The surest place to find old-growth trees in Italy is around a monastery or hermitage. These retreats were established in remote places centuries ago and the woods and meadows around them have been preserved ever since. Some communities of monks and friars actively tend their sacred groves and grasslands, gathering herbs for the remedies they prepare or truffles and berries for preserves. Others simply retreat to them for prayer and meditation.
I have been recording the sounds of birds, crickets, and even noisy Italian families having dinner in trattorias. In the tranquil woods above La Verna, I am recording the sound of birds singing in ancient beeches and spruce. In the middle of this natural symphony, bells in the monastery below begin to ring, calling the friars to prayer.