Every year at this time I drop the bicycle urbanist persona and take a bus load of architecture students on a grand tour of Italy. I have developed quite a routine with a chronological itinerary focusing on the architectural canon—never mind whatever shit you might see as a philistine traveller to Italy if you went for a holiday.
While Italy is generally a complete mess with a few exceptional town centres for contrast, Southern Italy is just a plain mess. It grieves me, really, to have to pass through. If it weren’t for Pompeii and the temples as Paestum I wouldn’t!
This time though, there was some consolation when I was struck by the profound realisation that a single word exists, that any of us can use as an adjective, to describe cities that have been completely screwed over by traffic engineers with only one thing on their minds: motorised vehicles. We can simply describe them as “Mediterranean”. What a great word! It captures the tardiness, the disregard for human capital, the laziness of officialdom, and the decades of brain-drain required to make a truly shit city. I’ll leave you with a couple more photos from Sorrento, just south of that absolute dump known as Naples:
In a few days from now I’ll post photos I was taking tonight of Italy at its absolute best, here in Vicenza where I am lodging tonight.