Amandola: Now as Then

The "gaunt and shadowy tower" in Amandola
The "gaunt and shadowy tower" in Amandola

Below is another excerpt from Edward Hutton's book "The Cities of Romagna and the Marches" written in 1925. It is a truly delightful description of Amandola and the hospitality that he found upon his arrival there.  The inn may no longer exist but the kindness and friendliness most certainly still do.


It was already night when, after a brief halt at Comunanza, a wretched but beautifully situated village of the lower hills,the diligenza came up to the gate of Amandola and stopped in a bleak Piazza at the foot of the little hill town, of which I could discern nothing but a gaunt and shadowy tower.


There was no sign of an inn, but presently I was led by the hand over the cobbles, for it was very dark, to a little door that opened on a vast kitchen reeking with a most savoury smell of cooking. The place was full of light and warmth, and crowded with all kinds of people, peasants and a priest or two, but especially I noticed an amazingly ugly old woman, who presently came up to me and demanded my business. Then when she knew I desired a bed she too took me by the hand and led me up a foul and broken stairway to the first floor of her house, where, to my astonishment, I saw that all was fair and clean, as was the room and bed she offered me. And here let me say at once that my days in Amandola were all days of delight and happiness.


It is never well in Italy to judge by appearances, and in Amandola, as I soon found, least of all. Nowhere have I received greater kindness ; nowhere have I found so nice a courtesy. Nothing I required was denied me ; everything was done for my comfort and pleasure. I slept soft and I lived well, I fared sumptuously every day. The kitchen became my sitting-room, though I was given one of my own, and there I found the best company in the world, among the shepherds and peasants and priests of the mountains. They brought me fruit out of their little store, the children danced and sang songs for me, the shepherds blew me mountain airs on their pipes and told me tales of the snow, of witches and the evil eye, and of the adventures of Our Lady fleeing with our little Lord from Herod and the Pharisees, which befell, it seems, but yesterday, as is indeed most true. And so I, who had feared to stay a single night in Amandola, remained for my own delight a whole seven days, not one of which I reckoned ill-spent or unrepaid, though Amandola itself is little more than a village.

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