Harmonious to the eye

The Valley of the Temples of Agrigento is one of my favorite sites in Sicily, if not all of Italy. 

Pictured below is the Temple of Concordia, a place holder name as the true name has been lost to us in history.

It is a classical Greek temple of the Doric order, in fact, the best preserved Doric temple from the entire ancient Greek world. It was completed in the middle of the 4th century BC. 

In it's 2,500 years it has withstood storms, earthquakes, wars, bombings and many times of uncertainty. But it's truth has reigned through it all. It shows the height of ancient architecture, and in many ways, architecture today. The Romans would try to copy what the Greeks discovered, though they added their own modifications to the original. During the Renaissance, architects would relearn the ancient proportions that the Greeks had not only calculated, but perfected.

The Greeks discovered a beautiful harmony that runs through and influences all things: the Golden Ratio. 

Classical Greek buildings are harmonious to they eye in the same way music is to the ear. If a chord on a guitar or piano is pleasing, it is within the correct ratio. If a building is pleasing to the eye, it is harmonious.

Our word for style does not directly translate to Greek: "stilos" actually means column. The Greeks used the work rythmos, or rhythmn, to convey our English meaning of style. So they would say a building 'follows the Doric rhythmn.' 

Our guide Giovanna has a wonderful line she always says when we stand in front of this temple to explain this concept:

"Architecture is solid music. Music is liquid architecture." 

A summer nessescity

In a land where iced coffee (as Americans know it) is as close to a reality as a unicorn, alternatives must be found. 

And also in a land where, in the height of summer, temperatures can reach well into the 100 degrees Fahrenheit, cold coffee in a nessescity.  

My go-to (Italian style) cold coffee is a caffè shakerato. 

They’re great because A) they can be ordered practically anywhere B) they contain coffee and C) are ice cold.  

It’s a simple recipe: 

A shot of espresso, ice cubes and simple syrup all combined in a cocktail shaker. Usually served in a Martini glass. 

I like them because I can feel fancy, even if for just a second, while I sip this classic Italian summer staple and drip with sweat at the same time.

Antico Caffè Greco on Via dei Condotti in Rome is a common stop for me and should be for you, too, should you find yourself there.

PRO TIP: order it at the bar and you will pay much less but still get to enjoy the ~fabulous~ atmosphere. At the table is much more expensive but the service is superb.



What a conversation

It’s not often that I long to be a part of a stranger’s conversation but I couldn’t help myself after observing this scene for a moment.  

I was walking in the Jewish quarter of Rome and had already passed this group of women when it struck me just how significant a moment it had been that I just passed by. 

Six women and one little girl. How incredible a sight to see them having a conversation. Six women, each probably having lived at least seven times longer than the little girl. But they were sharing their collective experience with her. 

It was a simple moment on a Saturday evening. One that happens probably almost every day in the exact same spot. But it’s the repetition that makes it special. That little girl will be better off later on in life because she has these memories and the the shared wisdom.



Ramblings #1

Just the other day a friend told me she wished I would write more. She told me she thought I had a funny way of saying things and she liked it. 

So here's to her and taking the lid off of Pandora's Box because there is no going back now!


I, too, wish I would write more. It's a cathartic release but also one of the hardest puzzles I've ever had to do: choosing the right words and putting them in the correct order so that the meaning in my head matches the point coming across on paper (or a screen). 

I am going to commit myself to writing more. Not necessarily about Italy or travel but just about life in general. But since Italy and travel are a ~big~ part of my life, you can fully expect some of that, too. 

I have always enjoyed writing, though my confidence in my ability has gone through peaks and valleys over the years. Some of my favorite things I have written came about either on a caffeine-fueled adrenaline-surged afternoon during a college finals week or a sudden epiphany at 3AM and hastily transcribed on my phone Notes app using questionable knowledge of the English language. 

I have often tried to put too much thought into what I write, mainly because it used to be done for a grade. But know I'm not writing for a grade. I'm writing for me. And I guess also for whoever else wants to follow along. 

I remember being told in 9th grade English when we were learning about fragmented sentences and dangling modifiers and whatnot we were told we had to learn how it all works in order to break the rules. Well, I think that time has come.