Taken from my 2014 travel journal:
We only have two days left of our summer holiday. I don’t know where the time has gone. It’s 8am and I’m drinking coffee on our balcony. The valley is quiet, although I can hear our elderly neighbour having cross words with someone. It could be her dog, her chickens, or her visiting grandson. It’s usually one of those three. One of her crazy cats is swinging from the branches of our biggest olive tree. I smile to myself, thinking how I will miss this when I return to England.
10am. We stopped at Bocca di Valle (‘Mouth of the Valley’) on our way to Guardiagrele. We have driven through here many times, but this was the first time we had decided to have a proper look at the war memorial.
As we exit the car, we notice what looks like a fantastic walking trail, following the ravine and we make a note to return here next summer, when Squidge will be older.
We hadn’t realised when driving past before that underneath the words carved in the rock face, there is a cave that is open to the public.
Somebody had taken a lot of care over this memorial. There were individually hand-painted tiles on the walls and floor of the cave. Absolutely exquisite.
Seeing names of soldiers, photos and messages, was sad and sobering. Even the boys were silent. There is something about this setting, so quiet, you really have time to reflect on the futility of war. I had a lump in my throat.