March 22, 2020

Italy

Recently, Italy's been mentioned only in relation to the virus outbreak. To add something to the brighter side, here's my experience of the country, with a collection of some of my favorite photos from there.

Ages ago, I learned about Italy because of its contribution to the art world. From Ancient Rome to Futurism, there were countless items to get through. I remember that when I saw reproductions of Renaissance paintings depicting undulating landscapes with saturated sunsets for the first time. I thought that "these painters must've had a vivid fantasy." But when I visited the country for the first time, I observed that they just copied what they saw.

Rome, 2011. Among the most colorful sunsets that I saw up to that time (that was before living in the Midwest).

Seeing the artworks in person was fantastic, and I knew that that isn't the last time I am here. It definitely deserved another look. I returned there a couple times since, and each time I had a wonderful time. There's beauty on every corner. Palaces, villas, mansions, city houses, walls that are thousands of years old... It is like walking through an open-air museum. Somewhere, that is literally the case, like on the Roman Forum:

Basilica of Massenzio (left) and Santa Francesca Romana (right). In simple words, massive, very old, impressive.

Elsewhere, history just sits there.

Fortino di San Pietro in Civitavecchia.

Generally, any city sized over a population of 50,000 guarantee plenty of heritage.

Many cities have a main cathedral, sometimes accompanied with a tower and a baptistery, which often serve as the craftsmanship pinnacle of the place, with stunning details inside...

...and outside.

Pisa

Plenty of the smaller towns pack some mind-blowing beauty too.

14th-century Cathedral in Orvieto (pop.: ~20,000)

In fact, I haven't been to any place in Italy that wouldn't have unique, pretty features. And it's not only the old stuff. There are recent gems too. (The pics below are from Milan)

San Siro, a football stadium built in 1926

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Recent developments in Porta Garibaldi

Interior of Museo del Novecento

Style's everywhere. Even in a category which many people overlook: industrial.

That's right. Tons of Italian factories look better than many city halls in other countries.

Some tourists spend their vacation lying on a beach, others by admiring halls like this. A part of this complex is an administrative building with marble staircases.

...while not all factories have marble stairs, they all provide some excitements. Like this one, near Lago di Garda,

They have so many, a big number is sadly crumbling into their decay.


The style goes beyond architecture. It is no secret that lots of leading design firms are from Italy, and it is reflected in its streets. Even in small villages, plenty of people look like they just left a catwalk of a fashion show. It is not about the expensive logos, tho. Buying a branded T-shirt won't buy elegance. It is about mixing the right colors and perhaps the right accessories. And locals do that well.

Then you have all sorts of interior design, automobile industry... even towers of high voltage power lines look cool - as captured near Scarperia e San Piero.


And what's more, the landscapes that surround the settlements are fantastic nonetheless.

Civita di Bagnoregio

Italy has anything from seas to 4,000+m /13,000ft+ mountains.

The south of the Lecco Province.

Shores of Lago di Como

Rolling hills near Assisi. Hope to revisit this place one day.


But, while the surfaces found above are objectively worth consideration, I wouldn't see the country all that positive if it wouldn't be of the encounters with locals I experienced there. I met many extremely nice people, interesting to chat with, hospitable, and just fun to be around. To me, that is what makes Italy one of my favorite countries.


Lastly, some unsorted pictures:

Italian climate is rather warm during the summers. So if you don't find a place to stay, you can crash on some of the marble steps, use your backpack as a pillow, and have a fantastic night. I did just that shortly after taking this photo.

Speaking of marble, I was lucky to visit a quarry in Carrara, the place which provided material for countless masterpieces. Seeing and handling it made me appreciate works by Michelangelo, Bernini, etc. even further..

Another plus, it is nearly impossible to get bad ice cream in Italy. Yes, please!

Details everywhere! (Doge's Palace, Venice)

Castel Sant'Angelo (from the 2nd century AD), Rome

Double helix staircase in Orvieto's well. (16th ct.)

Florence

Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. Pictured is a side of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (consecrated 1436).

Verona

So there you have it. I am not saying that Italy is flawless - there's no such thing anyway. But my experiences with it are close to that. And as that is not a rule when I visit countries, I am very grateful for it.



If you liked this post, you might also enjoy these:

Photo collection of places I saw in Poland

Paris

Story about my trip to Corsica

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Published by: Jakub Stepanovic in Collections

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