Map of Italy
"In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias, they had
warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed. They produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci
and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, five hundred years of
democracy and peace, and what did they produce -
By car, Campomaggiore is 25 minutes East of Potenza, and less than 3 hours inland from Naples. The Apennine Mountains are clearly visible from Naples, and upon leaving the city, the views become breathtakingly dramatic.
Just as dramatic is the approach to Potenza. Pastoral scenes give way to large quarries in full operation, and then to a city oppressively congested with traffic along with the sights, sounds and smells of industry.
Campomaggiore, on the other hand, is a peaceful mountain town. When Uncle Frank, Aunt Mary and Mary-Ann visited in 1984, the town was quite undeveloped; most of the roads were not paved, and animals grazed about. But when Irene (Sr.), Shirley and I went in 1997, all the roads were paved, and there was a lot of new construction. Still, we could see no evidence of industry or source of commerce in the town itself. The terrain was severely mountainous, and lent itself only to small-scale farming. Our guess was that Potenza was the economic engine of the region, and that workers from surrounding towns (like Campomaggiore) made the daily commute.
[Editor's note: The only grazing animals we saw were a flock of sheep on the road coming into town, and a horse by the old town ruins. The horse came up to me, asked if I had any food, and then let me pet his nose. As I touched his huge schnoz, I could only wonder if we were distantly related.]