Long mountain lake trail

Gemellli 2974The elderly couple were fit enough to have climbed up to the mountain hut, but who knows at what speed. They were sprawling in the sun after eating a sandwich and a banana, and it was a bad omen that I should sit on its skin. They seemed to be familiar with the area when I enquired about the path I meant to take but the startled expression they put on was not reassuring. They wondered between themselves if I'd make it by nightfall.

Urban exploration: Mombello

Mombello 2439In the last couple of months I have made two experiments of urban exploration. The first time the idea was triggered by the description I read of a theatre show centred on the abandoned lunatic asylum of Mombello. The short introductory text was enough to make one's hair stand on end, and to whet my appetite. That's why I proposed the plan to a friend who's a keen photographer, and on a Sunday morning we were out on the errand. The place was easy to find and I was surprised that we had not a fence to climb over, but an open gate because on the same grounds there are units such as a high school, an orthodox church and a residential community, all alive and well.

Mount St Primo

SanPrimo004The top of Mount St Primo offered a magnificent sweeping view over Lake Como and the highest Alps, a combination of snow-speckled mountains and blue waters in the frame of early summer greenery. The temperature was responsible for some mist in the distance, but both branches of Lake Como were visible from the highest summit in the Larian Triangle, so called because this mountainous area is encompassed in the upside-down Y shape of my favourite lake.

A weekend in North Germany

Lübeck119

St Mary's bells

WW2 tore Lübeck asunder. Its centuries-old buildings, the rich history of the Hanseatic town and the inhabitants' spirits all came down as a heap of rubble in the folly of war. It took decades but eventually the severe wounds inflicted by one single but murderous air raid healed into a scarred urban texture. So, along the streets in the town centre the line of traditional crow-stepped gables is often interrupted by modern buildings that fill the gaps left by crumbled houses. But the devastating effects of war are nowhere clearer than from above: the fantastic view from the St. Peter's steeple reveals the extent of the patches sown over the holes in the extraordinary urban tapestry that this town was. Like a past beauty, Lübeck smiles with a toothless mouth treated by an inexpert dentist, but is still able to arouse admiration for what remains of its former glory.

Big changes ahead?

The Bergamo Chamber of commercePM Renzi has pledged to change the statute of the Chambers of commerce in the frame of a greater plan to modernise the civil service. In early May he announced his revolution, as it was referred to in the media, and set a deadline of 40 days for consultations before proceeding. The proposed measure that affects the Chambers of commerce in particular consists in abolishing mandatory membership, so that if the reform is carried out companies will be free to decide whether or not to join the "private club" or stay out. The upshot is that the Chambers will not live off their present guaranteed revenue – in fact a taxation – from all companies, but would have to earn their day in order to stay on the market. If they can.

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