Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita

Last Friday afternoon, as it happens, I tried to walk up to the top of Monte Nuvolone above Bellagio on Lake Como. I didn’t succeed, partly because I didn’t leave myself quite enough time, and partly because at one point I spectacularly missed the path, and it took quite a long time to find it again, much further up the slope. But while wandering through the fairly dark woods looking for the path again – in, significantly, my thirty-fifth year, I realised I was enjoying what can only be called an authentic Dante moment.

People tell me I should go off next in search of an authentic Petrarch moment in an attempt on Mont Ventoux, but those who know me better will know that if I ever do go up that mountain it won’t be by way of tribute to an Italian poet.

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