas

A corridor is a hallway or passage connecting parts of a building or a railway coach

A corridor is either of the parallel lanes at the sides of a tennis court, which widen the inbounds area for doubles play

A corridor is the seat of power and influence (as in corridors of power)

Corridors can be an aisle, gangway, arcade, areaway, gallery, gate, passage, passageway, shaft, tunnel, breezeway, walk-through, path, street, tract, a covered galley

Enjoy some of the corridors from my trip to Italy. Any favorites?

Nature's Corridor for a River

Nature’s Corridor for a River

Stroll through the Botanical Gardens at the University of Pisa

Stroll the Botanical Gardens at the University of Pisa

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Down the Medieval Bridge

A Tight Squeeze for Traffic in Bagni di Lucca

A Tight Squeeze for Traffic in Bagni di Lucca

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Quiet in Florence

Decision TIme in Pescia

Decision Time in Pescia

Unknown Destination in Pescia

Unknown Destination in Pescia

Intrigue in San Gimignano

Intrigue in San Gimignano

Slow Climb in San Gimignano

Climbing Slow in San Gimignano

Solitude in Vernazza

Solitude in Vernazza

On an Old Bridge

When many think of an old bridge in Italy, Ponte Vecchio in Florence comes to mind. Although the name means Old Bridge, the covered bridge crossing the Arno River and housing jewelry shops is a picturesque icon.

For me, my special old bridge is Ponte della Maddalena (Bridge of Mary Magdalene) crossing the Serchio River just south of Bagni di Lucca. Built during the medieval period, this unique walking bridge made of stone is one I had to revisit. It’s specialness is partially due to its look and location between the lands of my paternal and maternal sides of my family, but I also have pictures, postcards, and a framed etching of this bridge. Interestingly, this landmark is actually better known as Ponte del Diavolo – Devil’s Bridge.

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The ancient bridge carries a legend. My research shows various versions, but with commonalities. In order to complete the bridge, whoever made a deal with the devil, but in return, the devil wanted the life of the first to cross the bridge. The devil completed the bridge, so an animal was sent across – which the devil snatched, then angrily left and never to return.

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Even though this area is very scenic, like any river, heavy upriver rains can create a flood. As one can tell, even the torrent water of this late-2012 flood, the bridge remains standing.

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Thanks to my second cousin for this great pic

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During my recent trip to Italy, I had to see this beautiful legend, just as I last did in 1964 – including a walk to the top for a wave from afar.

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The 2013 wave

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The 1964 wave

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Now there’s a 1964 fashion statement

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My second cousin gave me this beautiful picture. Unfortunately, I don’t know the original source.

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For more photographs for this wonderful landmark

Enjoy these pictures from Debra, a frequent visitor here: One, two, and three.

Cheers to the collection from Google Images.

On a Heritage Walk

My desire to visit the small village of my paternal grandparent was different from visiting my maternal aunt and cousins. Besides, they didn’t fully understand my desire to go, plus they were unfamiliar with the winding road up the mountain – after all, there could be snow at 552 m (1716 ft).

My oldest cousin stepped forward, so the two of us headed into the valley toward the point of ascent. She is more than a bit high-strung, but with just the two of us, we had a wonderful day – and her personality did come in handy. We had lunch of wonderful tortelli at Ristorante da Vinicio in the beautiful setting of Bagni di Lucca. (This town is awesome!)

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During lunch, my hyper-cousin couldn’t resist mentioning my last name and that of my grandmother to the very nice man at the restaurant. (Debra, you may know him.) Interestingly, he quickly responded by saying those names are in San Cassiano, the place we were going.

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San Cassiano from a distance in 1964, but this time we drove there from the other direction

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After lunch, up the mountain we went. As we reached the main road’s peak, I exited the car and asked my cousin to drive ahead to meet me at the church – thus I would walk my own journey back in time.

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I started my downhill walk from here

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I recognized the first house as it served as the background for when my dad accidentally met a former classmate and long-time friend from Missouri. Interestingly, they didn’t know the other was vacationing in Italy. In this day, the owner was outside, so I started a conversation with him – which was very enjoyable, but I received only a few useful snippets of family information.

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Dad and his long-time friend from Missouri (1964)

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As I walked toward the church, my eyes wandered as my brain kept retrieving memories from long ago. Meanwhile, (and unknowing to me) my cousin’s personality was working the people at the bar, so she set the stage for when I arrived.

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San Cassiano is the highest village on this side of the mountain

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The woman behind the bar introduced me to Alvaro, a retired man probably in his late 60’s-early 70s. He was a true pleasure, and he eventually directed us to a house of one of my grandfather’s brothers, which two of my dad’s first cousins (who live in Scandinavia) still own and visit in the summer.

From the bar, it was down the street to the main church and an important town monument across from the church.

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The church ahead is dated 772 C.E.

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Unfortunately, the church was locked, but I discovered the sign that dates the church back to 772 – that’s a long time ago!

I had to see the monument across the street from – the monument for the fallen WW I soldiers from this town. I knew the majority of the last names, including

  • My family name
  • My dad’s uncle after whom he is named
  • My grandmother’s maiden name and the maiden name of her mother
  • Family names of those who lived in my home area of rural southern Ohio
  • The family name of my dad’s friend from Missouri
  • The family name of a man I didn’t know, but will soon meet
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There are more names not captured in this photo

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From the church, down the path I went searching for the house of my grandfather’s brother. Again, my cousin came through by asking a person who also just arrived in the parking lot. He led us to a British couple, who led us to the house, which was only two houses away.

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Path beside the church leading to the lower neighborhood

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While talking to the nice British gentleman, a slow-walking elderly man came along – the one whose family name is on the monument. Interestingly, he happens to hold the keys to the house for my Scandinavian cousins. He not only mentioned by grandfather’s name (who died in 1976), but also recalls meeting my dad. What are the odds!

I don’t know how to describe the moral of this story. Perhaps this small town is a magical place – after all, how else would two friends separated by two states on a different continent meet on a street across an ocean and up a hill to a small village meet in 1964? How else would I have so much luck on this short journey? What kind of luck would I have had if I had a family tree with me?

Thanks to the magic of San Cassiano di Controne, this day was extra special for me.

Enjoy the view cross the valley from the town of my paternal heritage. Ciao!

Note: For more pictures, visit this past post by Debra.

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