When a Cinghiale Comes to Call

Don’t trifle with these creatures.

Cinghiale, which is a wild boar, can be found all over Italy. I’ve heard that, years ago, after their population was dwindling, their northern European cousins were imported. Then Italy found themselves overrun. The havoc they can wreak can be substantial. Think a totaled car due to a fearful wild pig charging your car. Think ravaged crops. These are ravenous animals.

Maybe your only encounter with cinghiale will be on the menu.

If you’re a meat-eater, they’re delicious, no question about it. Roasted, in a ragu, made into sausages and salami. Yum! I’m all in. I have a fascination with seeing them in the wild, however. I’ve encountered them countless times (especially at night) as I make my way up the winding mountain road leading up to my house in Umbria. Seeing a mamma with four of five piglets in tow is a common sight. But, my desire to encounter and observed them officially has been squelched due to some recent devastation they brought to my doorstep, literally.

A day’s work destroyed.

Here’s the story: I’ve recently completed a major outdoor renovation, turning a previously overgrown garden to an expansive stone terrace with a deluxe hot tub for six. The views from the complex (two houses), especially the terrace are breathtaking (see the feature story about the houses if you’re interested).

I’d spent the lion’s share of a very hot and humid day working on the landscaping at the back of the terrace. I’d put in landscaping borders on three levels and had planted twenty lavender plants. I was quite pleased with myself even though I went to bed aching from head to toe. Then, I got up late the following morning and walked down the front steps to the terrace to find total devastation. It looked as though someone had sneaked in with a backhoe in the middle of the night and ripped out and turned over everything I’d done. Even the wooden borders were buried. The lavender plants were either buried or tossed aside in frustration. I guess lavender isn’t a cinghiale delicacy.

I was destroyed.

How could the universe have delivered such a nasty blow to me? Then I remembered I could dust myself off, knowing that my disaster pales in comparison to other natural disasters. No time to be petulant.  No profit in shaking my fist at life for having dealt me this supreme inconvenience, delivered by hungry wild boar.

There was a lesson for me in all this.

You can begin again.

Life can throw a crappy hand at you at times. You can work furiously to achieve a goal, only to have it undone in a flash. It’s bound to happen unless you are a rare creature with a team of sworded guardian angels preventing any mishaps in your life.

As I stood, sighing deeply at the overturned earth, I told myself that this won’t be the last time I encounter such upheaval, literally or metaphorically. I picked up my shovel and set about my work of redoing everything I’d thought was done. Three sweaty hours later the work as completed. At least the wild pig hooves had turned the earth thoroughly and made it easier to work.

Will they come again? Will they have learned and remembered there was nothing to be found in their frantic search? Who knows. Hopefully, I’ll remember my lessons: steer WAY clear of them, and be ready to have my world turned upside down without falling to pieces.


By |2019-08-14T20:45:22+02:00August 14th, 2019|My Life in Italy|10 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!


  1. Yasmin Rivera August 23, 2019 at 10:49 am - Reply

    Buongiorno Jed, You handled the situation with positive determination. I haven’t seen wild boars here yet, only on the menu at our favorite restaurant in Urbino Da Leone right in the center of the Piazza della Republica. We live inside Parco San Bartolommeo in Pesaro so I’m sure we’ll have encounters. Luckily for us they just banned hunting here because hunters actually walked through our property with shotguns and emaciated hunting dogs saying we had no fence so they could. We are not allowed to put up fences so that the animals are free to pass. Just saw a beautiful young buck last week. We have many fruit trees so I wouldn’t mind the cinghiale coming by so it doesn’t go to waste.

    • Jed August 30, 2019 at 9:17 am - Reply

      You raise an important concern, the hunters, and how easily they can wander through your property. At our home in Umbria, when hunting season commences, we’re a bit unnerved by the booms of the shotguns that sound too close for our comfort. We’ve been advised to wear bright colors when out and about so as not to be mistaken as a target. Cinghiale are a fact of life in the countryside. I know I’ll never be able to banish them from coming too close to the house unless I put up an electric fence around the entire perimeter!

  2. Kevin August 14, 2019 at 11:52 pm - Reply

    Really sorry to hear about the destruction after you worked so hard on that project. That really is life isn’t it….just can’t predict when a family of wild boars will show up and ruin things! 🙂 Well at least you have the insight to keep it all in proper perspective. Still, I just can’t help but wonder what your vocabulary was like in the moment? 🙂 Hope it’s not too hard to get things back to the way you want.

    • Jed August 15, 2019 at 9:04 am - Reply

      Actually, Kevin, I was struck speechless in the moment. Bystanders uttered the expletives for me. Oh well, I often think that such events mirror what’s going on in the world. Plenty of upheaval these days!

  3. Angela Paladino August 14, 2019 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    Greatly timed article for me. Thank you for the reminder!

    • Jed August 15, 2019 at 9:07 am - Reply

      Grazie, Angela. We all benefit from reminding each other that life can’t be controlled and that upheavel happens, often at what we consider the most inopportune times. Life sure does keep throwing lessons at us, doesn’t it?

  4. Eloise August 14, 2019 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    Very useful to remember life is full of
    Metaphors. Lessons to be learned and lots to do, enjoy, savor, repeat!!

    • Jed August 15, 2019 at 9:05 am - Reply

      Thanks, Eloise!

  5. Nancy August 14, 2019 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Egads! What a casino! So sorry you had to go they that. Cinghali are nothing to be trifled with for sure.

    • Jed August 15, 2019 at 9:05 am - Reply

      Ciao, Nancy. I’m sure you understand this quite well and have your own encounters!

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