Archive for the 'Italy' Category

Make him an offer, Spanish sore points, GIVE HIM BACK HIS CAMERA!

The Wandering Nerd November 17th, 2007

Napoli is a pretty nasty city. On first impression, getting out of the train station you’re assaulted with noise, grime, cars and street vendors. It doesn’t really get any better. A couple highpoints though, went to Di Matteo and had a Margareta Pizza. They’ve been making them for about 200 years, so they have it pretty well down, true nummy goodness. To round the trip out a big group of us watched The Godfather in the hostel. Other than the hostel and pizza, and in spite of my hopes, Napoli sux0red. The entire time I was there it was cold and raining. We only had a short reprieve while in Pompeii.

Pompeii, the site, is very cool. Imagine what it must have been like for them, back in 79. I don’t know about you, but I’m enjoying saying things like, ‘Yeah, back in aught-3 I was doing so and so…’. When they would have said, back in 79, they literally meant back in 79 AD. It wasn’t even AD then, we had no concept of Anno Domini.

Where was I, oh right, on the 24th of August 79 Vesuvius blew it’s top. I suspect the concept of what exactly a volcano could do was not well known. From the viewpoint of the average person it must have been the Gods going all medieval on the asses of an unsuspecting community. Not like I haven’t dropped the occasional Volcano in to liven things up in Populous.

The city of Pompei was covered in 23′ of ash (7m). Taking a snapshot of life at the time. Excavations began in earnest in the mid-1700s. They would excavate a bit of the city and pour plaster in over the bodies. You can see the plaster casts of people still tortured by the deadly gases and ash that took their lives. There’s a particularly gruesome cast of a dog twisted in torment. Seems like an unpleasant way to go. Though we did liven it up a bit by coming up with interesting poses we’d like to be found in, were it us.

The streets and homes are preserved as they would have been. The wheel ruts from the carts that passed through the city can still be seen in the pavement stones. Even the more base aspects of humanity remain. Graffiti still adorns the walls in certain places - Lucius painted this. Yeah, there’s some worse text, be warned following that link. The brothel still has pictures decorating the walls. Ancient red light districts had stone beds Now that’s getting your rocks off, eh?

In a few of the pics you’ll note that there are certain stones that are extruded out of the streets. When it would rain the streets would get flooded with wash, mud, and just a general muck of humanity. The stones would allowed pedestrians to cross the streets without stepping down into the mess, while still allowing carts to pass. Pretty clever. They even had bathhouses with running water, running HOT water. Hell, the last two places I’ve showered haven’t even been able to manage that damn trick!

in the shape of things to come.
too much poison come undone.
cuz there’s nothing else to do,

NO FOTO! What are all these rocks, and I need another Coke Zero…NOW!

The Wandering Nerd November 13th, 2007

Internet access continues to be difficult to attain. The Italian Government has passed some strange law that requires anyone getting on the internet to present identification, like a passport. All of this under the guise of ‘anti-terrorism.’ I’m not sure how the hell that’s going to work, but it certainly makes it impossible to find any freely open hotspots. Luckily there happens to be a few things around, y’know, the Coliseum, the Vatican, more ruins than dog poop.

Speaking of, here’s the Coliseum:

A number of travelers were saying they weren’t impressed with it. I personally thought it was magnificent. Being in there you really do get the sense of the roar of the crowd, the blood and sweat, the energy. Just gets the old adrenaline muscle going. I also sat down in the sun and had a listen to Tom Wait’s In the Coliseum. It had to be done.


We hit up the Vatican, which had a line that stretched over a kilometer and apparently it was a short one that day. If I was vaguely fed up with religious imagery before I’m chock a block full now. The Sistine Chapel is impressive. The Last Judgement has some interesting history behind it. Yay censorship! Michaelangelo’s painting gets a redo buy some stuffy bloke that just paints pants on everyone. The Raphael rooms were impressive, though too dark to actually see the detail of the works. Many Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles references were made along the walk - the 3 hour - walk through the Vatican.

I sent a postcard back to myself from the Vatican as you can see to the right. Brois roll with the Pope halfway around the world.

I asked at the gift shop - one of the many along the way - where I could buy a Pope Hat. Italians have no sense of humor, or maybe it’s just the Catholics.

The Vatican has amassed one hell of a collection of art, and I was delighted to find modern stuff in there as well, the had a really cool Soto.

You’re not allowed to take photos in the Chapel itself, they have a number of Italian ‘guards’ wandering through the crowds, yelling ‘NO FOTO!’ and clapping at people - I don’t know it must be the Italian equivalent of snapping your fingers at someone. It’s not like it really stopped anyone from taking fotos, they just take them from about crotch level straight up and get some funny booger shots along with Michaelangelo’s masterpiece. The irony is not lost on me.

Well holy crap, the Vatican has it’s own Domain. It’s .va I knew it was technically it’s own country, but that’s just cheeky.

I also stopped by the Modern Art Museum here, so more Art links:

Alberto Burri - Wicked looking pieces.

Marcel Duchamp - Ready made is a bunch of crap, I gotta’ say.

Giovanni Boldini - Clearly saw the sensuousness of women.

Salvatore Postiglione - I couldn’t take a photo of the painting I liked and now I can’t find it on the web…Bastards!

Alright children, I’m off to find some pasta - I hear they have it here. Here are some common pics from around Rome. There are also some not quite so common ones. Those who know will appreciate. Enjoy!

UPDATE - You need to see this. “By adding moisture and physics!

in a world of human wreckage
i’m lost and I’m found
and I can’t touch the ground
i’m plowed into the sound

Dominus tecum, roll it, and homemade sangria

The Wandering Nerd November 10th, 2007

I’m glad I stopped over in Florence. It’s a cool city, and has some interesting art, all strongly dominate by religious imagery…like strongly. I’m not religious at all and there’s a limit to how many crucifixions and immaculate births that I can handle. The Uffizi doesn’t allow you to take photos, the bastards. Not even without flash. *chuckle*

The have a number of pieces from Botticelli, including The Birth of Venus. Much more impressive than the Mona Lisa.

Quick art links:

Dosso Dossi

Salvator Rosa

Luca Giordano

Guido Reni

I didn’t write down any of the specific pieces, but generally liked the stuff they had.

I considered going to the other gallery in Florence, Accademia Gallery, to see Michaelangelo’s David, however they have a very good reproduction of it in the outdoor statue gallery. Supposedly there isn’t really much else in there worth seeing and I was running out of time, so I gave it a miss. One more thing to do next time around.

One thing I never thought would be problem has been something as simple as shaving. I’d been getting pretty shaggy and decided to go to an Italian Barber - too bad I wasn’t in Seville. It’s an interesting experience to let a guy hold a straight razor to your neck while you know for a fact you can’t communicate with him on any really important matter such as, ‘oh shit, I’m bleeding.’ Best shave…ever. You’d have to polish a babies butt for a while to get that level of smoothness. Luigi - sadly he was wearing a blue coat, not green - did a hell of a job. Shaved once, then went through and did it all over again with a finer blade. I think I’m going to just keep doing that whenever I need the shave thing…now only if I can find someone to bath me regularly I’ll be set. I’m taking applications, though be aware there are stringent requirements. Being female is considered a big plus.

and the animals I’ve trapped
have all become my pets
and I’m living off of grass

Next »