One of the periods that most affected my life was undoubtedly the one at the age of majority. I was studying hard to get the driving license that finally allowed me to get out of the shell of my village in the Brianza near Bergamo. It was the period of the first trips with elder friends, already driving, the spring period of 1992, when, to impress the beautiful girls of the company, we took them to visit old churches and hidden beaches along the Adda, river that I always considered magical and enigmatic at the same time.
We were like budding Goonies ... like young Ghostbusters who feared nothing and no one.
It was during one of those evenings "to the discovery of our innocent unknown" that one of my, even more dear friends today, said that there was a place that would surely have intrigued us and give us an evening full of sinister emotions. A village stopped in time just a few kilometers from our starting point, Busnago. It was the workers' village of Crespi d'Adda, a place that has impressed me in my soul from the first moment I entered it.
As usual, we gathered in the square after dinner, to divide us in the few cars at the time available, and leave, with the favor of darkness, to the discovery... and that time we would not have to face the usual semi abandoned church, the usual beach where we hoped to flirt or the usual path in the woods or under the dark bridges of the Adda. That time we had to deal with the cemetery of an entire village that had remained stuck in the early 1900s.
Arriving at Crespi in the evening, from the road that arrives from Capriate San Gervasio, passing over the picturesque bridge of Trezzo d'Adda, you can not but to be breathless. The road is straight, downhill, one kilometer or so long.
That night, at the entrance to the village, there was no trace of the workers' houses or the imposing working complex, both still hidden by a wall and some trees. Before us stood only one thing: the outline of the pyramidal mausoleum, with the peak illuminated only by some spotlights. It was already visible in the distance, straight ahead of us, at the end of the cemetery, after an avenue surrounded by two rows of tall and sinister cypresses. We had not yet arrived at the entrance that the girls were already frightened, and I must admit that a veil of fear had also fallen on me.
Continuing along the avenue, reached the height of the town, the atmosphere was more and more full of fear and mystery. On our right the old spinning mill, on the left the workers' houses all the same. It really seemed that time had stopped, as if to retain the ancient everyday life of that place. In front of us, ever closer and darker, with its illuminated mausoleum, here is the cemetery of Crespi d'Adda. Even though we knew the village was still inhabited, there was no "living soul" around.
At the end of the driveway, we parked the cars in a side lane, not to give too much attention, and full of curiosity, we began to walk along the part of the avenue leading to the gates of the cemetery, under the eyes of the two tall rows of cypress trees, and we felt ourselves observed. We walked slowly, all united, even the most fearless of us, those who always joked about these things on, at that time they could not even be funny, and no one had the strength to laugh. The atmosphere was dismal and the latter never passed, punctuated by our slow steps.
Now near the gate of the cemetery, a structure of heavy metal beaten with spikes to prevent anyone from stepping over it, even the spring air stopped being fresh. The atmosphere was like freezing. At the sight of the tombs, we had to admit that they were not so scary; it was the mausoleum that made us nervous. It was built as a funerary chapel for the Crespi family. On the top, looking at us from above, stood the figure of a seated woman, as if she were watching over something. The cemetery was rectangular with walls on three sides, as if it were a gigantic, sinister embrace, as if to demonstrate the benevolence of the Crespi lords towards the village workers, who were buried here.
I do not deny that our initial intention, to impress the girls, was to climb the gates and take a walk up the steps of the mausoleum, but after a few minutes passed in silent contemplation, the desire passed... we were more and more worried from that place... so we decided to try to calm down, allowing us a "relaxing" walk through the rows of houses, abandoning the idea of exploring the cemetery that night. Although it was spring, a light fog embraced the village, and, again, we had to see that there was not a living soul around.
During that walk we shared the feelings that each of us had just felt. Someone claimed there were ghosts, someone else began to tell stories heard about the children's graves, others kept thinking about that figure of a woman carved on top of the mausoleum, believing she was a goddess who watched over the souls of those buried in that cemetery, or a mother.
Many years have passed since that night, but my feelings about the village of Crespi d'Adda have never changed.
By now I know that place by heart. How many days spent visiting the alleys between those houses all similar; how many nights spent on the beaches of the Brembo river, reachable from the cemetery of Crespi through a path surrounded by woods, to the right of the walls. How many moments spent silently staring at the watch of the working complex, which still today marks 16.51.
Crespi d'Adda gave me a lot of emotions, and he still gives me every time I cross his gates. It still happens to me, with my dearest friends, to organize summer barbecues along the banks of the Brembo passing behind the cemetery, and every time I happen to leave the A4 highway in Trezzo or Capriate I never miss going through those streets.
I have always been fascinated by the buildings, perfectly restored, with the mysterious atmosphere of which the air is filled, from the thought that one day this place was a flourishing working village that owes its history to a willing and benevolent family towards its citizens and workers. A reality that is not only to be seen on a sunny summer Sunday, but that should be lived with that spirit of adventurous teenagers that brought me there the first time. The free spirit of those young people "to discover an innocent unknown" on a spring night. To give more meaning to my words, I would like to invite you to view the following video.
Foto da letiziaturra.com e irintronauti.altervista.org