I’ve added another Italian city to my inventory, one that will be appearing regularly over the next 12 months, which should give me enough time to plan a visit to another. Rome may be known for its vibrant “dolce vita”, Florence for its art. Milan may be stylish, Venice romantic, and Bologna… “who cares let’s eat”. So what did my new destination have to offer? It was once a maritime state, but overshadowed by Venice. It’s Italy’s largest port, though more will think of Naples. It’s part of the Italian Riviera, though too big to possess the charm of Portofino. It produced one of the world’s most famous explorers (and imprisoned another), though he sailed under a Spanish flag. My first impressions of it were that it was a “muscular” city; not in any threatening way but in the imposing architecture of the richer parts of town.
The city’s nickname is La Superba, or The Proud One, and it has much to be proud of as you will see from my future posts, though in many cases you feel it could do just a little better! I arrived sensing that there was much here to occupy me, and I left without seeing it all. Would I return to fill in the gaps? Perhaps, but not before another taste of Venice, Siena, Florence or Rome. Sicily is exerting an ever stronger pull too.
So where to start our journey? On my arrival I dropped bags at my hotel and set out to get my bearings by walking to the old port and back, not intending to stop and explore to any great extent. As you’ll see in a later post there was a special event taking place that day which changed my plans, but to begin with it was that powerful architecture that drew my eye. Much of it belongs to the same era as the modernist buildings of Barcelona, and there are clear echoes of that city here. More to come then on the specific styles to be found, but for now let’s just enjoy some of the smaller details of fantastic creatures and one or two examples of the real thing.