We wandered through the dense conifer forest to emerge into a grassy plateau reminiscent of our own Prato Fiorito but on a much larger scale. The cool temperature of these heights was a welcome contrast to the still oppressive heat of the plain we had started out from.
The area, with its marram grasses and scatterings of rocks reminded us a little of Wales and we realised that, perhaps, two thousand metres height over here is roughly equivalent to two hundred metres over there in terms of ecological area.
The views from the plateau were stunning and reached as far as the Adriatic Sea. It was a truly quiet and peaceful place.
Yet it had not always been so. This same place had been out of bound to the public until quite recently as it was the site of a US radar relay station connected with a nearby missile bunker during the cold war era. From here news of a nuclear attack would be transmitted to fighting forces and orders might have been broadcast that sent weapons on the way to blast half, if not all, the world to smithereens.
The site had been returned by the USA to Italy in the 1990’s and the local authorities had transformed it into a “peace piazza”. In the centre, at the mountain’s summit, was a cross and an altar and the whole had been blessed by the bishop. This is just one such square throughout the world and links up with an international network of them.
I have a vision of so many sites associated with war today returned to the people and dedicated to peace instead.
Thinking of the UK I would like to see places like Greenham common and other ex-US air and missile bases transformed into peace piazzas with a memorial and some explanation of what they were used for together with a promise of better times for the future.
Let’s hope that many more peace piazzas may be established throughout the world. For the time being, I feel that the following animals, which we found grazing near the peace square, were making so many of the world leaders seriously intellectually challenged….