Monday, 14 March 2011

Local Railways

Italy had the great fortune never to have enjoyed the attention of a Dr Beeching as did Blighty in the 60s. The Italian railway network is still largely intact and branch lines still exist. Maybe there's only a couple of trains a day, the stations are unstaffed, the ticket machines don't work and the waiting room no longer has old vine cuttings glowing faintly in the hearth but most stations are still extant. I came across this little gem the other day. Cesare Pavese wrote La Luna e i Falò (The Moon and the Bonfires) in 1949 just before he topped himself* at the age of 41. This station is near his birthplace so the plaque has a line from the book which, badly translated, reads: "Through the peach orchards I could hear the train arriving and filling the valley...".

*He was a Communist so I can see his point. If he'd have hung on for a while he'd have eventually seen the light, become a Conservative, jetted around the world for Champagne-assisted book launches, had it off with Sophia Loren and got hammered regularly on decent Italian red wine.


Diplomate said...

Railway renaisence here in blighty with associated contoversy. Oh for the joys of the C19th and the serf-trampling thrust of new lines un-rolling across the countryside faster than the petitions and complaints could be delivered to London.

Peter Ashley said...

Great post Ron. Through your good offices I have enjoyed many ferrovia. With the exception of one where I turned up expecting you to meet me, only to find not you but a bemused taxi driver staring at me because I was dressed-up as that bloke in Death in Venice, complete with panama hat and obligatory streak of black hair dye running down my forehead.

Vinogirl said...

Pavese's loss is your gain - in the red wine department that is.