Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Looking in and about the towns of Italy--

Graffiti? Street Art?  Paintings?  All three perhaps
There is so much to see that is not in an official museum or park in Italy- from the graffiti to the wrought iron street lamps, to unexpected statues and fountains...  there are pictures  just everywhere.  I caught a lot of these snapshots on my phone, as it was either when I was in the bus, or it popped up unexpectedly and I didn't have my camera out or what have you.  Of course, some of it was recorded with high numbers of pixels from a dandy camera, but this is definitely going to be a mashup of the two. And though I proclaimed this post as not in museums, I am done with organized thought patterns...  I've had enough of that.  LOL  So peruse at your own risk- the artist brain has finally won over the logic.

Mosaic in Ostia Antica

A few of these photos have probably been on this blog before, but most have not.  I felt like I had a bunch of pictures that really didn't fit into any of the posts- and actually there are a lot more.    It's hard to whittle down when there are so many.

Part of a statue in Venice- the winged Lion with Venus

A plaster cast of  one of the remains in Pompeii

The graffiti tunnel in Florence
I found so many cool things that were an accident- from wandering around, or looking up and over, or just turning around.  I'm always looking where I maybe shouldn't be- I get distracted.  But it leads to the best things.
Bust of the artist Bernini
From the amazing lights that hang from the buildings to the incredible umbrella pines of the south of Italy to the columns and friezes and bits and pieces of buildings and statues, Italy has a lot to look at.

Really cool light fixture! In Roma

Ostia Antica

Pompeii- I think the baths

Mosaics in Pompeii
I loved how after looking at the remnants of the ancient buildings, a few hours later you would run across the modern examples of street art-  of both legal and illicit nature.
An art work in a window in Venice

I think this was in Rome- a figure carved in a stump
Available and hidden:  The ancient art that was valued and portable was available for transport- stolen and collected.  Protected and placed in official churches and later museums and private collections.... kept whole and intact.

Ancient Painting in Pompeii

And of course the amazing column artifacts
Many ancient buildings were either destroyed, fell into decay from neglect, were covered by volcano lava (thank you Vesuvius) and were then hidden.... either whole or in pieces, to be later discovered, uncovered and recovered....  sometimes to be reconstructed, usually on display in some way.

Winged Lion with the Goddess Venus in Venice

Venetian Masks
The juxtaposition of the old and the new- old relics, and the manmade for tourist traffic.   Reconstructed ruins and ephemeral chalk work on the sidewalk......  things that you pay to see and things that you can pay  to take home.

Blogger did some odd things and I don't feel like fixing it- the pic directly above here is a light fixture in Rome, and the pic above this one are some artifacts at the Vatican 

Again - a sculpture up above that is was in the Vatican, and the street art directly above is from the underground tunnel in Florence.

In the same way, modern art we see can be made in ways that are always for display but can be made in both overt and covert ways. Art that can be made to be sold to the passersby,  sometimes literally made on the street and sometimes sold from the street  or created under cover of darkness to be seen with an element of surprise or defiance.  Street art can have pure artistic intent or convey ownership- ownership of a territory by the mark of a swish of paint.  To defy people to spray over, daring them into a  painted argument.  
Artifacts from Pompeii

Street art in a pure form- sold on the street of street scenes

Vessels in Pompeii

Paintings left on the walls from ancient times- I can't remember which one, though.   perhaps Assisi?? 

Side walk art

A lovely carousel--- I think in Florence

Art from the Uffizi

Detail from one of the arches in the Roman forum

Part of a fountain- I LOVE these faces. Venice

The street art of political bent, of pure artistic expression, of decoration- all variations of people expressing their modern ideas amongst a very old old culture.  If I had to choose something that was my favorite thing about Italy, it would have to be this.  The old and the new, the hidden under cover of darkness artists that make prevalent and pervasive statements that are more permanent than those who work legally in the symbolic light of day.
Make revolution irresistible 

Detail of mosaics on the floor in pompeii

Carved detail in a ruins in Pompeii

In Ostia Antica

A beautiful detail in stone- on the ground at Ostia Antica

Some dwellings are an actual form of street art- or at least a decorative art

Italy- a combination of new and old, beauty in all forms- one of the biggest joys in my life- so far. But I have more adventures to come.


It has been a few days ( whoa, could be a week!) now since my last post, and I really need to get this (maybe) last Italy post done.  I have a lot of stuff going on here and I have things BACKING up in my brain.  So I need to finish Italy....

The Pantheon!

The problem with Rome, and the reason that I have not jumped in with a post or two, is that we were there for 3 days and frankly, it has all now blurred together.  And it was the end of the trip and we were TIRED!!  And hot.  Hot and tired and almost an hour from our hotel. Which was beautiful, but we were never there.  Lol.  Did I mention tired??  oh yes, I did. And then there is the photo editing factor- it is quite time consuming to go through that many photos.

