The name of the picnic area – Musolino – reminded me too much of Italy’s erstwhile dictator, but we had just left the zone of the fog, and after the disappointment at the peak of Mount Dinnammare we were happy for any opportunity to stretch our legs and go for a walk in the forest.
We left the car behind and took the first path that we saw. No destination. Dense forest, birds, a cloudy day, not exactly warm, trees that had fallen over, a little wilderness, and all of this only a few minutes away from Messina. Good that the mountain is so steep, otherwise it would be completely built over already.
But then I spot something through the bushes. What is this, in the middle of the thicket?
A house, but a deserted one. I can’t detect any path that would lead to the house, so it must have been left a few years ago already. Windows and doors are open. I am filled with curiosity, but I don’t even try to convince my mother and my sister that a closer inspection of this mysterious home is a good idea.
Fortunately, as it shall turn out soon.
Because after another 15-minute march we find more relics of a bygone civilization. These are not only more accessible, they are directly next to the path, but they are also considerably more interesting than a simple residential building.
A chapel. Nothing much left of the interior decoration. Only a simple wooden cross and two frames which once adorned valuable icons. In symmetry they stand behind the altar, like a signal to posterity.
Then, this appears.
Now I don’t have to convince anyone. We are all on fire. We have to go over there! We find a very large, not too old building, ornamented with merlons and classical arches. With its terraces, its large windows and the pond, it appears to me like it used to be a restaurant.
But now everything is empty, destroyed, left behind.
When windows and doors stand open like this, one is almost compelled to accept the invitation thus expressed. To be on the safe side, we listen attentively for a while. Nothing. No voices, no other sounds, no chainsaws.
We step inside. Carefully, we move through the long corridors and along the crumbly stairs into the higher levels, floor by floor.
Except for a few graffiti, which were obviously added later, we find no written or other indicators of the former use or the year of construction, let alone the story of this village, which mainly consisted of a chapel and this pompous building.
The internet allows me to have hope that someone from Messina will come forward who is able to shed light on the story behind these ruins. – UPDATE: My Sicilian landlord, who showed me Mount Dinnammare in the first place, was really quick in answering my question. Please see Alessio’s detailed comment below.