11 Feb,2018 By jagabond
“Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
An Italian Sunday consists of church and family time…not much else. I woke up particularly antsy this morning, looking for something to do. The Super Bowl was last weekend, so no more football to look forward to. I’m considered too old for day drinking. I needed a distraction, something to occupy my thoughts other than wishing I was back home in San Diego with my fiancée.
So I got in my car and started driving. It amazes me how far I’ve come as a driver. Not so long ago I suffered from minor driving anxiety, which prevented me from ever having a pleasant Sunday road trip. Living in Italy has cured me of this, thus opening up a world of new travel possibilities.
I drove an hour north to the Lazio region, beginning my day in Falvaterra. There is a cave system here that stretches for miles, extending to the nearby town of Pastena. This was a smaller version of caves I’ve seen previously in Slovenia and Croatia, but with a unique twist. The Obaco River vigorously flows through the cave, creating waterfalls and white water rapids.
The town of Falvaterra was quaint with nice views of the countryside. I had lunch at what appeared to be the town’s only restaurant, Taverna del Sagittario. When sampling regional cuisine, I always start with the meat and cheese antipasto plate. I quickly realized there was no mozzarella, so already very different from Campania where I live. The cheese here was lighter, more like a ricotta. The thing that looks like a burned bread roll was stuffed with cheese and vegetables…never had that before. There was also a meat that tasted like bologna, one of my faves!
My stomach content, I said hello to a pair of stray cats, took one last picture of a statue in the main town and bid Falvaterra farewell.
When you’re this close to the Vatican, stories about saints are everywhere. I learned about a new one in Roccasecca. This is where Saint Thomas Aquinas was born. The town seems proud, judging by the giant statue they built.
Often referred to as the ‘doctor’ of the Church, St. Thomas was one of the most influential minds of medieval theology. I’m a fan of quotes, and St. Thomas has three I really like.
-“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
-“How is it they live in such harmony, the billions of stars, when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their minds?”
-“While injustice is the worst of sins, despair is the most dangerous; because when you are in despair you care neither about yourself nor about others.”
Roccasecca was a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon sipping a cappuccino and people-watching. With renewed vigor from the caffeine, I took a stroll around town and took a couple nice shots.
Bottom line: The Lazio region feels markedly different from Campania, even though they border on each other. This brief road trip taught me I need to spend more time exploring the towns between Naples and Rome.