I’ve just come out of the Stele Statue Museum, housed inside the castle, and I still feel disoriented and enchanted by the mysterious human depictions sculpted in sandstone over 1,500 years ago. They have an ancient charm as they look at me, silent and impenetrable, leaving every question about their origins unanswered.
Coming down from the castle to return to the city, I walk through the Piagnaro neighbourhood, a weave of alleys whose tall buildings have rooftops made from strips of “pagne,” sheets of sandstone, from which the ancient village takes its name. It could be the grey colour of the stone or the sunset that elongates the shadows, but I feel like I see the werewolf around every corner. I discovered this legend of Pontremoli perusing the website of Tuscany, Beautiful Everywhere, a project that narrates the histories of each municipality in Tuscany.
The werewolf used to wander around this neighbourhood that up until the beginning of the 1900s didn’t have electricity and so during the night it was enveloped in darkness, influencing the impressions of the locals that find themselves observing the foreign pilgrims passing through, with clothing and features differently from their own. Perhaps it’s just the uneasiness of what I read, but this place is perfect for a story as old as time. The streets slowing peter out and expand before arriving in the center of the city.