Thursday, June 30, 2011

As with most old architecture from Europe and around the world, I am moved by how colorful a whole town or architectural style can be. What happened to that? At least, speaking on modern architecture in the United States, in general. Whether residential or commercial spaces, the color palette you often find in the U.S. is so drab, inside and out. To say nothing of the dull architecture itself. I don't want white walls unless their crisp and complimented with deep and dreamy blues, as you'd find in the Cyclades (Greece). Give me yellow stripes, pinks, and pastels any day!

Sori at left, Lerici at right.

Location: Liguria, Italy ★

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

To compliment the colorful villages that dot the sea- and hillsides, Liguria is lush with green, green, and more green, as far as the eye can see. Or so it seems.

The cliffs surrounding Camogli at left, garden-loving Portovenere at right.

Location: Liguria, Italy ★

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One of the many reasons that I avoid summer travel in Europe is because I hate crowds. Hate, hate, hate. I don't like fighting through throngs of tourists in an effort to try and enjoy my time abroad. This isn't to say that you won't still encounter a madhouse in the more popular cities or spots, but I promise you it will be far less mad than during high season. The proof is in the pictures.

Boat service between the Cinque Terre towns and some of the other picturesque fishing villages along this sunny swath of Italy typically starts in late spring and runs through the summer. But demand in spring can be pleasantly low. I was on this afternoon ferry from Lerici to Portovenere at like, three o'clock in the afternoon or so? And I was one of maybe four or five passengers total, tops. It was fantastic! A front and center window perch all to myself.

And that's Tigre there, at the bottom. Miss you, Tiger. Love to think about how much fun you must be having this summer, meeting and greeting the throngs at your little intersection.

Location: Portovenere, Italy ★

Monday, June 27, 2011

Step right up! From big sets to small, Liguria is sea of stairs.

The town of Sori on the left, Riomaggiore on the right.

Location: Liguria, Italy ★

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Liguria is a riot of light and dark, of wide open spaces and narrow lanes. I love the contrasts it offers.

The beach at left is Bonassola, and the passageway on the right is one of Genoa's famous caruggi or tiny alleyways. It is said that Genoa has the largest labyrinth of these medieval old streets in all of Europe.

Location: Liguria, Italy ★

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Probably the most popular of the Cinque Terre towns with Americans, Vernazza is jam-packed with tourists during the day. I hear it's nicer at night when the majority retire to other towns, but I wouldn't know because I've never stayed that long. I just can't handle the throngs. The town is too tiny on the main drag to really enjoy with the number of visitors it routinely packs in.

I think Rick Steves is pretty much to thank for its popularity. At least with the American set. His guidebooks are the most used in Europe by Americans, I believe.

Location: Vernazza, Italy ★

Friday, June 24, 2011

One of the prettiest sunsets I've seen in the flesh.

Location: Camogli, Italy ★

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I can't stress enough that if you're headed to Liguria and want to enjoy it to the full, your legs and overall stamina had better be in top form. Liguria is the land of stairs, and they be no joke folks. That said, the payoff if you can hang is high. And on high! The views from the top are always amazing.

That's lovely Lerici on the left and my favorite Camogli on the right.

Location: Liguria, Italy ★

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I love old Italian walls. From left to right: Tellaro, Portovenere, and Sarzana.

Location: Liguria, Italy ★

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

One of the ornate Palazzi dei Rolli that I strolled through, adorned wall-to-wall with paintings pint-sized to palatial.

Location: Genoa, Italy ★

Monday, June 20, 2011

Listed as one of i borghi più belli d'Italia - the most beautiful villages of Italy - Campo Ligure is certainly that. Though I only spent about 30 minutes wandering around the old town center, I was instantly smitten and look forward to returning when I'm healthy and don't have to rush back to my hotel to rest and dose up on cold meds.

Location: Liguria, Italy ★

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Another peek at Rolli Days, when Genoa's many pretty palaces - the UNESCO recognized Palazzi dei Rolli - are open for all to explore and enjoy, gratis.

Location: Genoa, Italy ★

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Liguria definitely has flower power. From left to right, the towns of Sarzana, Lerici, and Portovenere. Divine, right?

Location: Liguria, Italy ★

Friday, June 17, 2011

Still on the topic of trompe l'oeil, the most enchanting applications aren't hidden behind palace doors. Instead you can find them outside, gracing the exteriors of traditional residential buildings and churches throughout the region.

The example on the left was a pleasant surprise after a long climb to the top of Sori, and the two on the right are in equally steep and soulful Camogli.

Location: Liguria, Italy ★

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Liguria has some of the loveliest examples of trompe l'oeil anywhere, with some of the most breathtaking specimens found in the plethora of 16th and 17th-century palaces lining Genoa's grand old town boulevards.

I was lucky enough to be there this May for Rolli Days, when La Superba opens its many UNESCO World Heritage Palazzi dei Rolli to host special art installations, live music and theatrical performances, and guided tours. All free to the public. It was fantastic. I was in trompe l'oeil fresco-ceiling heaven, as pictured.

Location: Genoa, Italy ★

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pretty Sarzana was prettiest in pink. What I wouldn't give to have a window like that on the world.

