The Afar say Mussolini’s army built it during World War II. It was hard to imagine ebullient Neapolitans out in this aloof landscape. There wasn’t much left. Some washed out bridges. And enigmatic piles of dark stones every 50 yards across salt playas, presumably to guide convoys during sandstorms. The most Italian thing about it was natural: the cracked surfaces of the dry lake beds it crossed. They were polished to a gloss by the desert winds—nature’s finest Roman mosaic, beautiful to look at, pure joy to walk on.
Sometimes, it is the land that imitates art.