Love and Happiness

Cinque Terre may have been one of the most beautiful places we travelled to while visiting Italy. And that is saying a lot; Italy is beautiful. But here, along the blue Mediterranean, the towns, the sea, the colors, the myriad terraces, they all combine to create dream-like views and too-many “wow” moments. And pictures from this area are legion, and just about anyone who as ever seen any images from Italy at all would immediately recognize any picture of the famed multi-colored, multi-leveled buildings that huddle together along the steep and rugged coastline. I soon gave up trying to capture any sort of original image and just enjoyed the spectacular views, which are just a little more than copious.

Some of these views-of legend can be found on gorgeous yet somehow slightly treacherous path that attempts to link the 5 towns from when the name comes. It’s a long walk to be sure, and we cheated part way by using a train. The path itself clutches the ragged coastline and at once instills a since of awe and foreboding. And yet it cannot be denied, and anyone making the trip must need walk the path, if only for a little.

Along with the views and tunnels come painted stones, rocks, wood, and just about every other type of surface. Travelers from the distant—and not so distant—past have left behind their paintings, words, and abstractions, often times blurring the boundaries between art and mere graffiti. And for the most part they have become just another part of the experience; less of a distraction and more of a fun yet bizarre discovery.

My favorite, pictured here, can be found along a section that is known by many names, one of which is “Way of Love.” Along this path are various marble plaques honoring mythical lover. The one I shot is “Eros” and as you can see, lovers have taken to signing their own names to it as well, uniting the myth with the real, and binding their love to the immortal. The plaque is cleaned from time to time, but the world will never run out of lovers, so the time-honored tradition carries on, like the path itself, leading to beauty, love, and happiness.

— Bryan Gray, Napa Valley Wine Bottle and Winery Photographer

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