Sunday, February 3, 2013


Water II

Borro delle Ripe

Borro delle Ripacce

At le Ripe there are two streams which carry water down the hill towards the Pesa. The Pesa is a 'torrente' or ephemeral river, which means that it dries up or goes underground in the summer months. 
 The two streams can be seen on this map from the Catasto Leopoldino, the land register in Siena which dates back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Le Ripe was called Le Ripacce then.
In the Catasto today's borro delle Ripe was fosso del Nicione and the borro delle Ripacce was fosso delle Stinche. 

original land registry map with two streams in bottom right hand corner: 
the Pesa is at the top of map

The day before we returned home last November, a tremendous rainstorm had inundated the hill.The two streams overflowed and swept stones and earth every which way. 

For one account of this event, see our post for Saturday December 1st 2012. 
For another, more classical and poetic account of such phenomena, 
read below.

"...sunt igitur venti ni mirum corpora caeca,
quae mare, quae terras, quae denique nubila caeli
verrunt ac subito vexantia turbine raptant,
nec ratione fluunt alia stragemque propagant             

et cum mollis aquae fertur natura repente
flumine abundanti, quam largis imbribus auget
montibus ex altis magnus decursus aquai
fragmina coniciens silvarum arbustaque tota,
nec validi possunt pontes venientis aquai              

vim subitam tolerare: ita magno turbidus imbri
molibus incurrit validis cum viribus amnis,
dat sonitu magno stragem volvitque sub undis
grandia saxa, ruit qua quidquid fluctibus obstat."

"....the winds,
'Tis clear, are sightless bodies sweeping through
The sea, the lands, the clouds along the sky,
Vexing and whirling and seizing all amain;
And forth they flow and pile destruction round,
Even as the water's soft and supple bulk
Becoming a river of abounding floods,
Which a wide downpour from the lofty hills
Swells with big showers, dashes headlong down
Fragments of woodland and whole branching trees;
Nor can the solid bridges bide the shock
As on the waters whelm: the turbulent stream,
Strong with a hundred rains, beats round the piers,
Crashes with havoc, and rolls beneath its waves
Down-toppled masonry and ponderous stone,
Hurling away whatever would oppose."

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura Book I Verses 277-289
trans. William Ellery Leonard (1876 - 1944)

...content by De Rerum Natura 


  1. Wonderful quotation. Who is the translator?

  2. William Emery Leonard...thanks for asking, it should have been recorded...


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