Parts of the crowd at the Vatican
Rome was a whole different animal than the rest of the trip.  It was HOT, it was crowded, it was sort of dirty- there was graffiti everywhere.... But WOW, there was a lot of old and amazing sights to be seen.  I really liked being there, but I preferred the north of Italy.  Regardless of that fact, I wouldn't have traded the time for anything.  

Some of the old and "new" (rebuilt) parts of the Coliseum 
We spent a lot of time on crowded roads, watching some crazy driving and some super crazy parking jobs.  We began the first day at the Vatican- it was insane how many people were there- turns out the pope made this a Jubilee year (The Vatican guide said he sort of sprung it on them) and there are these 4 doors through out the city that are only open during those special years- on of them being at St. Peter's.  We went through 2 of them during our trip, there at the Basilica and then the last day at St. Pauls-Outside-the-Walls.....  EVERYTHING in Rome is gorgeous, so let's get that out of the way.  The architecture was outstanding....

Ok, to simplify this all these were the official things that we did as a group:
  • Vatican City
  • Coliseum 
  • Roman Forum
  • Trevi Fountain
  • Spanish Steps
  • Walking tour at night
  • Catacombs
  • Walking tour of Travestere
  • Appian Way
  • Basilica of St. Paul-Outside-the-Walls
  • Ostia Antica
  • plus we shopped and then went to the Pantheon as a little group.
Marcus Aurelius equestrian statue on the Capitoline Hill at the Piazza del Campidoglio. From approximately 176 A.D.!!

We also lost a third of our group on the 10th day as they did not opt in for the 2 day extension, though, why they did that escapes me.  I mean, if you are going to be there, why not go all in??  Oh well, it was fine and actually, really nice, as there were so many fewer people to wait for and a LOT more room on the bus. 14 of the group departed on day10.   By the time Roma rolled around, some of those people were getting annoying.  HA!  But nothing too horrible, and nothing I care to discuss here, it really isn't that important.

Ostia Antica- those umbrella pines, tho!!

What was nice is having a place to stay for 3 days, no moving around of the luggages!!  :)  We had breakfast at the hotel and the first day we had supper there (with wine- YAY) but after that we ate out in Roma.  This hotel was just huge and you could tell the in the day it was a fancy one, but it was a little past its prime.  I have to say, I have never seen a hotel that had hallways as huge as this one- it was like you could fit a swimming pool in the center of it.  It was odd, but fine.

St. Paul-Outside-the-Walls: Outside the Walls of the city of ancient Rome

I was feeling up all the columns I could get my hands on- marble is amazing stuff

So, back to Rome- I probably drove my dear sister crazy, as I was constantly saying- omg- ROSE- all this stuff is REALLY OLD!!!  OLD!!!  Like BC old.  It was mind blowing.  I touched ALL THE THINGS  too, because I am like that and I like the thought of feeling the marble columns that were from 89 BC....  AND there were columns everywhere.  Mmmm, such a sensual experience.... This is the time I really started feeling the shackles of being on an educational tour- we were always on the move.  I was wanting to be in some of these places longer than a quick look and continue.  It was frustrating....  At one point in the Forum, we walked right on past several things that I wish I would have had time to photograph properly instead of drive-bys.  Sigh.  But, that is the way this tour was, and it was good but that was a flaw as far as I am concerned.

Ok, quick hit impressions:

Vatican City- WOW was this beautiful. The buildings were spectacular, the interiors were breathtaking....  the amount of money that the church has in those places is disturbing, actually.  I did love seeing the Sistine chapel, the colors of the the painting on the ceiling were superb, it was beyond words to see it in person.  I also saw Michelangelo's Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica and that was beautiful.  Interesting how the artist's work brings out the crazies- that sculpture, like the David, was attacked by a person with a heavy object (hammer in this case) and so they are tucked up out of the way and of course have their own security systems. The art at the Vatican is quite amazing, and it would have been nice to be able to get to some of it to really look....

Interior of the Basilica of St. Peters

Michelangelo's Pieta

Coliseum- The coliseum is a tourist attraction for good reason.  It is an interesting place, with lots of the inner workings of it showing under the floor.  I wish I could remember more of what the tour director said, as it was quite fascinating.  It was really cool to walk through there after the tour and look at things up close (touch them, too, hehehe) (I still wish I could have touched the David)

What was below the floors of the coliseum 

Roman Forum- I SERIOUSLY am disappointed in the tour of the Forum- we were so exhausted and hot that this just was too fast and too disjointed for my taste.  Or maybe I was just so tired I didn't comprehend like I wanted to....  The ruins were so interesting- I just loved this part of it.  And would have loved it more.  Columns and architecture galore.

