When I visit an historic site I like to imagine the people who might have occupied the very place I’m occupying, but in a different time. What would that person have seen? If there was supernatural gift I could have I’d love to have the ability to stand in a particular place and have time reverse itself before my eyes like a clock rapidly rewinding so that I could be an invisible visitor watching what took place at that spot hundreds, even thousands of years ago.
Whether I was standing in a room in the Bloody Tower of London, or next to a Neolithic open portal tomb in the Burren of Ireland it would be endlessly fascinating to me to watch things unfold. When we stood in the gateway of the old fortezza above Sarzana, Italy I thought of the people who must have come and gone into the fortification at the time when it was the center of economic and defensive activity for the area; messengers, peddlers, lords and beggars, all coming, going, living and dying. What if I could stand on Stirling Bridge in 1297 and watch William Wallace rout the English, or take in market day in little Dicomano – 500 years ago. Even just walking through a field in the English Cotswalds, watching the shepherds earn their bread and cheese could be interesting, or maybe venturing to the point at Loch Ness where St. Columba reportedly saw the legendary monster and commanded it to return to the depths.
Somehow this seems possible when you’re in Europe, where so much time and history is layered so densely in waves you almost can hear the voices and smell the ghosts around you.
How many walked or rode through this narrow entryway into the Sarzana Fortezza? What business brought them there?