The midland: Modena lowlands

  • campagna san damaso-modena di Giorgio Galeotti in CC

The midland exists, enwrapped in the fog between Modena and Mirandola.

It is located in the province of Modena, but nobody dares to venture so far. Especially the "city folks" never make an effort to go to the industrial zone of their own city. To get to this foggy area, you only have to follow the dreadful Canal Road, a gentle name for such a treacherous and contorted road that was built over the track of an old canal.  If you have the guts to take this provincial road from Modena and slowly enter the wheat fields, rarely punctuated by small villages that arise along that road, the first limit you have to pass once you have left Modena is the passage under the High Velocity Tunnel, that cement monster sticking out from the flat nothingness. Once you have passed under the columns that support the passage of the trains, you will find yourself officially inside the midland, just a few meters above sea level (which explains why it is called the lowland). 

To the left you see hares running around in the fields: make sure you get a good look since it is the territory's only attraction. The rest of the journey will be amidst the fog which will prevent you from seeing that you are driving along a narrow road between two deep pits on both sides. This to me is a kind of test:  in my lands you will get to destination only if you are really determined, a kind of Narnia.

And if you really wish, proceeding in the fog you will discover a land where the public accountants speak to you in their dialect, the clients pay with pieces of ham or Parmesan cheese and all know you and that you are "the daughter of so and so" or the "lover of so and so..". It is a place where your ID card is not asked for, if you need to get cash at the bank, since they know you as "the daughter of….." 

It is a land where, besides the cats and dogs, the pets of your neighbours are a goose, a peacock, rabbits or two ducks, all running free in the garden. By bike, once you have passed the vineyards and avoided the pheasants crossing the road, you also get to see your uncle's cows.

The Midland furthermore sets you before a difficult choice of which lyceum to attend. The 25-minute travel by coach (that's what they call the buses over here) is something you have to take to discover the mysterious life of the city (Modena) or the familiar life of the small province (Mirandola or Finale)? Then in a blink of an eye, summer comes, between the events of a year and another at lyceum. Then you will have to get a summer job, and go pear picking.

After all, with such a fog out there, where do you think you can go? There is only a bar outside to be shared with the elderly people. There was a pub, but it went bankrupt. So you have no choice but to stay home. And since all your friends are doing the same, you find a garage and form your first band.

Funny how people wonder why ours is a land of musicians.…


Francesca Barbieri
Francesca Barbieri

Social Media consultant, Copywriter and Travel Blogger at Freelance. Tw: @fraintesa (fraintesa meaning "misunderstood" in all ways)

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