Beauty (and ugly) in Italy

Above: A wasp feasts on newly picked Ribolla at Venica & Venica.

A quick post today, on this autumnal Monday back at my desk in Austin, comprised of photos from my trip, some of the most beautiful things I saw through my lens while in Italy. It was an incredible journey, replete with felicitous confluences, some serendipitous and delightfully unexpected, others grounded in epistemlogic contemplation and convex self-reflection.

Above: Pancetta offered to weary travelers, also at Venica.

In the days that follow, I’ll begin posting in-depth accounts of my conversations and tastings with winemakers and restaurateurs in Tuscany, the Veneto, and Friuli. I am so grateful for all the comments, emails, Twitter mentions, and Facebook notes encouraging me and sharing insights into what I photographed, smelled, tasted, drank, and masticated over the course of the nearly three-week trip. And I am especially thankful for the incredible hospitality and generosity of spirit of my (literally) myriad hosts and guides.

Above: A view from one of the dining rooms at Trattoria al Parco in Buttrio (Udine).

Immense and extreme beauty is offered to the willful traveler of the Italic peninsula: from her generous landscape to her innate and intrinsic humanity (both historical and topical), Italy continues to inspire me (and hopefully you) by revealing some of the mystery and joy of life through her topographic, aesthetic, and sensual pleasures.

Above: A view from the Abbazia di Rosazzo in the Colli Orientali del Fiuli.

While I thoroughly enjoyed her bountiful intellectual and sensorial gifts, I was however acutely aware of the seemingly insurmountable societal and cultural issues and turmoil faced by the inhabitants (Italian and otherwise) of this profoundly gorgeous land.

Above: Hay for Chianina cows near Pienza, Tuscany.

Whether it’s Berlusconi patently using one of his media outlets (in this case, Il Giornale, a top national daily) to sling mud at his rival Fini (now embroiled in a sticky familiar real-estate scandal) or the impending expulsion of Roma (following the highly controversial and contested model employed by Sarkozy), Italy and her peoples find themselves in circumstances eerily however distantly reminiscent of the “era between the two wars.” When I commented on the recent changing of the guard in the political regime of the region where she and her family make wine, one winemaker observed wryly but not inronically, “we were better off with the fascists in power than the [newly instated] separatists.”

Above: Sunset in Montalcino (Tuscany), viewed from the estate of Il Palazzone.

Perhaps it’s this precarious balance of salt and sweet that makes Italy always taste so great and greatly on our tongues. Thanks for reading…

10 thoughts on “Beauty (and ugly) in Italy

  1. thanks, everyone, for the thoughtful comments and words of encouragement. Even an amateur photographer like me can capture beauty through the lens… just point and shoot… I’ll never forget any of those moments above.

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