January 9, 2000 |
A shimmering mass of whitewashed buildings sits on a mountaintop overlooking the Adriatic, the chalky brilliance punctuated by the reds, blues and yellows of laundry flapping in the breeze. Men congregate on the square, and elderly women watch from their balconies. Steep staircases and supporting arches intersect cobblestone streets so narrow that pedestrians flatten themselves against the walls so cars can pass. This is the old Italy of picture books.