Thursday, May 21, 2009

The road from Castagneto to Bolgheri

This has got to be my favorite road in the whole world, if we don't count the Grand Canal as a road- that wouldn't be fair. It connects the two small towns of Castagneto Carducci and Bolgheri, south of Livorno in Tuscany. The area is known as Maremma and has long been one of my favorites.

The road and its trees is the subject of a poem known to most Italians, in which Nobel prize-winner Giosue' Carducci looks back lovingly at his childhood haunts, which of course were better than his adult haunts. This wasn't just his idea but is due, as I have suggested, to the objective fact that it doesn't get much better than this. Carducci personifies the trees as tall, straight youths running to meet him.

But the beautiful cypresses have been in trouble some time now due to the unpoetic American fungus seridium cardinale. Some were destroyed and cloned, and the clones did well. But the problem persists and threatens The Most Beautiful Road. The Italians have therefore implanted microchips (or, as they say, i microchip) in the trunks to monitor the trees' health.

I'd like to see Carducci write a poem about that.