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Home in Umbria
The story behind the poem

This poem is about the second house we have owned in Italy, in the mountains above a small town called Valtopina in Umbria. It is only a short distance from Assisi, the home town of Saint Francis, with Mount Subasio lying in between.

The house itself is modern, having been rebuilt but not finished following the 1997 earthquake. It is painted pink and has a tower made to look like a dovecot. We found it some time before we were able to buy it and then a considerable amount of work needed doing to it.

The nine hectares of land surrounding the house are mostly on an incline and consist of olive groves, flower-filled meadows, orchards and woodland, with here and there patches of bare rock. It is bordered at its lowest point by a wooded ravine through which runs a network of waterfalls, dry for most of the year but full of rushing water in the winter and early spring.

by Damaris West

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