Location: Sarzana, Italy ★

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Though I'm generally not a fan of organized religion, I am a huge fan of churches - mainly of the external architecture, but sometimes the internal art and architecture, too. And while I'm not enough of an architecture buff to know for certain, it seems that as striped churches in Italy go, Liguria is the place to go to find the most magnificent variety.

The black-and-white striped church on the right is in the Cinque Terre town of Monterosso. A busy and well-touristed town, it seems a challenge to get a moment alone with this charming church during normal business hours, so to speak. I was in a thick crowd of gawkers on a weekday in May when I snapped this shot.

In contrast, the church on the right in Camogli is delightfully difficult to reach, and I was entirely alone with it. I'd spotted it on its hilltop perch from much lower down in town, and asked a group of local men how I might get up there. They pointed out the route and explained that it was connected to a monastery.

The next week I promptly got sick and all but gave up on seeing the church up close on this visit to Italy. But, by the grace of God perhaps, I felt strong enough on my last day to make the trek. I did it in honor of my youngest brother, who I'd found out a day or two before was in the hospital with a mysterious and virulent pneumonia. I'm agnostic, so I thought it would be nice to make the climb and say a prayer for him on the off chance that it might actually help.

I'm happy to say that two weeks later, my brother was released from the hospital to recover at home. He's still recovering and I like to think that in some small way, my visit to this pretty, sunny-striped church and the prayer I said for him there is part of why he's cruising comfortably back to good health now.

Location: Liguria, Italy ★

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Ciao, Tigre!" said a man with affection, clearly a local resident intimately familiar with the friendly striped beast before him, as he crouched down to give Tiger a little love. Tiger pranced up to the man excitedly and relished in the attention. That's Tiger in the top shot, sunning himself and his ample amber belly.

Though I only spent about 15 minutes with him, Tiger regarded me as an old friend. Seems he treats everyone like that, locals and visitors alike.

I met him standing at the center of a heavy pedestrian intersection in pretty Portovenere, meowing enthusiastically and physically blocking people's paths in an attempt to get them to slow down and spend some heavy-petting time with him. The absolute sucker for cats that I am, I happily stopped and stayed a while.

Tiger's stone cousin there in the bottom shot is one of the two lovely lions gracing the entrance to San Lorenzo Cathedral in Genoa's enchanting old town. I'd have to compare photos, but I think these San Lorenzo lions look uncannily like the one standing at attention outside the Arsenale in Venice. Both have the identical sad, stressed out countenance, as if they're on the verge of tears. Same sculptor with the odd ability to make stone cats cry?

Location: Liguria, Italy ★

Sunday, June 12, 2011

No, I did not have the "Hamburger Salad". But yes, I considered it. Briefly. I mean, so far as I know, you can't get such a thing Stateside.

As a self-taught calligrapher (who's not done much calligraphy in a long while), I love poring over other people's handwriting. So it figures that I'd have a thing for photographing handwritten menus. In the menu on the right, I particularly like the look of enoteca. How about you?

Location: Monterosso (Cinque Terre), Italy ★

Saturday, June 11, 2011

This was essentially the weather for the duration of my two-week trip (Camogli on the left, Monterosso on the right, shot on the same picture-perfect day). Sadly, I only really got out and about for week one, as I spent pretty much all of week two sick with a nasty cold. The first week was so amazing though, as you can see, that I can't complain about lost week two photo opps. Plus, the second week was too hot to explore much, with temperatures rising into the 80s and feeling like it was well into the 90s. The first week was perfect - low to mid 70s every day.

Location: Liguria, Italy ★

Friday, June 10, 2011

For those of you who admired the shadow of the laundry hanging out to dry in yesterday's post, here's the bigger picture. There's the colorful laundry line and just to the left of where the guy in red is sitting is where my guy in blue was standing and posing for his portrait.

Location: Camogli, Italy ★

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I met this dapper gent on the first day of my trip in my favorite Ligurian fishing village, Camogli. Our conversation was entirely in Italian, so it was entirely a miracle that we seemed to be having a conversation at all. I didn't catch his name, but did learn that he is a transplant to Camogli from Abruzzo, after the war, which I gathered to be WWII. We marveled at the perfect weather that morning and he wondered how Camogli could be in any way superior to California. I assured him that in many more ways than one, it was. He didn't seem convinced. Perhaps if my command of Italian wasn't so limited I could have swayed him.

For the next little - or long - while, since I've been so badly neglecting this blog, I'm going to post a photo a day - I hope - from my recent trip to Liguria. This is good incentive for me to slowly go through my photos and share pieces of the experience publicly. I'd normally whip everything into an immediate post-trip blog post on Notes but life is so busy lately that I just can't make that happen. Plus, it'd be nice to share bits of my journey without the pressure to compose a more journalistic detailing of events. I'll save that for later when I truly have the time. And I don't necessarily want to make available or feel that these image are ready for purchase, so my Fotomotologue is also the wrong place to publish them at present. So in the meantime, I hope you enjoy a look at Liguria here, day by day (or as close to day by day as I can manage), as seen through my eyes this spring.

Location: Camogli, Italy ★


Related Posts with Thumbnails