We leave our comfortable camping for the short connecting stage in Cerveteri. The road takes us out of traffic, until we enter the true countryside, under the sun, caught in the hottest hours thanks to our unintelligent starting. We arrive at the campsite in Ladispoli, a few kilometers from the Etruscan necropolis of Banditaccia.
Today, in southern Etruria, we're three again. Luigi abandon us to go back home, to prepare his thesis in Forestry, leaving Alessandro alone driving the camper. Now, without him, we risk to have a lazy diet again, since we are always listless in handling pots and pans.
Semi-free day. Tomorrow we will visit the necropolis of Cerveteri, before leaving to Sardinia, with the arrival of Efrem who will help us for a few days, and the departure of Michele, a few days from a degree in aerospace engineering.
Michele will leave the crew, but this time he will stay in Milan, after the impossible effort to combine cycling and sightseeing to overnight study, since he has other priorities, he cannot continue his journey. We will meet again later, when the green and purple caravan will return north, near Trento, to ride together again.
The journey continues, evolves, changes in front of us. In two days we will leave the peninsula to cross the sea, tomorrow we will visit the Etruscan necropolis, crossing the past, to touch stones carved over 2500 years ago.
The next day, with our gray perpetually sweaty polo shirt with the emblem of the project, we come to the necropolis of Banditaccia, introduced by the technician Alessandro Dello Russo. After a brief conversation, he leaves us and we go forward among the graves, entering the city of the dead of a now disappeared civilization. The lush vegetation invades each bump and rock, but it does not venture into the underground kingdom of the dead.
The mounds are over a thousand, emptied by caves dug into the tuff. In the 'rooms', in addition to the sarcophagus, the Etruscans put the funeral equipment that the dead soul would have need to live within those walls.
We enter some tombs logging by long and straight stairs that lead down towards dark and damp rooms. These rooms are bare, completely devoid of any furniture, but we're happy to be here, refreshed by a cool temperature that dries our sweat caused by the outside high temperature.
The tombs, that were built by the Etruscans from the ninth to the third century BC, change their structure over the centuries. It may be circular, rectangular base or directly dug in the ground, with sloping ceilings, supported by an architrave, or by columns. Through the glass in front of the door, we can see the painted bas-relief, that represents everyday or military objects.
The necropolis today has lost its original aspect, replaced by a wilder aspect, resembling a spontaneous Mediterranean forest. Nature has done its part trying to cancel the traces of this splendid example of funerary art. Only inside the tombs, in the depths of these ancient caves that are three thousand years old, time seems to stand still, except for the looting and robberies that have stripped these sites of almost all its furnishings.
After visiting this new magical Unesco site, happily leave the campsite of Ladispoli, dirty and ugly, and we go to Civitavecchia, where, at 3 p.m., we load the camper on the ferry, to leave the peninsula. Over the next twenty days we will cross the islands, Sardinia and Sicily, passing by the Aeolian islands, until the return to the mainland, in Naples.
The ferry takes us away from the land, in the middle of the absolute blue of the sky and the sea, leaving a long trail in the water expanse. While on the bridge the strong wind blows, another part of the trip ends and begins the Sardinian chapter, a longitudinal journey through the island, from the port of Olbia to Cagliari, with a stop in Barumini, at the archaeological site of Su Nuraxi.
We will also have time to rest a few days, to give an order to the mental turmoil of our continuous wandering, trying to understand what is going on around us, in this continuous, slow and inexorable transformation of the earth in front of our eyes, while we travel on the roads, light as ghosts.
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