If you want to immerse yourself in the enchanted world of gnomes, then follow trail signs 227 – 227A, which will lead you from the center of Zone to the hillsides and eventually to the summit of Mount Guglielmo.
These odd figures pop up along the trail. They are not afraid of the rain or the hot sun, nor do they fear the wind or snow – the trees of the forest are always there to protect them. They are never distracted by the mountaineers who want to reach Guglielmo’s peak, nor by the curious little children who venture into the woods to surprise them.
Sometimes it even seems like they talk to their “father”, a man known as “The Redhead of Zone”, whose real name is Luigi Zatti. Indeed, he sculpted the gnomes out of cut tree trunks, which still have their roots in the ground. It almost seems as if they scold him when he does not depict them with their true features, or when they kiss each other Italian-style – everyone knows that gnomes hail from the North, and as such they prefer an Eskimo kiss.
To make sure of everything, and to find out if someone new has appeared in the woods, all you have to do is ask around Zone for the “Forest of Gnomes”.
The woods of the beyond
There was a time when Heaven and Earth could communicate, when men could speak with the gods and with the enchanted creatures of the skies and of the earth, of the air and of the water. The peoples of different nations lived together and shared the same dream: to live in harmony with the rhythm of nature and the seasons, in the city of dreams.
Zone, The wonderful city of pyramids. It existed once upon a time. Today the city of pyramids disappears during the day, when only a trace of it remains, hanging there over piles of rocks.
There’s a ravine between two steep mountains: what remains of the city is over the abyss, tied to the two ridges with ropes and chains and footbridges. Underneath, hundreds and hundreds of meters of emptiness: a cloud passes by here and there; lower down, you can make out the bottom of the gorge.
Further beyond, the lake and its enchanted Island Inaccessible to man during the day, at night the city fills with fantastic creatures that belong to time immemorial: pixies, gnomes, fairies, witches and animals, stories of which are told around fires in the woods.
You can sometimes run into them on solitary paths and in the woods, hiding in plain sight. They take shape and merge with the bark of the trees. They cover themselves with the colors of nature. They are the memory of a time when man lived in symbiosis with the spirit of creation.
Legend has it that every day at dusk, Viola del bosco, a stunning girl with black hair and eyes the color of heaven and earth, would appear in the woods to meet the gaze of her Suitor, her young knight with ice-colored hair, who would vanish every time the light changed. Only when the city of dreams is rebuilt will they be able to live every moment together, in an embrace that brings the harmony of their love to the city and its peoples.
This was the city of Zone, where different peoples settled and waited for that scene to play out again one night. None of them ever saw the woman again – not in their sleep, not in their waking life.
If you believe me, good.
Start the journey. The destination doesn’t matter.