Isola Ecologica or Hillsborough Dump – by any other name the dumpster diving is just as sweet. For over thirty years, an ornate Jacobean carved hutch graced my homes. When we made the decision to spend more time in Italy, I never should have sold it. The piece was found by my mother, sans the doors embazoned with nude figures, in the Hillsborough dump. Her pal found the doors in another part of the dump. In the early 1960s a Saturday morning run to the dump was an adventure. You brought your garbage and left with someone else’s garbage. Only it wasn’t garbage it was a treasure in need of a new home. Sigh, I miss those days…
Here in Pontelandolfo, fifty years later – could that be true – I was taken back to those blissful adventures at the local dump. We contracted a new internet provider and found ourselves with an old Dish TV style antennae. The big lug stared at us and dared us to toss it. We stared back from Tuesday until Saturday. We won. It would be tossed and we would take our first trip to the Pontelandolfo dump! Excuse me – dump is too common a term for the Sannio Hills. That Saturday, we followed the newly resurfaced mountain road to the Isola Ecologica! One thing the ugly wind turbines did for the town was the repaving of roads going up the mountain. I am embarrassed to say that in ten years I had never ridden the road we live on that far up the incredibly beautiful hill.
Soon houses were gone and more and more intricately shaped white boulders peppered the fields. The road took us up past enormous nature carved rock faces hugging the mountain side. The ride was gorgeous. We didn’t know what to expect so we kept on waiting for a sign or something. No, not a sign from the celestial hill side. A sign that said Isola Ecologica.
The sign was – well there was no sign. Like a dumpster diving oasis, the Isola Ecologica just rose up out of the mountain side. We weren’t sure what the protocol was and like “Harriet the Spy” parked outside the gate and spied.
Jack, I whispered, look some guy is stacking pieces of wood on the roof of his car. Seriously, he isn’t dumping it, he is taking it.
I started laughing so hard the Fiat rocked. Another guy was rummaging through what looked like a giant display of electronics after the Black Friday sale had reduced it to rubble. Until he stood up and proudly raised a monitor over his head, I had only seen his legs. Here on an Italian mountaintop, I had been transported back to the Hillsborough, New Jersey dump! I could see my mother and her pals dragging chairs missing only one leg or a seat out of enormous piles.
We finally pulled into the yard and Lorenzo, the helpful super of the yard, pointed to the bin the giant dish should go into. There was the electronics bin, wood bin, plastics bin, section for things like refrigerators and stoves, furniture piles and something I have never seen before.
Memories can be triggered by the smallest things. I miss that ornately carved hutch, restored by my mom and loved by everyone who visited my homes. I miss my mom and the joy she could find in a day of dumpster diving. Next time I feel sad, I’ll take something that may or may not need tossing and visit the Isola Ecologica.
7 thoughts on “Dumpster Diving Italian Style”
Maine still does (dumpster diving). The dump has a center with treasures to pull from and the mid coast message board is full of treasures from the area. We love it!
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Ciao Midge, loved your post, so glad you mentioned Lorenzo! What a sweetheart he is! When One day if you haven’t already, keep going on that gorgeous-view road–it’s the “back way” from your house and Isola Ecologica and winds up going past our house’s stradina. :)))))))
We explored that very day!
Amazing, these hidden (piu’ o meno) paved goat paths all over town with fab views, huh? Just breathtaking. 🙂
I love walking around on the night before “bulk pick up” and see what our neighbors are tossing. I got a perfectly good oscillating fan for my office that way. Glad to read you are free cycling in Italy.
I love reading your stories. They remind me of my childhood & what it might have been like to live with my grandparents in Italy. Hopefully before my days are up, I’ll make a trip to visit their home, Bare’ & Naples.
Happy Thanksgiving to both of you.
RitaAnn Carbonaro (Smurra)
Rita, we hope you have the opportunity to visit the towns of your heritage. Bari and Naples are both wonderful.