A Sacred Meeting Spot. © 2017 Jed Smith

I love these faces. I love surreptitiously watching their interactions, and their steadfast camaraderie. The Old Guard, fondly referred to as “Le vecchie guardie” in Italy, is an integral thread, found woven everywhere in the fabric of Italian culture.

Watching The Old Guard can’t help but make you smile

At least that’s my reaction. If only I could eavesdrop on their conversations to round out the picture. Or, maybe it’s just as well (and more fun) to use my imagination, and focus on capturing the moments of interaction. One minute, they’re sharing a joke. Minutes later, they’re lamenting the state of politics. And, then there’s the rich mine of gossip. And, oh how Italians (and human beings in general) love to work over some good, juicy gossip.

The Old Guard

A Sacred Meeting Spot. © 2017 Jed Smith

Then there’s the sacred meeting spot of the old guard

Better not to mess with it. These guys have been camping out in well-worn benches and other places for a long time. Their female equivalents are often close by, in similarly staked out posts.

The Old Guard

Ever Mindful. © 2017 Jed Smith

Don’t be fooled into thinking the old guard isn’t ever mindful of the world around them.

Yes, these good ole boys are keenly aware of most everything going on around them. In the image above, I love catching this fleeting moment of appraisal. No poker face here.

the old guard

Buds for Life. © 2017 Jed Smith

You just know these bonds of friendship have deep roots

And, so I close this brief photo essay with the image above, and with this uplifting thought. Words fall short of conveying the connective tissue that binds these relationships. I’ll let this image speak for itself.

To see this and other photography, be sure to check out my online gallery.