As someone who had never been to Europe before I was very impressionable as far as the way Italy struck me visually. After I got beyond the extreme closeness that Italian drivers are use to, I soaked up the signage, countryside, gorgeous over the water sunsets, mountain scapes and dusty cities.
I would say my visual vibe in two words from Italy was ‘dusty futuristic.’ Perhaps the Hotel we stayed at’s obscure synthy mall music contributed to this, but many of the amenities I came across were unusual to me, as in a different model or brand and felt as though they came from a parallel future.
— Tim Brown (@timbdesignmpls) July 20, 2016
This whole run-down is just one man’s impression of course of limited number of cities, but you have me at 6’3’’ and most Italians seem much smaller than this so I’d get into a very nice little shower and things might seem a bit compressed or simply not for someone my size. Overall I’d say the way people move, interact and exist living spaces and public spaces feels congested… or perhaps more complimentary.. intimate.
I absolutely loved getting lost in a small village near Sorrento and finding little used back alleys that ran along and down the edge of the cliffs most of the city was perched on. Graffiti covered the walls and a man below us dusted his little plot (he may have been homeless?) next to several gardens. The juxtaposition of dirty (but loved) small village and some of the luxury hotels and restaurants made for an interesting contrast.
Lots of closeness in each city we visited; the one I just described Vico escence, as well as Sorrento, Capri, Cupra Marttima, Castellamerre dis Stabia and Rome. Hand-painted signs and lots and lots of bad cheap graphic design lined the streets but the architecture widely varied and the way it worked into the landscape was incredibly beautiful and interesting. It felt very natural.
Beyond this there were excellent examples of Typography, and of course the historical features of Rome that most people know are intimidating and inspiring in that they demonstrate what human willpower and a ridiculous amount of resources can accomplish. The marble statues stand out to me as deeply stylish hundreds and hundreds of years after they were created which is incredible for any work of art.
The gigantic spacious squares and epic openness of things like the Pantheon, the Colisseum and Vatican City of course stand in stark contrast with my earlier comments about space and perhaps for that reason more striking. Overall the technological elements that wrap (and I’d say choke a little bit) the beauty of those spaces ad to that dusty future feel and it’s hard to really have an awe about these areas without getting bumped into by other tourists.
I suppose the history of these places is a little bit oppressive as well, and I couldn’t help but stand in the middle of Vatican city, looking up at all that extravagance in the name of something holy and not get a deep appreciation that my spirituality is not attached to such a specific set of symbols. Extremely beautiful, but the stories and history of these organizations is hard not to think about in the face of it all. Love the use of white space though. 😉