Under the sign of Leo
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The villa where this
story begins,rises up in an Appennine area,still quite free from
The poor business attitude of the native inhabitants rather than their ecologic or aesthetic awareness ,has caused a large part of the mountain to lack the necessary structures for a massive tourist exploitation.
In an almost cementless landscape,therefore,the villa,along with three or four houses of lucky owners,and with some remains used as shelters by shepherds and herdsmen,strickes the passers'by attention.
This mountain is rather bare,the prevailing colour being the iron grey of the rock,every now and then interrupted by the dark green of the conifer woods.
Animals rarely appear here,some wandering cows,some sheep,led by big white dogs,those pastori abruzzesi from which it is better to keep at a safe distance.
The human presence,too, is only occasional.With the exception of some very bright days,between January and February,when the call of the mountain is too strong to be ignored,the area is desert most of the year,as it lacks in ski tracks and sports equipments.
The villa has several
rooms,the finest of all opens westwards,on the valley,and
concentrates golden sunrays on its glasses,till the sunset ending.The
landscape visible to the watchers is wide,solitary,and severe.An
ideal room for reading,writing and thinking.The interior fitting
reminds an alpine style bedroom,with wooden furniture,cut in
right angles;a big confortable bed suggests long sleeps;a wide
desk situated next to the window seems meant for intellectual
work. It is not so,however.The owner of the house,not quite a
person of culture,spends most of her time in this room,when she
is in the villa.She is a self-confident,patronizing lady in her
sixties.Widowed of an upper-class husband,childless,she has
nothing to do but to best organize her days as a free, rich woman,still
healthy: all day long she is with a number of relatives and
Her little court they are,following her from the living room of the town where she usually lives, to the mountain villa,the main residence of her summer holidays.
The court follows her elsewhere, too,to the terms,where she goes once a year,and on the trips she happens to make for pleasure or need.
Her culture is rather superficial,since her birth,however,she has breathed the air of a family where generations of lawyers physicians and men af letters have passed on and on,one of those professional breeds that were the backbone of Southern Italy,last century.
From her brothers, cousins,uncles and ancestors,our protagonist has taken a haughty professional style even if,most of times,she uses it only to lead plenty of servants and organize birthday parties.Hers,of course,is the most important of all,in July,under the Leo,usually held in the mountain villa.
On this occasion she wears a new dress,ever,but always of the same style: in between a classical peplum and a renaissance costume. Harmonized are her jewels.
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