Narrow streets are laid out in orderly squares, stairs climb steeply on both the North and South sides, following the land. From the higher vantage point, red-orange tiled roofs give contrast to the grey stone streets and walls. On doorsteps and lining the sides of the stairways, plants grow and flower in pots, lovingly cared for. In places, potted rubber trees reach skyward, filling the space between buildings. Other trees peek over walls, hinting of private gardens. Church bells chime the hours and calls to prayer, two curiously offset by a few minutes; the hour of eight rings in one bell tower, and a few minutes later in another.This ancient, walled town plays host to tourists, but is also home to the people who take great pride in it. The walls are clean of the graffiti that covers so many of the walls of Venice and other European cities, scrawled tags painted on ancient buildings. Here, even the back walkways are clean and loved, without spray paint or urine scent, detractors in so many other places.
In a square in the center, stands selling vegetables and flowers are set up under bright umbrellas. As morning progresses, camera toting crowds wander in. Tour guides lead groups in various languages, telling stories from history. Restaurants slowly fill with those seeking coffee. The magical quiet before the crowds fades, and the day begins.