I've been daydreaming a lot lately. I am so grateful for this very humble superpower, something magical that we humans do: no matter how closed up we are physically, our minds are able to imagine, to visualize scenarios more or less likely to ever come true, they're able to hope, to build up expectations, to design our next trip, encounter, job or whatever, up to the last tiny detail.
We've been living an all-inside kind of life, a new experience for most, if not all of us. So apart from keeping yourself busy and engaged with all sorts of cool activities, I hope you're also allowing some time for simple daydreaming. And by that I actually mean something like laying on your couch and let you mind wander, take you somewhere near or far. There's no right destination, it doesn't need to be grand, it could be grabbing coffee with you best friend at the bar just around the corner. It can flow naturally or be sparked by some source of inspiration, a quote in a book, a photo on Instagram, a song streaming on the radio. It can invite you to jot down a list of things, make a drawing, text someone, get up and dance. I guess I kind of see it as fitness for our imagination... Our soul?
On this purpose I thought I'd share some photos I shot in the past months when in Italy. North and south, summer and winter, food for your imagination and inner traveler. Also, this is a humble homage to the beauty of my home country, severely struck by the epidemics, slowly carving its way though and out of it. I keep you in my heart, always.
The cover photo is Cremona, my hometown, its duomo's façade and bell tower cropped by the city hall's colonnades.
We met up in Bologna with a few friends last December to celebrate the birthday of one of us, who's from there. It was just before Christmas. Is it just me or this façade is pretty much as good as it can get? Big big love
A cloudy sky slowly let the sun in. With no plan whatsoever besides having a good time together, we wandered through the city center. How easy it was to meet strangers then. Now we all miss the simplicity with which we could just enter a local brewery and start talking to the owner or other people at the counter, and then get invited to a party later on, and then be joined by other friends in a bar with a piano and have Filippo play jazz for everyone. Ahhh
We found this jukebox in front of a cafe and easily ended up spending 20 minutes without realizing. "Ok, last one, alright??", and so on and so forth.
The local shops (pasta makers, pastry shops, butchers and delis) give their best around Christmas, all wrapped up and decorated. Look at those bunches of hanging sausages, homemade panettoni and, of course, tortellini, Bologna's signature stuffed pasta.
On the train on my way back home. Sunset on the Apennine mountains. And below is my village's countryside. Hmm, I look at this and wonder if it can resonate with others as much as it does with those who come from the same area. I see all the beauty of this typical Po valley landscape in its winter outfit. Flat, flat fields resting between growing seasons, well cropped. A canal, still, mirroring the blue sky. And that stretch of white mountains, the Alps, on the horizon.
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In September I visited a family friend, lovely Marina, in her house in the countryside of San Vito dei Normanni, in the Brindisi area, in Puglia. She and her husband Diego bought this very simple property a few years ago and slowly made it into the rustic and charming place it is now. The house is surrounded by olives trees (pictured above), but Marina also grows almonds, figs (ok, she has seven different varieties!! Guess where you would find me when you could see me nowhere around the house... "testing" figs, yes), capers and plenty of vegetables. The soil there has this beautiful red hue. It feels great to walk in it barefoot. It stains your feet but is said to have healing properties...
One day we went to Ceglie Messapica, a small town perched on top of a hill. Its houses are all whitewashed or showing their natural clear stone, just like its paved streets. This chalk-like setting is punctuated with the dark spots of the windows and the ubiquitous olive trees, and the colorful restaurant and shop entrances. I took these photos at dusk. What a magic hour... The sun had set and the lampposts turned on. People had returned home from work and had not yet gone out for dinner. And September is the beginning of low season for Puglia, the streets felt so quiet.
Otherwise, our days were spent very simply at the seaside, reading, swimming and snorkeling, talking, listening to the wind chatting with the waves, picnicking. Yes, I know. Well, this is what daydreaming is for.
I hope by the next time I'll find you out venturing the outside world again, I really do. If not, you'll always find images and words to daydream to in this space.