Yesterday we drove to Melle, where the Bodrero family originates. As we drove farther from Torino, the towns got smaller and smaller, and the little church in the center of each seemed more and more ancient. Finally, as we wound up toward the Western hills at the foot of the Alps, we passed into the town of Melle. The boroughs of the town climb up into the very tops of the hills, reaching a stillness broken only by birdsongs. The little green meadows are sprinkled with tiny, delicate butter-yellow flowers.
Through the town center and up a little winding hill is the borough of the Bodreros – a little cluster of centuries-old stone houses with shale roofs and tidy little gardens. A kind gentleman answered our questions and made us feel welcome. He was not a Bodrero himself, but he pointed out for us the houses of the Bodreros. When we asked if we could take a photograph, he graciously allowed us, and even took a few for us. As we drove down in the twilight, we thought about why and how they would have moved to Lagnasco. How they would have even heard, from up on their mountaintop, of an equally little town down in the valley, and just picked up and left. Perhaps when we know Italian history a little better we’ll be able to divine some historical reason for their move. Or maybe they just got tired of eking out a living on the mountain and came down to the fertile plain to farm somewhere they didn’t have to carve terraces out of the hill to plant a few rows.