I adore my early morning walks here in Italy.

Yes, a bella passeggiata, a nice stroll, is high on my gratitude list for living in Italy. I try to rouse myself early enough these days to get going around seven or seven-thirty whenever possible. In this way, I can dodge the oppressive heat and the intense light of the sun which can be too much for my light green/blue eyes.

We live on the coast of Liguria and we are quite fortunate to have lovely sea views from our balconies. Getting to the beaches and the lively action at the port is a mere 5-10 minute walk downhill. We regularly take a bella passeggiata along the port and shore, but it’s my solitary stroll up into the hills behind our house that feeds my soul. As I hoof it further and further up the hill, the traffic becomes so sparse as to be almost non-existent. My morning stroll becomes a walking meditation, and my spirit and aperture opens up to take in the many little visual vignettes offered to me along the way.

I set myself a photo challenge.

Using only my iPhone camera, I wanted to look deeper into the surroundings of my bella passeggiata. I resolved to not just go for picture postcard beauty but to seek out beauty in the ordinary. I also wanted to capture elements of Italian life with a more pastoral vibe.

I am a lucky, lucky man.

When I climb the hills behind our house and work up a light sweat, I am reminded of something. The best things in life are indeed free!

So, with all that said, I invite you to join me for my bella passeggiata in the following photo essay.

Bella passeggiata - Long Morning Shadows

Bella passeggiata – Long Morning Shadows

The early morning sun spills through wrought iron elegance to cast elegant silhouettes.

una bella passeggiata

Spying an Italian Classic

Every time I see one of these, especially with an elderly Italian couple inside, I'm a happy man.

bella passeggiata

Scooter Centric Living

We're on board with our own light green Vespa. The rush of wind going to and fro is addictive.

bella passeggiata

Stunning panoramas

I take a pause about a third of the way of the hill to take in this sea view.

bella passeggiata

A season of robust growth

All along my morning stroll I spy squash families and the people lovingly tending them.

bella passeggiata

A culinary treasure

Zucchini blossoms are revered by Italians and served stuffed in many delicious ways.

bella passeggiata

A large olive grove and frantoio

I'm surrounded by hearty olive trees as far as the eye can see. And, a local frantoio (olive press)...

bella passeggiata

Happy flowers and worn textures

I've yet to see any inhabitants in this weathered and closed up old house, but its still feels magical to me.

bella passeggiata

Embraced by cypress shadows

I will never tire of the towering cypress trees that line my daily path.

bella passeggiata

Bountiful bougainvillea

Everywhere I turn I see these brilliant flowers. Liguria is chock full of these beauts.

bella passeggiata

Peaking through gates and fences

Yes, I snoop, but for textural stories and beauty in decay.

bella passeggiata

Lying in wait

An olive gathering net takes a long nap in preparation for a busy harvest in late October or early November.

bella passeggiata

Magnificent pines

At the pinnacle of my journey I stand in admiration of one of Italy's mighty pines. And the views of the sea always leave me speechless.