16 November 2020

Among my souvenirs

Bella Italia!



Venezia 


Masks....  If only it were that simple; that beautiful.  


Anyway, as we suffer this purgatorial lock-in, it's perhaps only natural that we sift through pleasant memories of past freedoms.... And I cannot help but think of Italy, my home for twenty years, and, up until this pandemic, where Amanda and I have kept visiting several times a year.

In the last half century or so I have travelled throughout Italy, marvelling at the light, the art, the variety, the scenery.  I will never tire of it, though, I cannot deny, it isn't perfect.  Rubbish is a problem.  Politics is a problem.  Progress is a problem (?)

But here are a few of my snapshots from years ago. These are an almost random sample of colour slides I took on various jaunts when all of us were younger, and the future was bright.  Great art they are not, but if for a moment you can join me on an armchair tour of Italy, then sit back and relax.....

The Dolomites.  Stunning mountains and wonderful villages.  I remember beds of eider down, frosty walks with myrtle grappa breath.  Still waters and passing clouds.  Heaven....





Dolomites 


The islands. Perhaps everyone knows something of Sicily, and maybe Sardinia. But there are many more Italian islands. The Tremiti islands in the Adriatic, for example, sparkle with a deceptive beauty, even though the waters may be swarming with stingers......


Tremiti Islands 


Amanda and I used to take short breaks on Ponza, a relatively short journey south from Rome.  Once across the water from Anzio on the Hydrofoil, or bobbing across from Formia on a ferryboat, you entered a different world, where wild flowers, seafood and exotic bird life blended into a fantasy I could now die for....



Ponza 


And possibly my favourite, Giglio, where my memories confuse nightly jazz on the stepped streets of Il Castello, with snorkelling amongst rainbows of little fish and gleaming bream deep amongst the off shore rocks....



Porto, Isola del Giglio 


The mountains of central Italy. The Abruzzi National Park, with its wolves and hilltop villages, its fungi, the lamb cutlets that burn your fingers, and its dark red wine....



Opi, The Abruzzi National Park 

Or the unstable hollow that shelters Norcia, birthplace of St Benedict, and, thanks to the genius of monks centuries ago (who devised a way of keeping irrigation water from freezing so they could raise three crops of rice a year, and so had plenty to feed their pigs....) home of the most wonderful hams and sausages.....






Norcia 

And the hidden, wild places, like this frozen lake in central southern Italy - Il Lago di Matese.  Just beautiful.....




There are so many wonderful places.  Incessant travelling has not exhausted the treasures of this country.  Urbino, for example, with its vast Palazzo Ducale, is one of hundreds, if not thousands, of extraordinary towns.....




Less well known, and far less rich, is Montescaglioso, in Basilicata, in the south.  But no less fascinating for that....




And then there is the infamous, and now trendy, Matera, with its 'Sassi' - once miserable dug out hovels, now bijou apartholtels.  This is how it looked in 1990, not so very different from when Christ stopped at Eboli....




That is about all for now, as a whistle stop tour from top to toe of my beloved Italy, but it would be wrong to finish without a mention of the people. Everywhere has its idiots - we have Johnson and Gove et al; Italy has Berlusconi, and Matteo Salvini..... But my experience of Italians has been something to treasure.  I have always found people welcoming and open. Whether this man and his monkey by the canal at Fiumicino (July 1981)....




Or memorable nights in Rome, here atop the Janiculum Hill in Trastevere, a short walk from where I lived.  High on his horse is Garibaldi, a symbol, perhaps, of an aspect of Italy which outshines the myths and jokes, the failures and the mistakes.  There is something splendid to be found, if you take the trouble to look for it....

I just wish I could be there now.








2 comments:

  1. Gorgeous photos. I wish I was there too!

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  2. Fabulous memories, stunning photography. Thank you x

    ReplyDelete