One of the Arches of Triumph in the Roman Forum
Part of ancient Rome

I believe this was a place where there was a shop in the ancient city
The Walking tour we took, included a "stroll" around the inner city, including seeing the Spanish Steps at the end- and I have virtually no memory of what that was all about, and the Trevi Fountain. THAT was quite the fountain!  In fact Roma was full of cool fountains, and most of them you could refill your water bottle in - at least the stuff that comes fresh from the well underground. You know, before it hits the pools under the sculpture and all that. That first day of Rome, was a long one- we walked about 10 miles that day....  we were tired when we got back.

Trevi Fountain
Fontana del Moro  A fountain from the 16th C., the central figure was by Bernini.

Trevi fountain

Catacombs- I have no pix of the catacombs, or very few, as none were allowed underground.  We were UNDER the ground- it was a burial place along the Appian way-  This kicked my claustrophobia into high gear, had to do a little slow breathing in some of the more squishy spots.  Fortunately the guide relayed the information that there are ways out every so often, so you are never more than 30 seconds or so from the surface.  whew. I have issues.  Lol The appian way was a road, a really little road that led from the Sea to Roma I believe...
Part of the entrance to the catacombs....  and some of the artifacts

Walking tour of Travestere- This is a section of Roma that is very popular.  Our guide Daniele assures us that he would love to have a house in that part of Rome.  It is very lovely and picturesque-  I think this we did the second day of Roma in the morning and then we went to the Ostia Antica.
The Tempietto 

Part of the site of the ancient harbor town of Ostia Antica
Clouds, ruins, trees- amazing
Ostia Antica is a ruins outside of Rome, I believe we went there after St. Paul-Outside-the-Wall, which I know we did in the morning.  Ostia Antica was a bit like Pompeii- a ruins of an ancient city that was uncovered, but it was not covered by lava!  The tour was really good here, you could see the places where there was shops, there were places that had some mosaic left on the floors, baths, etc, etc.  Very cool.
Arches and relics

St. Paul-Outside-the-Wall is one of many MANY churches that we saw... in fact after reviewing the photos, it is hard to tell them all apart sometimes.  If one is sleepy and unresponsive to visual clues.... The was the last one, though, and because it had some rocking cool columns, I do remember this one pretty well.  But oy, the churches and more churches and their bossy clothing rules...

Corinthian columns!
Inside the church of St. Paul

AND the very last day in Roma, we were able to have the whole afternoon to ourselves, and we chose to go see the Pantheon- after we did a little shopping of course.  I was wishing that I would have picked up the olive oil I wanted to get earlier, as I had to do some hunting to find what I wanted.  But there is that whole thing about dragging this stuff around in your suitcase!

Dome of St. Peters, Vatican City
It seems I have some negative talk in this post, I think it is the difference between the start and the finish of the trip. I have to reiterate, I loved being in Roma.  I do think the appropriate thing to do is after a marathon session in the north of Italy, you really need a day to just lay on a beach. or by a pool... with your passport safely locked in a hotel room somewhere and no where to go except into the water.  And then back onto the sand or the lounge chair...  And then go hit Rome up with fresh legs and fresh eyes.
Roman Forum
St. Pauls

Sounds like a plan, no?

Our trip ended with a wake up call at 2:30 in the am- we had to board the bus at 3 to get to the airport EARLY so we could get on board to leave about 6:30 am....  We made our flight with no problems, flew Dutch airlines, got to Amsterdam and made it to our connecting flight with a little time to spare. This girl got no sleep whatsoever on the trip back to the States.  But boy did I sleep when I got back here.

Changing of the Swiss Guard, Vatican City

Trevi Fountain

I have a feeling, now that I have gotten this post sketched out that there could be a few random Italy posts as I remember some of it.  And I have to clear the way for some additional things I have rolling around in my mind.
Inside St. Peter's


**It has occurred to me that no one has mentioned to me that they received my post cards.  I sent out several, finally got to buy stamps in Assisi, and then gave the cards to the hotel guy in Sorento.... I wonder if he just threw them away or something.  :(  Well, many of you know that I was sending you a post card and a person or two might have been surprised none ever came.  I sent them, but no sign of them.  Bummer.  But who knows- maybe they are on the slow boat, eh?

Exterior shot in Vatican City

Roman Forum

Part of the Bernini Fountain

I think that the 30 plus photos here are enough for one post, so it seems like I probably have an additional at least picture post still coming.... but I have a kayak trip and a Bayfield trip coming down the pipe here, so I guess patience is the best thing for all of us here!
The Romans call this the Wedding Cake - it makes a great landmark!

I can't believe it has been a month now since I have returned.  This was a time I will treasure in my memory and I HAVE to get myself back there some day soon.

Until then, the joys will be found in Wisconsin! :)