The lost kingdom of Belforte

IImpressions, memories and adventures in a land full of suggestions, which seems like an ancient lost kingdom.

The mountain area that revolves around the hamlets of Belforte, Gorro, Roccamurata, Lozzola and Corchia has always fascinated me, it is an area practically neglected by the "general public" passionate about mountains and hiking, it is an apparently very wild and mysterious area, which exerts the fascination of the unknown, stimulates curiosity and the instinct of exploration, apparently remote and inanimate, but when you delve into it instead, you discover that the area is alive, unexpectedly alive, harsh and sweet at the same time, rich in history and of stories to tell and experience: in every corner ancient buildings, customs, paved paths, adventurous wooden bridges, churches, bell towers, chapels... in short, anything but wild, but a hidden and silent treasure, which does not dazzle you with overly flashy "emergencies", and does not deceive you with false promises, but is simply there, immobile in time, waiting for lost curious and perhaps restless spirits, to be delicately discovered and bewitch them, bewitch them, capture their soul as if in a trap magical.

Plume of ophiolitic rock near Belforte, in the background the cloud-capped Mount Molinatico.

Traveling along the valley floor it seems that the world is all there, in the wide Taro valley, and one cannot imagine that, instead abandoning the main road and going up uncomfortable and tortuous streets which always seem to end at the next curve, the more one goes up the more an unknown world opens up to our eyes: this is the feeling I had the first times I walked along these streets "fearfully", looking for something beautiful to discover and photograph, fearful because I expected at any moment that the road suddenly ended, perhaps in the courtyard of some house, or having to turn the car because the road would have become too narrow and impervious; with great surprise, however, I discover that the road not only does not end, but branches out into as many streets, streets, carriageways, paths and, partially hidden by exuberant vegetation, almost shy, afraid of putting themselves in too much conspicuous view, many signs and many trail signs: all potential indicators of exciting discoveries...!

This is sometimes what I still feel today when I come to these places, harsh and ancient places that always continue to influence me, and it is a suggestion that smells of mystery and archaic, with these landscapes of lunar rocks and deep woods that they are strangely familiar, which put me at ease, I almost have the impression of reliving a dream or an ancient memory...

Belforte, beautiful and strong as described by Maria Luigia, "capital" of this solitary and forgotten kingdom, is a beautiful village whose stone houses also cling with their nails to the steep and steep terrain, so as not to slip underneath, and on the top of the mountain overlooking the town, the fascinating ruins of the ancient castle still lie: a few old and worn stones to remind us of the earthly sadness of our life, of our clay certainties, ready to melt at the first rain, and of the vanity of our prides and our deliriums: I love these ruins, these few stones so full of meaning, so teachers of life.

The first time I arrived here, almost by chance, I was surprised and enchanted to see lying at the bottom of the Cogena valley, just below the town of Belforte, a beautiful emerald colored lake, not marked on any map and of which I had not never heard of it, it really seemed like a precious pearl set in this magical landscape, with the imposing mass of Mount Molinatico right above, which even today, in certain light conditions, almost seems like one can physically feel its weight and one feels the strange sensation of being able to almost caressing by stretching out a hand, I then remember those clouds that framed the top, as often happens on windy days, and which give the place something wild and grandiose: a truly spectacular and enchanting landscape, the kind that leaves its mark on you , I almost didn't believe it, I felt like I was lost between the pages of an ancient magic book.

Today I regret that I never went down to the valley, all the way down, to see up close those mysterious waters that appeared out of nowhere, when one day a landslide suddenly blocked the course of the stream, and the waters, hindered and slowed down in their tumultuous race, calmed down. for a while, creating this tranquil body of water, which is why the lake was not shown on the maps: as we know, the maps always follow previous drawings, and the changes only appear many years later.

I regret never having taken a bath in those enchanted waters, who knows maybe they would have purified my spirit, saving me, or maybe they would have bewitched me completely... but more likely it was enough for me to just look at them from afar, to trap myself in the spell and lose myself forever.... "yes, next time"... "one of these days"... "it's nearby anyway" I said to myself... the usual good intentions that the frenzy of our life as busy citizens deluded about a tomorrow that we believe to be certain, it always makes us postpone our desires to a future that is instead increasingly unlikely.

