‘I am now in a place the most beautifully romantic I ever saw in my life,’ wrote Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, pioneer of smallpox innoculation and resident of Lovere for nearly 10 years. In 1755 she wrote these lines there;
Wisdom, slow product of laborious years,
The only fruit that life’s cold winter bears;
Thy sacred seeds in vain in youth we lay,
By the fierce storm of passion torn away.
Should some remain in a rich gen’rous soil,
They long lie hid, and must be rais’d with toil;
Faintly they struggle with inclement skies,
No sooner born than the poor planter dies.
The town of Lovere loves Lady Mary and their promenade is named after her. In temperatures of 33, 34, even 35, on July 9th 2019, we decided to hire a car and get out of Bergamo, head up into the pre-Alps, the Orobie and visit Clusone, with its amazing Triumph of Death fresco. Then we would cross into the next valley, visit Lovere on the shore of Lake Iseo and then drive down the side of the lake. It was a brilliant plan. Luckily we couldn’t get a car until 2 pm, which seemed like a shame at the time. Our outing coincided with a cloud burst which brought an hour of hail to Bergamo. Where we were, it brought bouts of torrential rain so heavy we couldn’t even leave the car in Clusone. In all honesty, I did, but noone else would.
We continued with the trip and managed to get out of the car in a period of drizzle and take some photos of Lovere in the rain.
Then I took my favourite video ever from under the awning of the Pasticceria Wender which served us drinks and very nice tiny pastries. I can’t show it because I don’t have a Premium Plan, but it is a live version of this photo with the added sound of torrential rain.
After that we did did drive down the amazing lakeside road, scooped out of vertical cliffs which overhang it in places. Part of it is tunnelled. There are helpful notices warning about rock falls, and nets hopefully cantilevered out of the cliffs, to catch the boulders as they head towards your car. Then we had really nice pasta in a trattoria in Sarnico, which for some reason thought it was an Irish pub, and then we went home.
I am a graduate in Classics of St John's College Cambridge. I live with my family in a 3 bedroom library in Oxford. Chronic illness and the needs of my family set my course long ago on the strange Odyssean voyage of part time academic short contracts. The purpose of this blog is not to chart safe havens and reefs I have encountered on the way, but to share some of the stuff I have picked up on the beach.
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