Abigail Hines meets an alternative path to Italy

Written by Abigail Hines, CNN For many holidaymakers, Italy is synonymous with the beaches of the Amalfi Coast, the centuries-old city centers of Florence and Rome, the region’s famed pasta and hand-carved jewelry. But…

Abigail Hines meets an alternative path to Italy

Written by Abigail Hines, CNN

For many holidaymakers, Italy is synonymous with the beaches of the Amalfi Coast, the centuries-old city centers of Florence and Rome, the region’s famed pasta and hand-carved jewelry.

But for Alex Bilimoria, founder of the traveling cultural program Buddha Jones, it’s a different kind of romanticism that inspired him to turn his attention to one of the country’s most remarkable cities.

In 2013, Bilimoria embarked on the Road to Susilo Bambang Yogyakarta , a 16-month journey through Asia dedicated to understanding spirituality and experiencing the way “we live in the world we live in.”

It featured visits to destinations including Laos and Cambodia , China, Thailand and Japan.

For a new edition of the Road, which is set to launch January 14, Bilimoria wanted to take the show to a different kind of destination: Italy.

He settled on Caserta, the town which lies on the Med-Atlantic corridor and has a history of trade with several different cultures, including Moors and Jews.

Abigail Hines meets Alex Bilimoria who will chronicle his travels into Central Italy on CNN’s The Road to Susilo Bambang Yogyakarta. Credit: Courtesy Sophia Von Schlippe/Buddha Jones

“There is something so different about Caserta; you know what you’re going to find there,” Bilimoria says. “There’s a dancing underwater event, and there’s always a center of some sort called a Mapari; whatever you want, wherever you want to be.

“These people, I think, were really reacting to this faith, and the kind of humility of that, and taking from this community, giving back to it.”

In contrast, Bilimoria says the people he meets in cities like Florence or Rome will have a “sober atmosphere.”

“But you have different values, there’s different things that we’re after, and this is really the difference.”

Leave a Comment