Social and economic trends have made a good number of people gravitate towards big cities. Big cities have then been connected with huge highways and speed trains. The map of our countries has been drawn by forces like productivity, efficiency, achieving more at a lower cost. We have then embraced that map in our lives: we live in those big cities, we buy in huge and efficient stores, we travel through those fast highways and visit the amusements and attractions of other big places, popularized through the hype of massive social media. We are quickly becoming a hive-mind, hardly any different than an ant colony. We all do the same, we all think the same.
But if you look carefully to our own maps, there is a hidden story, outshined by the bright colors and the thick lines of our speedways. It is a story about our heritage, about a time where capital and efficiency did not rule our world and we lived in smaller communities, close to the rivers, working the land. It is there if you look, but dots are small, lines are thin and names are unknown.
And still that map hides an even more precious secret. Within those unheard villages there are spots, not even shown in the maps, where you can find places built under so exceptional conditions: beauty, attention to the detail, closeness, familiarity. These are secret gems that shake you from your daily pre-conceptions and show you a different way of conceiving life. The moment you find them, you feel at home, in the deepest sense of that word. They connect us with what we have been for so long and have now forgotten.
I've been using Rusticae as my map of hidden secrets for very long now. Thanks to them I've discovered a dozen of their jewels, far far away from where I live in that deep sense I was referring to. They all have helped me gain perspective, slow down and simply enjoy.
I had the privilege of meeting Rusticae's two founders recently and was delighted to see that they are, just as you would expect, seekers of treasures, adventurers willing to keep exploring the forgotten lands to unveil more and more of its secrets. They inspire us to look for them too and connect with a different view of our world. And they have never failed to deliver, selecting what is truly unique and memorable.
For those who have never used Rusticae, it is never too late, for the rest of us, it is never a bad time. But please remember: no GPS allowed, no Google Maps, no iPhone. Who knows, you may be lucky and get lost.