I’ve been writing about my experiences in Lake Como, Italy and beyond on my blog The Magpie Diaries for the last week. Now for the inspirations.
I didn’t expect it to be so beautiful (though of course I had been told), and I didn’t expect to fall in love with the very essence of life there; the lake, the literary associations, and that never-ending sensation of sun on my face.
I loved hearing about the art and the poetry, the history of Italy, the food, the olive oil, and the stories of Mussolini’s capture in Dongo.
I loved hearing the bells from the churches on Sunday in Bergamo, and savouring the delicate flavours of local speciality casoncelli alla Bergamasca.
I bought real, Italian liquorice and a million postcards and took over 100o photographs.
I smelled the handmade soap in Bellagio and drank way too much coffee for someone who never drinks coffee, and I apologised to a lizard when I almost put my bag down on it!
I thought about the patterns of every day life – the things we rarely notice in our home towns or the places we are familiar with – and photographed quaint little walkways, shiny cobblestones, plants and flowers and signage and picked up artists’ literature in galleries.
I often photographed my own reflection, by accident, but love this shot taken while I’m wearing my sun hat. (And I love the dress.)
I tried to take notes wherever I went, and visual notes with my camera, and I wrote down the colour palette of Lake Como as I saw it:
Salmon pink, sage, terracotta, misty blue, mustard, flecked gold, bright orange, cream, rust, and stripes reflected in sunglasses.
Finally, I love this postcard ‘Amore e Psiche’ at Villa Carlotta, which called to me on my last day:
It describes the love of Cupid and Psyche, a story from a Latin novel, and the overcoming of obstacles to their ultimate union in a sacred marriage.
How wonderful is that?
Italy is filled with romance and love stories in the paintings, poetry and sculptures and I have so much love for Italy right now.
I just wish I’d bought more of the beautiful soap. And the perfume that I sampled: Acqua di Bellagio. It features bergamot and lemon and mandarin; a brisk, citrusy recollection of sunshine – a fabulous, frivolous reason to go back?