Silence, please

Visiting Lake Orta over the holidays, we took a trip out to the Isola San Giulio, home to a Benedictine monastery and very little else apart from a few houses and a gift shop.

As you get off the boat a sign welcomes you to the island and reminds you to shut up and be spiritual.

A path circles the island, offering you little other than views of the walls of the monastery and occasional glimpses down slipways to the water’s edge. But then I started noticing the signs. At first I thought they were simple “shut up” reminders.

But the message varied each time.

Considering that there wasn’t much to see or do there, my attention latched on to the metal plaques as the sole point of interest, and I found myself rushing from one to the next, eager to see the latest pearl of wisdom.

I even discovered that they had different messages on the reverse side, but my travelling companion didn’t take kindly to my suggestion that we go back to the start and check the backs of the ones we’d missed.

And then it was time to leave.