This photo was taken in Lucca, Italy on an InterRail back in 1991. We were touring several Tuscan cities and entered through the high and thick city wall of Lucca just to find an antiques market spread around in what seemed like the entire city centre. We were astonished and very tempted to buy with us whatever we could. Unfortunately that temptation was not feasible due to our means of transportation.
Italy is in itself one giant antiquity market, in my view. The country had its two historic heydays during the Roman Empire and the Renaissance. In between those periods and ever since the country has dwindled into not much more than showing off the remains of what used to be. Tourists flock in to admire the Coliseum and the Sistine Chapel, the two most known buildings of those two eras.
Sad to say that goes for much of the rest of Southern Europe as well. On the other hand, I find this famous quote quite illustrative in an amusing yet informative way.
“In Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” (Orson Welles)
Tagging my trips and destinations I have as Southern Europe grouped the countries adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea, give or take a few for practical purposes.
My travels in Southern Europe. Click to access the dynamic map.
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