Italy-Travels to the South and back

Italy Travel Blog

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Fontana Trevi
I have been on quite a few adventures in Italy because it just so happened that a friend from high school was here with a much older friend of his who rented a car for a trip to Southern Italy. We met up in Rome my first weekend here. On Sunday we drove to Napoli (Naples), then down and around the coast and across the boot to the Amalfi Coast. We stayed in Positano, one of the most famous cities, that is apparently the most photographed city in Italy. The city has definitely taken advantage of the tour busloads of Americans, Brits, and Australians the flock there in mass numbers with their designer stores, expensive hotels, and fancy restaurants, which pretty much serve the same food as every other restaurant in Italy.
From the top the Spanish Steps
From Positano we went further South to the Calabria Region, which is very poor. The natural setting reminds me a lot of Southern California, except the are way less people, and the water is much cleaner and warmer. We met a friend of Alan’s who had recently moved back there with her mother with an inkling that she will soon pass away. After 38 years of living in the States, per her mother’s request, Dom moved back to Rocca di Netto, a town consisting primarily of abandoned buildings.

The South is much different from the North and it was never more apparent then here. The South is much more conservative so you only saw masses of men out at the bars, while the women stayed home and did who knows what. Much of the economy is based on bartering between residents. The depression in the South is due to Mafia control.
Lago Argentina, a Roman Forum uncovered by Mussilini in effort to connect the power of the past with the power of his Rome
National government money that is sent down there goes into the pockets of corrupt politicians, so the government does not send them much money anymore. The people there as a result do not pay taxes because they also have to pay the Mafia for what ever they say. For example, Dom, Alan’s friend, sent herself two trunks from the States, paying in full in advance. When the trunks arrived in Napoli (the South), they did not go any further. The Mafia “authorities” made up some story that the trunks were not properly addressed and upon delivering them to her made her pay an extra 200 euros to get them. This type of occurrence and many others like them prevent a lot of investment in the area from national and global markets, thus the common people are not able to rise above it all. Dom’s brother was trying really hard to get connected with us to sell their citrus, olive oil, and everything else that they grow and barter in his four farmer association in the States. Quite depressing really.

The next day we went a little further South to a public beach next to a medieval castle, one of many that dot the hills tops and coasts of the entire country. The weather was warm, but very windy making choppy water. Since the water was warm and clean so I braved it, but not too far because I was unsure of the current. Eventually I noticed two rocks assembled perfectly like a chair and I sat there and let the strong waves crash into me for awhile, which was the best part of the whole excursion for me.

The three of us decided that we should just charge it across country back to the North and stay in Montalcino, in Tuscany, for two nights before parting ways. Alan’s much older friend Don, lived there for three years not to long ago so he knew everyone and I pretty much got the hook-up where I went. The landscape was beautiful, the people very friendly, and the food much simpler. We went out for lunch and got whole tomatoes, melon slices, a plate of assorted pecorino cheese, one of different salamis, and a basket of bread.

I was relieved to return to Cesena and see Ceci, as Alan was a total stress case and wore me out. That being said, I was glad to connect with Don and the trip was very educational. Plus, I do not think that the two men would have made it without me.

I have learned a little French and a little Italian, but in Italy I mostly talk Spanish to Ceci’s parents because it is the most similar. I think after I get Spanish down I will start on Italian. It is strange switching languages so often, when I arrived in Paris, I defaulted to Spanish, which is worse there then English, and in Italy I started speaking what I could in French, when Spanish is better, now it is back to English and then Spanish, Spanish, Spanish.
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Fontana Trevi
Fontana Trevi
From the top the Spanish Steps
From the top the Spanish Steps
Lago Argentina, a Roman Forum unco…
Lago Argentina, a Roman Forum unc…