Subtour 3: Tour of Italy. 0479 Scruffy Little Town (Italy 005—new)

Setteville Travel Blog

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My Eurolines bus pass is about to expire--  but I still have almost a month of travelling left… So I want to make sure I end up somewhere interesting.  Italy is my first choice for several reasons:  First of all, trains are very cheap for western Europe--  as I discovered on my trip to Venice.  Secondly, it’s September now it’s probably getting too cold and wet in camping in much of Europe unless I get some better gear… Fourth, there’s plenty of cheap transportation, but land and air, to Morocco when my journey is over.  And fourthly… well, it’s just a fascinating history rich country that I know pitifully little about…

 

My first thought was to end my journey in Zurich, Switzerland and spend a few days in paradise before crossing down into Italy… But there were no buses to Zurich so I opted for Plan B:  Take a bus straight to Rome and work my way slowly north from there…

 

So I board a bus for a 20 hour trip from Paris to Rome.

 

We reach Milan in the early morning where I have to change buses.  Maybe “all roads lead to Rome”, but certainly all buses don’t… in fact, there are hardly any buses that directly connect Rome with the rest of Europe…


Soon we are off once again, onto a sprawling 8 lane freeway, packed with cars and trucks… This is the industrialized northern plains region and the freeway is lined by farmland and intermittent industrial zones.  Whatever history and culture there is in this region it certainly isn’t visible from the freeway. 

 

When we near Bologna, we veer off towards the south, and soon the landscape changes dramatically.  Soon the freeway is winding up and tunnelling through steep mountains and spanning wide canyons.  Here and there tiny little village nestle in the valleys beckon to me…

 

We stop to drop off a few passengers in Florence.  Here the bus driver bumps into a car and dents it up a bit… I’m curious as to what will happen next.  After a bit of discussion and a phone call or two, the driver hands the driver of the car a wad of cash, and we continue on our way…

 

Hmmm… interesting…

 

…And finally we reach the outskirts of Rome…

The first thing that strikes me is how dirty the city is.  For miles and miles, trash is strewn all along the side of the highway… Then we enter a neighbourhood where every single building is covered with graffiti…

 

…Let’s not judge this city too quickly…

When we reach the station, I have to make a decision… It’s late in the afternoon… Do I go ahead and go for downtown and worry about figuring out where to stay later?  Or look for a place to stay now?

 

I haven’t done any camping since my tour of the Paris suburbs a month ago.  For the last month I’ve either slept on the bus or stayed in hostels in cities on the backpacker circuit.  But now, if I’m really going to explore Italy properly, I’m going to have to get well off the backpacker circuit which will mean either staying in expensive hotels or resorting to camping once again…

 

So I figure I might as well get back into the routine and find a place to camp tonight…

 

So I head away from town to give myself plenty of time to get away far from the city center and hopefully find a safe place to camp out…

 

I walk along a bustling boulevard lined with your typical neighbourhood shops… nothing distinctly Italian about it except for the large number of pizza by the slice fast food stalls… But it’s a nice chance to get a taste of  “real” Rome before heading to the tourist jammed artificial city…

 

After about two hours I reach the edge of the city… Rome actually doesn’t seem like that big of a city compared to say, London, Berlin or Greater Paris… Here’s there’s an industrial strip and a sign tells me I’ve now entered the town of  “Setteville”.  Cool.  This means I’ll be able to discover yet another Italian town first thing tomorrow morning…

 

But for now I just need a place to camp… soon I find a grove of trees out in an open field and settle down for the night.

 

Next Morning

 

The next morning I wake up to the sight of a herd of sheep being driven just a hundred feet or so away… I head back into town to be greeted by the sound of roosters crowing from people’s backyards… Up ahead a driver stop his car in the middle of the road to get out and go shout at the driver behind him who I guess honked his horn too loud or something…

 

Bienvenuti a Italia! There’s definitely something different about this country… It feels a bit like Mexico… a little bit like Morocco--  definitely a bit of a Third World feel… and with a language that sounds like pure poetry… I’m definitely excited about discovering the heart and soul of this country…

 

I stop at the village fountain… a water faucet that just runs all the time with a typical shabby building in the background which gives me a quaint little village image for my clip…

 

Then I hike back into Rome to catch the subway to downtown…

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Setteville
photo by: nathanphil