And in fact the magical lake did not last long enough to leave a trace on any map, a few years later in fact a landslide freed the waters from the debris that kept them imprisoned, and the beautiful enchanted emerald colored lake disappeared by magic, and forever, its waters disappeared silently, away from prying eyes, without notifying anyone, by magic just as it had appeared, so by magic it disappeared, leaving only the memory of itself in the eyes of those who were lucky enough to see it, leaving haunted souls behind them, mine above all, and a slightly faded image in this old slide that I managed to keep.

The beautiful lost emerald lake of Belforte.

A few days ago, while I was walking along path 833 which leads from Belforte to La Calà, in complete and blissful solitude, filled with all that suggestion that only a thick and lush forest can offer, it suddenly appeared before my eyes, near of a stream, a large black stone, strange, fascinating, I cannot help but let myself be seduced, I cannot go any further, I have to put down my backpack and observe it from all sides, walk around it, touch it, caress it, even smell it: a large flat stone on a side, like a large table, or rather like an altar, a sacred altar in the woods, and my thoughts cannot help but immediately go to relive everything I have read about ancient pagan cults, where the woods were sacred, and the trees divinities, and I already imagine this place as a theater of ancient cults, and this rock appears before me as a sacred altar on which mysterious rites were officiated, celebrated by powerful druids, or better yet by ancient priestesses dedicated to maintaining magical relationships with the forces visible dimensions of nature and the invisible dimensions of the spirit and the divine, perhaps on a warm summer night, softly illuminated by the silvery and enchanting light of the full moon.

A large stone split exactly in half, crossed by a dark and deep fissure, as if cut by a powerful blade, by a magical force, an evocative, attractive fissure, and by a magnetic force, which seems to descend towards the warm belly of the earth, and which reminds me so much of the female divinity, the Great Mother Earth, a powerful archetype.

Suggestion, certainly just suggestion, when faced with a mass of black ophiolite, rolled down the slope and split in half due to the combined effect of the flaking of the minerals that compose it and the mechanical force of the impact


Having taken a few photos, I put on my backpack again and continue my journey, placing my suggestions in the tightly closed drawer of my fantasies, but having taken just a few steps, perhaps thanks to the rustle of the wind, or the crystalline sound of the waters of the stream I have just crossed, I it seemed magical for a few minutes, while I looked around in amazement and walked cautiously and cautiously, it seemed to me that I was accompanied on my journey by a distant sound of flutes and bells... a soft and sweet sound, almost imperceptible, yet wonderful. ... what a strange and incredible sensation, a spontaneous smile of happiness and childish amazement immediately appeared on my face, and I walked lightly, scanning the depths of the forest, to see if I could perhaps spot some creature, some spirit, some entity .... a fairy maybe.... or a bewitching witch who wanted my soul! Where did that music come from...?

After a few dozen metres, the enchanting sound went away, dissolved in the wind, lost among the branches of the trees, I saw nothing, but I immediately understood my imbecility: I don't know, maybe it's time I started seriously worrying, or maybe I simply have to stop reading esoteric books on ancient religions and focus on something more current and modern... the trouble is that it is precisely the modern and current that seems so old and inadequate to me !

In the evening while I am returning home, going down the road that leads from Belforte to Roccamurata passing through Gorro, just to lengthen the road a little (there was no desire or rush to go home), I see a beautiful meadow full of flowers, obviously I pull over the car to get out to take some photos, when from the depths of the forest I hear unusual music coming from it, very beautiful, very powerful, I felt the bass rumbling inside my ribcage: fantastic, just a magical forest, from whose depths an engaging and pounding techno music with fabulous bass was coming... were the fairies perhaps having a rave party??? What a strange place this really is....

I always willingly return to these places, among these rocks with phantasmagoric shapes and colours, to these woods inhabited only by the wind and the memories of ancient lives, to these inexorable waters that dig the rock deep inside, as life digs into ours. soul, I come especially when I am looking for peace, serenity, comfort too, and I always rarely meet people along these paths, sometimes it seems that time has stopped and, as if by a spell, it seems that humanity is hidden somewhere, knowing that we would arrive, modest, so as not to be seen, or disappeared into thin air leaving only its traces, like the beautiful emerald lake.

These are solitary places, and for this reason I like them a lot, they are similar to me: wild, moody, ancestral, harsh and sweet.

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