On this cold snowy day I am thinking of my visit to the town of Tolfa, Lazio. As we climbed up a steep stone-paved street to the old convent of Capuchin Friars, an old lady sitting near a house smiled at us and started talking. “It is a hot day”, she said. “I will stay here in the shade and observe”. The town is full of young people in summer, she was telling us, and it is joy to chat to them. “I feel younger myself”.
The 17th century convent is now used for archaeological summer camps and still retains its austere beauty. We wondered the narrow streets admiring churches, the distant ruins of the Monte della Rocca Castle and responding to “hellos” of the locals. Tolfa has remained quite prosperous throughout its history and its population has doubled since the 19th century. Today it is mainly an agricultural area with excellent vegetables and cereals grown around here. Since Etruscan times Tolfa has been famous for its robust working horse breed called Tolfetano. The town also gave the world the Catana bag, which origins go back to the 16th century. It was used by farmers to carry bread and bottles with daily supply of of olive oil or wine. It is still made from cowhide and patiently sawn by hand by some artisans in Tolfa.
And another thing I can assure you of, the cats of Tolfa are vicious! Our dog Gogol sniffed one under a parked car and decided to introduce himself. A second later, he shot away from the car with a big bleeding scratch on his nose. An angry-looking cat was hiding there from the summer heat, reluctant to share the cool spot with any annoying dog.
Photos by Green Holiday Italy©