Two weeks in northern Italy, in sunsets
The fiery one, igniting boats and cliffs and haphazardly piled, tropical-hued villas in Riomaggiore, as viewed from the rocky shore with at least 100 other admirers.
The one that shrouded the highest point in a village rising from a castle, all of it adrift in the Mediterranean Sea (after missing the last ferry back, while drinking local wine and eating rosemary biscotti with an idealistic couple from Verona, who love opera and linguistics and wish cruise ships would stop docking in Venice).
The one that streaked, chemically colored, across a flat sky in an unknown, industrial town, where we stopped for a patio after hours hiking the Alps. We were starving, and there was a crowd. It was, undoubtably, the best aperitif spread in town. We only bought the wine for the free sandwiches and pasta.
The first one solo, orange and yellow over the Umbrian hills, surreptitiously absorbed from the rocky overhang of a cliff on the wrong side of the autostrade railing.
The one that painted the Tuscan mountains, leaning fast into cut-away curves from the back of a motorbike, riding the thrill of breaking into an abandoned hospital with, essentially, a total stranger. Cold wind, sheer drops and rosy patchwork vastness.
The second solo: warm drape over red-clay roofs of Lucca and the purple hills beyond.
The throngs of tourists snapping photos of mauve-tinged roofs and bridges from Piazzale Micheangelo, dangling high over River Arno.
The last one, an elegant stillness settling over the domed, mist-softened magnificence of Florence, as viewed from the deserted streets of Fiesole.