Far from Madison County

Cee, of Cee’s Photography — here of late our resident “cartographer” — concludes her Fun Foto Challenge “Which Ways” series this week, and wants us to BRIDGE the gap with our cameras and capture a few frames of expanses that we’ve come to know, traverse and appreciate.

If you’ll take my hand, let’s JUMP OFF together and land on a romance novel-slash-movie set.

The_Bridges_Of_Madison_CountyIn 1992, author Robert James Waller penned the best selling novel The Bridges of Madison County. It tells the story of a lonely Italian war bride (Francesca Johnson) who engages in an adulterous affair with a National Geographic photographer from Bellingham, Washington (Robert Kincaid) who has come to Madison County, Iowa in order to create a photographic essay on the covered bridges in the area.

The Bridges of Madison County was made into a 1995 film of the same title, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood as Kinkaid and co-starring Meryl Streep as Francesca.

Street scene - Santa Libera Bridge - Vicenza, Italy | ©Tom Palladio ImagesBut, Madison County, Iowa is some 5,000 miles away, as the old crow flies, from where we’re standing right now — in the middle of a roundabout where Viale Venezia and Vialie Eritenio come together in the Centro Storico (Old Town Center) of Vicenza, Italy — and there’s not a row of corn in sight. So, what’s up?

What’s up — actually, what’s ACROSS — is a nice easy stroll around this three-river city to take in all eight of her ponti (bridges) that are very, very far from Madison County, both in distance and time.

Are you up for this? Great.

To know and appreciate the bridges you first have to understand why they’re here.

View of the Centro Storico from Ponte Furo - Vicenza, Italy | ©Tom Palladio ImagesLike the veins on the back of one’s hand, three fiume (rivers) run through and around Vicenza’s Centro Storico: the Astichiello, the Bacchiglione and the Retrone.

Each body of water has a different starting point — all outside of Vicenza proper — but eventually they all merge and become one river as the “united” Bacchiglione takes on volume and gains power, flows out of the city due east and eventually empties into the Adriatic Sea’s Golfo di Venezia (Gulf of Venice) near Chioggia.

Now that we know why they’re here, what are these eight overpasses that provide easy access to the other side? Well, to quote Igor from the movie Young Frankenstein, “Walk this way,” and I’ll point them out.

There you have it. The eight bridges of Vicenza’s Centro StoricoFuro, Santa Libera, San Paolo, San Michele, Barche, degli Angeli, Pusteria and Novo (f.n.a. delle Convertite). All of these expanses are very far from Madison County, Iowa; but, just the same, are certainly worthy of a NatGeo photo essay.

©The Palladian Traveler | © Palladio Images

The Palladian Traveler's Borsalino over cobblestone | ©Tom Palladio Images


Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along the travertine and cobblestone that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches via TravelingBoy.com and Anthology Magazine Ireland.


      1. It’s a ruse. I act clumsy and charming men hold my hand. Of course if you would have known that you would have given me a shove. 🙂


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