The whistling of the wind is interrupted only by the seagulls that circle above the rooftops, calling out to one another. Their pirouettes are something else! Others sit stock-still, wings outstretched; they're playing at defying the wind, and whoever remains motionless for longest wins.
From where I’m looking, the pink bell tower of the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta stands out against the cobalt blue of the sea, and against the sky above. The bells ring out every half hour, marking the passing of time on this lazy July day spent ambling around Camogli.
Today we’re back in Liguria, on the Riviera di Levante. When it comes to place names in Liguria, Genoa marks the central point and the dividing line; everything east of it is known as ‘Levante’, which in Italian refers to the rising sun, while everything to the west is ‘Ponente’, a word describing the setting sun. This explains how there can be two towns called Sestri: Sestri Levante and Sestri Ponente, to be precise.
But I digress! Camogli is a very pretty little town that has preserved the characteristic charm of a seaside village. The small port is still jam-packed with colourful little boats that bob serenely like nutshells in their moorings by the walkway of the docks, or next to the city walls that serve as a breakwater. In the evening and early in the morning, the fishermen still untangle their nets by hand. They sit on the quay working in little groups, their faces burned by the sun and wind, and their nimble fingers almost seem to move automatically –they’ll have been repeating the same motions for years.
We’ve visited Camogli often for our shoots, drawn in by the narrow, cobbled streets, by the quay and the marina itself, and by the seaside promenade with the sandy beach just below. Now that it’s summer, this strip of sand (and pesky pebbles!) is dotted with the colours of countless fluttering umbrellas –in white and blue stripes, all green, or twine-coloured. In winter, of course, it’s empty. Out of season, those white and grey pebbles that butchered our feet during summer dance among the waves as they break on the shore in a burst of foam, creating a soothing lapping sound.
We’re not here today to take photos of our (beloved) shoes; instead, we're here to enjoy the quintessentially Italian holiday atmosphere.
The town of Recco is not far away, so its iconic focaccia di Recco can also be found here in Camogli: people queue patiently outside the bakeries to stock up, while a mouth-watering aroma drifts along the promenade. Moist and ultra-thin despite concealing a centre of almost liquid stracchino cheese, this bread is a delight for foodies –including me, of course. ;)
And I’m writing this holiday newsletter to you on my phone in the queue, licking my lips in anticipation as I wait to get my hands on a slice. I don’t want to forget the mood of this place –the soundtrack of seagulls, the sun low enough to cast long shadows but still warm, our legs looking like flamingos’ feet...
Soon enough I’ll come back down to earth, but here in the queue I’m enjoying the salty sea air and the cool breeze that’s taking the edge off the heat of this idleJuly Sunday. I still have a few weeks to wait until my holidays, but how lucky am I to have the sea just a couple of hours away? The Italian way of life...Hope to ‘see’ you soon, bye for now!