… an arid and stony place. A land that no animal dared to cross, in which no stream dared to flow, on which even the wind refused to blow. No man inhabited its bare hills, no one tried to cultivate the hard land.
In that demesne, called Campo Piano, nobody, or almost nobody, lived. In that land, lying on a soft slope, lived a family of stones. They were small, smooth stones of a deep grey colour with white highlights. They had always been there, silent and mysterious. The only ones to break the bleak loneliness of the place.
One day, a small stream, L’Acqua Lenta, got lost and deviated from its natural course until it arrived next to those stones, carrying within its waves a thousand stories of faraway places. The water wetted the stones and they suddenly began to enlarge, drawing strange shapes on their surface. Animals, unseen mountains, unknown trees appeared as if carved into the rocks.
Then that family of stones began to whisper those stories almost imperceptibly. The little creek was delighted because for the first time, the stories it held took shape. He called upon the wind to carry those tales out into the world. And the wind came to the land and blew around the family of stones, telling the stories it had collected in the mountains and valleys. And the stones once again swelled and created more and more shapes whispering the new stories.
The wind returned again and again to visit that family of stones, bringing with it the seeds of a thousand trees and plants that arrived on the Campo Piano land and took root around those stones to listen to their stories. And they too, like the stream and the wind, told their little tales to the family of stones. And those seeds grew into soft blades of grass, lush shrubs, majestic trees. In this once barren land, water now flowed gushing, the wind blew gently and nature grew strong and flourished.
And the people began to visit that land. The hearts, bodies and spirits of the men were soothed under the shade of those leaves, drinking in the water of that stream, being caressed by that fine wind and above all listening to the stories of that family of stones. And the word spread through the villages: “The Great Stones. The Pietre Ionne that tell stories.”
So they began to call those stones because in the local dialect ‘Ionne’ meant big. After years and years, the legend of the stones was lost in time and in the centuries-old stories of men. The memory of the Pietre Ionne and the place where they dwelt faded in the memory until it almost disappeared. But someone rediscovered the legend of the stone family and thought to revive it.
Today, in that place called Campo Piano, there is a structure that recalls that legend: the PIETREIONNE farmhouse.
There, on a gentle slope, among olive trees and vines caressed by gentle breezes scented with wild flowers, where the chirping of crickets and the chirping of birds keeps away the noisy sounds of civilisation, the body still relieves its fatigue, the spirit is refreshed and the heart is reassured.
There, perhaps, hidden behind a tree trunk or lying on a green meadow, the magical Pietre Ionne still live.