Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Tripping in Italy: A midnight encounter leads to a photographer's dilemma

Hotel La Giada del Mesco in Levanto.

I am lost and want to be found. I am in Italy to turn my life around after a dark period in what has seemed a charmed life. Maybe this seven-week escape will reawaken my body, soul and creativity.

By the third week, I am craving the sea and drive to Cinque Terre, the five fishing villages – each suspended from cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean.

It is already midafternoon when I check in to the last hotel room in the area at La Giada del Mesco, my Garden of Eden. But there's no time to rest. I quickly set down my bags, take in the vast sea view from my patio and rush off to explore. I hike, ride local trains and ferry boats to visit each of the villages, returning to my town, Levanto, for my late-night feast of local fish, al fresco.

Story continues below advertisement

It's midnight before I head back to my room, the last one along a dark path at the edge of a cliff. I notice an unusually bright skyscape with rolling clouds and sense the moon over the water "tangoing" with me. Something sparks within me. After a quick shower I set up my tripod and camera equipment on the patio, eager to begin a midnight moonscape series. This is the first time in months that I feel excitement, creativity and productivity. I envision several showpieces for an exhibition at my gallery back home.

Suddenly, out of the darkness, a smiling handsome Italian man, wearing a crisp white shirt and tight trousers, materializes just below my raised patio. He is casually holding a bottle of beer and, leaning toward me, playfully attempts to make conversation. It becomes apparent that he cannot speak English – and I cannot respond in Italian. I am not sure if I should return the smile, as I am not wearing anything but my nightshirt. I consider what to do. While attempting to communicate through body language, I try to share my enthusiasm with what I am photographing by pointing to the sky behind him and to the images on the back of my camera, which he reservedly peeks at without any reaction. What a dilemma – where to put my attention – on him or on my work? Remaining captivated by the luminous moonscapes and reflections on the water, I am determined to make them mine. Eventually, my visitor sits down by the pool, and when the moon finally disappears into the clouds, so has he.

That night, I fret about my broken door lock and wonder – is he a peeping Tom or an axe murderer, a wanderlust tourist, a curious George, or perhaps a roving Romeo?

Surprised to see him again at breakfast, we each squeeze out a meek "buon giorno." His demeanour has changed from stud to dud. He looks defeated – or is that me? The last glimpse of my Italian stallion is of him walking away after breakfast, downcast in his bathing suit.

At first, I am upset at myself for being both moonstruck and dumbstruck. But I console myself with the thought that I did not get the man but I did get my moon.

Send your rollicking 500-word tale from the road to travel@globeandmail.com.

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Licensing Options
Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Globe Newsletters

Get a summary of news of the day

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.