Avoiding the mess of crowds that Italy throngs with in summer, Berlin-based photographer Maximilian Virgili traveled to his paternal homeland just in time for spring.
Traveling with friends through the landscape, his images of the countryside are at once clean cut and bold, and — as always — masterful in their use of light. Virgili tells us of his journey in his own words that follow: I admire pretty much everything about the culture and lifestyle of Italians – their temper and directness, their kindness and openness, old people’s dress-code, obviously the food, the wine, the espresso which tastes like heaven, no matter where you drink it. Everything seems to have class.
"I have always had a special connection to the country."
My dad is from Italy, so I have always had a special connection to the country. I have traveled quite a bit in the northern part but never made it more south than Rome. I traveled with a friend and we rented a car, so we saw quite a lot in eight days. We landed in Catania and drove down to the south first, stayed there for three days and headed straight through the island to the north, stayed for two days, then back to the east coast for another three days.
Sicily has a very rich and unique history, influenced by Greek and Arabic culture, especially with regards to architecture and cuisine. The cities are still quite empty in spring, tourism doesn’t really start until May. It was interesting to see how everyone got geared up for the huge crowds in summer. I loved the shades of spring — everything is green, the sea is still rough. The weather was very unstable, so we had to change some plans. Not exactly what you’d hope for, still it helped me to get a variety into my pictures. Especially the light was something I’ve rarely seen before.
The landscape was a bit different than I had expected it. It felt like driving through the Alps sometimes, huge mountains with little villages sprinkled on top of them. The coastline is very picturesque, the houses are always built extremely close to the sea or on the hillside, facing the sun. I didn’t get to see the west coast, so I’ll be back for sure. So much more to explore!
"It felt like driving through the Alps sometimes, huge mountains with little villages sprinkled on top of them."
All images © Maximilian Virgili