The clustered umbrellas at a beach near Amalfi in Italy.
There's something about "summer in the Med," as many call it -- those deep blue waters, endless stretches of sandy beaches, distant chatter & laughter and, of course, the faint smells of suntan oils & cremes. It is all very casual: lunch in umbrella-lined cafes, those crowded, over-stocked souvenir shops, strolling young lovers with tightly locked hands & arms. For me, the sun seems stronger, deeper, even more yellow in the Med.
Yes, most of all, Italy in high summer. It is not quite the same, at least as I remember, in Spain or Greece, the French Riviera or even remote Albania. I suppose it is also something to do with those highly stylized Hollywood films of the '50s & '60s -- that Italian romantic quality. Neatly organized rows of colorful umbrellas line the shore as sleek, alluring yachts patiently wait at anchor and all while the ever-present church bells faintly sound from somewhere in the background.
It is a typically warm afternoon; the date is August 1981. I was visiting on a P&O cruise, aboard the Canberra.