I love Italy. Our trip to Northern Italy was filled with wonderful sights and smells and sounds. In the presence of the massive buildings dating back hundreds of years, it was easy to be oblivious to the beauty of simple things. On my return home, I realized that many of my favorite photographs are along the streets and neighborhoods we passed through on our way “somewhere else”.
The towns through which we travelled are ancient. Civita di Banoregio, for example, was founded by Etruscans over twenty-five hundred years ago. There are Etruscan and Roman ruins everywhere. But for this post, just look at the construction of this wall. You can see the seemingly primitive, but obviously durable, methods of erecting these walls and this archway. Raw, enduring, but beautiful, nonetheless.
Houses and streets are built primarily of stone, concrete, stucco nd mortar. There is evidence of generations of foot traffic. We walked by this hallway in an area of private residences. Like many neighborhoods in Northern Italy, heavy exterior doors open into hallways and common courtyards with plants, bicycles–a favorite method of transportation–and concrete benches. I love the muted colors leading up to the splash of red.
The path on which Terry is standing goes nowhere. Throughout the area, towns stand atop hills that plunge almost straight down to the valleys below. Here the stone wall and wrought iron fence protect travelers from the edge of one of Umbria’s many cliffs.
I love the flags and banners that line this street. They add just enough color to be fun to the stone and stucco buildings. The banners are important to the culture of many communities, are important in celebration and festivals. There is even a sport/art requiring the tossing of the banners high into the air and–hopefully–catching them before they fall.
The red and green flowers follow the road from the first door on the right through to the turn in the road. The massive walls dwarf the red door and the color simply disappears in a vee running through the middle of the photograph encourages the explorer to follow the bend in the road to the next adventure. It is evident these streets are used primarily by pedestrians, bicycles and motor scooters rather than automobiles and trucks.
Many of the towns through which we walked were older than we could ever find in the States. It is often difficult to assess whether the residents lived affluent or simple lives, the exteriors of the buildings were uniquely appealing, made more so by the profusion of geraniums of every hue.
Locals described to us that some families lived in homes that had been in their families for generations. This home appeared to be quite luxurious with elegant touches in the arches, doors, crest on the wall and what appears to be a private garden through the stairway and door in the left corner of the wall. The ivy softens the harsh stone and balances the shades of muted reds, yellows and greens that harmonize with the lavender on the doors and windows.
For me these photographs bring back memories of a great trip. I hope they convey some sense of the simple beauty of the hill country.