On our trip to Italy last Fall, we visited Tuscany, a must see for the first time tourist (my wife in this case). We quickly tired of the "Disneyland" that the heavily touristed cities have become (think Siena).
We were staying in a small town that isn't in any guidebooks, Torito di Siena. Evidently, no tourists think of visiting the old part of the city. But we did. And there we recaptured the charm and authenticity of Tuscany. A small hill town, walled like the others.
I made this image in the duomo (church) which is hundreds of years old and only about the size of the tourist desk of Siena's much more famous duomo. We sat and took in the special feeling the place gave us. Thought about the thousands of lives that have been through it. It was a completely genuine and peaceful place to collect our thoughts. Occasionally one of the town's elderly residents would shuffle by the open door.
And today I know that the town's residents will gather here as they have for centuries for their Christmas mass. With it's low birth rate, and what relatively few youth there are flocking to cities for the opportunities there, Italy is rapidly changing. I'm glad we got to see a window in to the real Italy as it has been for centuries.
Happy holidays to my friends everywhere.