italy

Textures: San Marino by a zugunruhe


The Most Serene Republic Of San Marino is a land locked country within Italy. Along with being the fifth smallest country in the world, it is the longest surviving republic and guided by a six book constitution. The tale of this country is fascinating to read but staying for an extended period around the old town on Monte Titano, which is a literal castle in the clouds, can reveal the odd things the area does to cater to tourists.

Wine bottles that honor Hitler, gun shops engulfed by tacky gift shops, kitschy bottles of Grappa labeled “Grappa Della Gnocca” (roughly slang for Grappa of the pussy). It’s a gorgeous place to visit but a conflicting place to be if you don’t want to see pictures of Mussolini and Stalin when you’re just kicking it. Large-scale finance in micro states fuel some weird stuff.

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Textures: Vatican City by a zugunruhe

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Leaning hard into the forgiveness aspect of Christianity, the Vatican exists. 

Theres a level of excess only rivaled by Versailles. Even then, that was a ruling class, rich folks who sought power, not the arbiter of a god that favored helping those in need and discouraged the hoarding of wealth.

Kilometers of symmetrical marble, classical masterworks, and a pope space suit really round out the absurdity of this place. The smallest country on Earth, whose actions affect a very large portion of the world and whose presence has absolutely nothing to do with money. 

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Textures: Italy by a zugunruhe

When I got off the train in Bari, my Airbnb host was there to pick me up outside. He then proceeded to give me a non-consensual tour of the area between the station and the flat so he could talk about his city and work on his English.

Don’t get me wrong, the dude was amazing. But it was not the hospitality I was expecting after our brief and slightly abrasive Airbnb exchange. This was reflected in the rest of Italy.

Outside of Rome, the country explodes with natural and man-made beauty. The southeast area around Bari and Polignano a Mare is beautiful. Fresh air and salt water pour into your senses.

Matera a few hours inland brings its own personality as the 2019 European Capital of Culture and possible cradle of humanity of Europe. Most of the city was under some sort of construction of renewal while I was there so it could prepare for the influx of tourism in 2019.

Naples gives you a sense of unrestrained expression doubled with a city built upon itself throughout the history of civilization.

And Osita is Galveston with a better McDonalds.

Only sliver of light is shown on Italy through these photos. I can only hope that one photo enters your consciousness and infects it with how lovely this country is.

Bari

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Polignano a Mare

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Falconara Marittima

Matera

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Naples

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Osita

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Textures: Cinque Terre by a zugunruhe

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Cinque Terre is a collection of five Italian cites along the northwestern coast. South to North, they are: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. Each city varying slightly from each other. Monterosso having that only sand beach of the five, Corniglia has an ungodly 382 steps from the train station to the town, and Vernazza has a beautiful harbor that is engulfed by the town.

All five cities are (or used to be) connected by walkable trails that guide you through vineyards and are serviced a train line that becomes easier to ride without a ticket as winter approaches. There is a majesty to the coastline and its basalt columns and rocky shores that recall the rough beauty of Iceland. Each town is very much centered around fishing and serviced by boats. It’s easy to catch workers cutting up the catch of the day and order it an hour later at a small restaurant.

Riomaggiore

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Manarola

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Corniglia

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Vernazza

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Monterosso

Textures: Pompeii by a zugunruhe

Pompeii always seemed like a staple in history books that would turn up in pop culture every once and awhile. Another place in the world that seemed as unreachable as outer space from my small hometown.

Walking around the remains of the city is an experience. The layout is eerie. It was a full on city, just gone by the whim of nature. There’s a vacancy that carries terrifying undertones that remind you how fleeting the sense of man-made structures can be. Whether physical or mental.

The walls are still decorated, the roads are still there, and some say that Pink Floyd still echoes throughout the ruins at night once the tourists leave.

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