23 March 2010

Come to Camogli

After many long but wonderful months in France, it was time to head over to the Italian Riviera, say hello, and indulge in the wonders of Italian cuisine-- a.k.a. gnocchi con pesto(a Genovese specialty) every single day please.

The sun was shining, the air was warm and all the flowers were beginning to bloom.
We parked the car in Camogli- a small, colorful city right on the coast near Genoa. Rising up on either side of the city are vertical rock faces adorned with more small towns scattered about.

The little town waaayyyyy up there is called San Rocco, where we finally made it after scrambling up the mountainside from Camogli- out of breath, sweaty but happy. Time for an aperitif.

Along the way we found numerous treasures- clothes on the line, always, cats in the
walkway and flower pots teeming with beautiful displays.

And while some of the buildings were more run down than others,
they still retained a certain quality and charm.

Every mountain face was covered with terraces from top to bottom, full of olive trees and gardens. Talk about learning to maximize land use- they have the process down here and not only does it work well, but it creates a beautiful landscape.

Whether you are in France or Italy, there is a never-ending supply of vibrantly colorful houses lining the Mediterranean. The yellow building houses a restaurant at the top with a prime view.
Guests can see the Camogli port down to the right and open water all around.

This house is in the midst of renovation using the painting technique "trompe d'oeil"
or trick of the eye, which is very popular in this region. It makes use of shadows and highlights,
creating a 3D effect on the exterior walls.

Some very lucky person has a very nice summer home.

Finally, we made it all the way up to San Rocco and back down to the sea.
A lovely view for a picnic, with the sun's rays and sea's breeze.

Along the sea, fishing is obviously a huge industry. Fishermen's nets lined the walkway on the last part of our hike, ready for use when the catchin' is good.

From here we took a boat along the coast back to Camogli...enough hiking for the day, eh?

Approaching the port, the layered look of this coastal mountain city was striking.
Camogli, meaning houses of wives, is a contraction between the Italian words for house, "casa", and wife, "mogli". When the town was full of fishermen, the wives were always left
behind at home while their husbands were out at sea.

The life.

Good weather draws people out of their houses like nothing else.
No more work!!--Local Camoglians crowded the main drag along
the seaside in the afternoon light.

A finished example of trompe d'oeil fashioned in the lively colors of Camogli.
Note that the pink building on the right even went so far
as to paint on fake windows and shutters.

Any excuse to get outside that day, even just to send a text, was crucial for catching some rays.
The cafes could finally start putting chairs outside, the gelato places were packed
with screaming children, strollers and smiling faces.

Ciao waters of Camogli, and thank you for a glorious day in the sun.