Bassano del Brenta
by Michele Brunelli
This section is a homage to the place where I was born and I have (repeatedly) came back to live.
Ła Brenta river, this is the name in the local language, flows through Bassano del Grappa, Basan /ba'saŋ/ as it is locally called, which is the city where I was born. The river proceeds from Valbrenta 'Brenta Valley', upstream of Bassano, to the lowlands downstream and is joined by tributaries. A network of irrigation ditches called roste (“rogge” in Italian) stretches in the lowlands. They originate from Brenta in Bassano and reach a number of surrounding towns.
In Veneto we have a tendency to use feminine nouns for some basic, life-related elements: not only water, but also ła łate (or el łate) 'milk', ła sałe (or el sałe) 'salt'...and names of rivers. La Brenta and her network thus connect Bassano with Valbrenta, upstream, and the lowlands, downstream. Both the towns in the lowlands and those of Valbrenta have (had) a nice role in my life. Roste were built in the past, they are really a piece of history. Some of them have been buried and now flow underground, others are still visible. Yet others, though visible, are difficult to spot as they run enclosed between the narrow boundaries of two or more properties. Sometimes they flow within private owned land. As arteries in a living body, roste stretch on and beneath the surface of this piece of Veneto, Europe, where I have been living, and sometimes they pop up unexpectedly in places that you usually do not pay attention to. In fact, few of my fellow citizens seem to make a big deal of this inspiring treasure that lives within the fields and between our homes.
I have created these pages to pay a tribute to it before all gets overbuilt. My wish is that the inhabitants grow more aware of this resource, and tourists take advantage of something that is not just tasting (excellent!) "grappa" near Brenta.