Buongiorno Italia – Concerto all’Alba

We find ourselves sitting at one of the local bars in the town square with Doppie (double espressi, for those not in the know!)at 6.45 on a Sunday morning, bleary eyed but euphoric!

Not a choice I would normally make but the alarm went off at 04.30 before which scooters, Apes and cars were whizzing around the streets and people chattering as they walked through the town… even the dogs were barking around the town, disturbed by this dawn activity! 

The cause? A town which is spilt by a straight, east-west Roman road celebrates the sunrise as it comes up on one day each year and lights up both sides of the street. Oh, and “there’s a band!”, to coin a phrase… 

Another amazing display of Italian small town community. Not able to take place in 2020 due to social distancing and covid restrictions, there were likely to have been small, select ‘dog walkers’ and people ‘exercising’ at dawn, but we were newbies and not privy… 

This year, however, we were at one with the town, celebrating a beautiful event taking place at a most bizarre time. The main road through the town was closed and around 200-300 people were seated across the sloped street on cushions, looking towards the mountains in the east – as the brass band prepared to play…

Town residents clamoured for space with tourists and ‘out of towners’, who had bothered to come into Anghiari and fight for parking. A true spectacle.

The brass ensemble played a repertoire, not of Peer Gynt, as it would have been in Old Blighty, but an interesting medley of Purcell, Gabrieli, Hazell and Clarke. The sun rose up over the mountains to a huge cheer and the sound of phones and cameras clicking. 

It was a surreal and special moment as the sun aligned exactly with the silver ribbon of the straight road, as it rolled away down the hill and across the valley floor. Excited children, enchanted adults young and old, dogs, playful puppies and those of us who weren’t quite awake yet all quietened as we watched the sun take ownership of the sky. The start of a beautiful day!

After around 30minutes of reflection, and as the brass ensemble concluded its performance, bottles of Prosecco popped… admittedly, even in our new status as expats, 6.15am seemed a little early for bubbles… crowds dispersed so we wandered down the hill to the piazza where all the bars were open for caffe e cornetto with a bizarre mass congregation for 6.30 on a Sunday morning!

An enchanting experience – possibly to be repeated next year but we’ll see how we manage the rest of the day. Especially as it finishes with the Italy v England match… 

The town of Anghiari and friends, gathered on the slope of the main road through the town, to watch the sun come up exactly in line with the old Roman road…

Waiting for the sun… and waiting… it’s a big mountain!

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