At the end of August we received from our Project Manager, Antonio Marconi, the first pictures of the work that had been begun on clearing a road up to the castle. From base to castle gate the track was about 1.5 kms, and completely overgrown. In some place it was no more that 1 metre wide, and in other there was barely room to place your feet side by side.
Antonio’s pictures showed that the main track had been widened to almost double the width of the large path we had struggled to climb back in January. The engineers had cut into the rock, and flatten the main track with a digger. Small irrigation ditches had been created across the track to ease the flow of any rainwater and minimise the possibility of the track being washed away in the unpredictable winter months ahead.
The most progress had been made on the stretch between the bend and the castle itself. A major clearance operation had been undertaken and, where formerly there had been small trees and overgrown bushes, these had been uprooted, and in its place the original earthen track was once again laid bare. Half way up this stretch, and about 100 metres shy of the castle itself, a small flat area – big enough to take a couple of lorries – had been created, which now housed the site office.
Back at the bottom of the track a red barrier had been installed to deter the casual visitor from driving up to the castle and an iron fence had been established around the full perimeter of the site – no mean feat given the severity of the slope and the sharp drop on all sides.
That afternoon we went back into Piobbico, where we met again the Mayor – or <em>Sindaco</em> – Dott. Georgio Mochi. Dott Mochi is a young enlightened Mayor determined to put his town on the map, and eager to meet the crazy couple who wanted to restore the castle. Over a lazy and wonderful lunch of pasta and local meats, we heard about his plans for Piobbico, the funding he was applying for and the progress that he had already made in securing European grants. Such was his drive that this small Italian town, deep in the rural heart of Italy, now has wireless broadband hotspots located throughout the community! It was an important meeting for us, in that as Mayor, he holds considerable influence over the other members of the commune, through whom all our future planning applications would have to pass