Published: October 23rd 2012October 23rd 2012
My very first sight of Italy was when we were flying; following the coastline along the West down to Rome. The light was diffuse, it was early afternoon and the dark water was sparkling in the sunlight. The rolling hills of that region are dotted with farms; the sections of which are irregular and misshapen compared to the very neat squares of farm acreage we see in the U.S. The patches of trees and plants were a crazy quilt draped over the landscape. Dotted here and there were small communities; towns and villages, glowing among the verdant greens.
Rome is a busy city, bustling at all hours, traffic rumbling and horns honking. The motor scooters buzz by the cars and buses, they weave in and out with centimeters to spare, horns beep constantly. The pedestrians are bold, they walk into the street fully confident that whatever forms of transportation are barreling down on them will stop, which is exactly what happens. All of the drivers are talking on their cell phones or texting. People in the street shout at each other over the traffic noise, or at the drivers as they pass.
Within the city's
ancient walls, much of which still stands, there are jarring reminders of how old this civilization is at every turn. Even away from the central parts of the Roman Forum and Colosseum; sections of the walls are built into more modern structures. There is an odd juxtaposition of the old, the less old, and the farly modern throughout the city.
Italians are uber fashionable. And they make it look like they don't even try. They all smoke. They walk fast.
At the coast, in Positano, the light is different, like everything is muted or sepia tone. It seems to have weight, and be of a different consistency, flowing over the water and up the hillsides. It blends the riot of colors and binds the view into a whole; rooftops, olive and lemon groves, buildings stacking down to the shore, the water beyond. Time moves slower here, but traffic does not. The winding roads and narrow streets are constant with people, cars and scooters. The views are spectacular, a postcard at every turn.
Wine flows at every meal, locally made white or red; lush and sweet and dry and amazing. Pasta is fresh, silky and dressed in any
number of sauces, made with the herbs and tomatoes grown in terrace gardens. Briny clams and sweet shrimp, tender calamari and octopus, clean fresh fish offered up with simple preparation to let them shine. Bread, crusty and warm and so tender on the inside-dip in the olive oil or swipe at the extra sauce. Creamy white mozzarella offset by prosciutto and tangy green Sicilian olives. Gelato-in colors and flavors to boggle the mind. Bubbly dry prosecco? Tart limoncello? Perhaps a dark smooth espresso? Yeah, the food was good.
Finally, a note: Now that we're back in the good 'ol US of A, with fully accessible internet, I will be wrapping up the trip blog, with photos, over the next week or so.
There are more photos below