Old Calabria By Norman Douglas














































































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The finest part of the forest was traversed in the afternoon. It is
called Janace, and composed of firs and - Page 217
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The Finest Part Of The Forest Was Traversed In The Afternoon.

It is called Janace, and composed of firs and beeches.

The botanist Tenore says that firs 150 feet in height are "not difficult to find" here, and some of the beeches, a forestal inspector assured me, attain the height of 35 metres. They shoot up in straight silvery trunks; their roots are often intertwined with those of the firs. The track is not level by any means. There are torrents to be crossed; rocky ravines with splashing waters where the sunshine pours down through a dense network of branches upon a carpet of russet leaves and grey boulders - the envious beeches allowing of no vegetation at their feet; occasional meadows, too, bright with buttercups and orchids. No pines whatever grow in this forest. Yet a few stunted ones are seen clinging to the precipices that descend into the Coscile valley; their seeds may have been wafted across from the Sila mountains.

In olden days all this country was full of game; bears, stags and fallow-deer are mentioned. Only wolves and a few roe-deer are now left. The forest is sombre, but not gloomy, and one would like to spend some time in these wooded regions, so rare in Italy, and to study their life and character - but how set about it? The distances are great; there are no houses, not even a shepherd's hut or a cave; the cold at night is severe, and even in the height of midsummer one must be prepared for spells of mist and rain.

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