We visited Falmenta, the ancestral home of Lawrence Grassi, perhaps Lake O'Hara's most famous trail builder. If you are a Lake O'Hara fan, you've probably admired his trails. His handiwork is the original “Italian Job,” long before Michael Caine and the boys pulled off their movie heist.
|Lawrence Grassi climbing on Castle Mountain|
|Lawrence working on the trails of Lake O'Hara in the 50s.|
|Amanda, Lawrence's great niece, with a|
photo of her grandmother, Lawrence's sister
Falmenta is perched on a steep hillside about an hour's drive from Lake Maggiore, and when we arrived unannounced, we really didn't have much of a plan. In the town's small piazza, we asked around a bit, and were soon introduced to Amanda Grassi, Lawrence's great niece! She took us on a tour to see the house that Lawrence grew up in, and pretty soon we picked up a small entourage of locals. In the local cafe, we learned more about the town, and about their lives, and once we said our goodbyes, we headed into the hills to see what we could see.
|Nadine, Amanda and Emilio, in front of Lawrence's home|
|One of thousands of stone walls around Falmenta|
|An abandoned two story house, made with|
dry stone construction
And we'll be the benefactors again next summer. There will be a new generation of stone-building here, when Amanda's brother-in-law Emilio (married to Lawrence's other great niece) comes out to Canmore in June, 2017. He plans to teach locals dry stone techniques, and together they will restore the trail to Grassi Lakes.
It will be “The Italian Job,” take two.