CRF: Italy

"CRF" is not a crime show you've never heard of, it stands for "Cutting Room Floor." Below are some of our favorite pics that never made the blog. We figured we'd reminisce a little while we're home for a visit. (Back in Europe December 28th).
We spent a month and a half on the Italian Peninsula, moving from Italy to Vatican City to San Marino. Not too shabby of a place to linger for a while. At the tale end of our Italian time, we spent two nights in Rome. This is the view out our window. We have about a hundred photos of this view - at dawn, midday, dusk and night. It was always just so stunning. If we stuck our heads out and turned to the right, we could make out a bit of the Coliseum.
Trevi fountain at night. Tourists crowded around, flashes bounced off the water, coins plopped in steadily. Legend has it that throwing a coin into Trevi fountain ensures a return to Rome. This young woman, who was shivering during a photo shoot, would probably choose a warmer month next time. The fountain is gorgeous at night and the sound of rushing water adds calm and a bit of magic to the crowded scene.
Some clever street art. We saw a few 'do not enter' signs altered like this. Further down the street, a two person team scrubbed away at less artistic graffiti.
We often reminisce about Trani. Our favorite meal in Italy was here, and it's easy to see why. Every morning brought a spectacular fish market and a few tables stayed open until dark. Bright pink rock shrimp, mussels that shone a midnight blue, silver sardines. The crates and buckets were like treasure chests, filled with glistening jewels. Man, we wished we could buy some of it and cook it up. But, we just had to settle for eating out. Shucks.
This is a view out over Lake Trasimeno from a dock tower in Castiglione del Lago. The boardwalk below was bare, an ice cream shop and tiki bar were shuttered. The blue sky turned the off-season beachfront scene from sullen to wistful.
This car sat on a street in Calcata, a totally picturesque artist commune. About one hundred people live in the village, which is perched up on a mound of volcanic rock. Since the houses are made of the same stone it looks like the cliff has sprouted buildings. For years, the town was deemed unlivable because of the threat of erosion. Artists began to squat there in the 60s and the structural quarantine, so to speak, was lifted a little while later.
So, so many tramezzini were consumed in Italy. The crustless white bread sandwiches (cut diagonally) were the perfect snack or go-to lunch. At bars, they were simple but inspired. Tuna with olive, prosciutto, egg with tomato, etc - always saran wrapped. In cafes and at gourmet shops, they were filled with anything from smoked salmon to mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes. This every day staple is quintessentially Italian to us. We didn't care as much for their Sammarinese double-decker cousins.
We did a lot of driving in Italy. It's always a difficult thing to grapple with, needing to get someplace quickly but not wanting to spend a whole day on the autostrada. Taking the scenic route was an easier decision in Tuscany, because a google search of "prettiest drives" is possible and the options are plentiful. The SS222 (which connect Florence and Siena) gets crowded in the high season. Narrow European roads don't work well with too many cars stopped for photos. But it was March, and we could move along at our own speed.
This picture was taken during our post-four hour lunch stroll in Vasto on the Adriatic Coast. It was just a short stay, but we can still remember the orange trees and the grandparents playing with their grandchildren on the sand. The paddle boats were turned over and covered with a sandy film. Knotted up fishing nets sat in clumps.
Trani at sunset. It's hard not to fall in love with a place when this happens daily.
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