Italy Extravaganza~ Trees of Italy

     Hello, everybody, and welcome to the final installment of our long running, and perhaps ill-fated, series on my trip to Italy. We had some laughs, saw some good art and graffiti, not to mention lots and lots of mountains, but I kept out of the posts all those shots that got ruined. You see most of the pictures I took were from the window of a car and so naturally sometimes things got in the way. I also didn’t put in shots of the same thing three or four times, I left out the blurry shots and the shots where I was entirely unsure of why I had taken the shot in the first place. Thus, with no further ado from me, the last Italy post. Here are the trees of Italy.


   This was supposed to be a shot of a sweeping plain with mountains in the distance. This is a shot of the front of a gas station. Isn’t it inspiring?


     Oh look, a tree! This one’s a keeper. They don’t have trees like this back in the States, except all the places that they do have trees exactly like this one.


     Yay! Mountains and…oh come on! Who the hell decided to pass us now!? Down in front, jerk!


     A sign!? Really!? And not even a sign, it’s the back of a sign. This is one for the photo album.


     Taking pictures of mountains can be tough work, you have to wait until the gap in the trees and damnit! Not again!


     Oh, come on! How many more trees can Italy possibly have!?


     I’m starting to think I hate trees. Like a lot.


     Oh, hey look! A mountain! Maybe I can get another good shot of it.


     Damn you, trees! I’ll get you next time!


     And now the very earth itself rises in defiance of my getting good pictures. This is an act of God.


     Hey look a cool castle! And… a cell phone tower, I think. Well, it could be worse.


     Oh, look! A cool castle and… a telephone pole. I don’t think it gets any worse than this.


     I hate you.


     Wow. I don’t even know what that is.


    Oh, look, a random stone pillar and trees. We simply can’t leave until I get me a shot of that…and not the amazing mountains behind it.


     This is the grapes of wrath. As in. I wanted to take a picture of the stuff behind the grapes and this is causing me wrath.


     I’m not showing you all of these, but this should give a fairly good idea of the kind of trees I put up with…I mean the kind of stuff that…nevermind.


     Ha! Foiled your plan, trees! This mountain was too large to blocked from view! Muhahahaha!




     Oh, what!? This is positively becoming the Truman Show. That could only have been planned by a man in a giant box in the sky.There. Mission accomplished.

Italy Extravaganza~ Day XV

Here we are, at last. The last post for our little jaunt through Italy. The last day or so we spent in a place called Norsia My parents had a series of meetings to go to, which gave me a chance to sit around and get some writing done. Thanks to my exhaustion, I took very few pictures of the town, even though it was exactly the kind of town I was looking for in the first place. On the second day we were there, when we were going to leave and head off to Rome, I took some pictures from a place where I could see one of the valleys that the town overlooks. I also took some pictures in the town itself, but not as many as I really should have. You may be asking why I didn’t take any pictures in Rome. Well, we arrived very late and we only went to Rome for the airport. Once this post is done, we’ll take a break of a week and then I’ll do the trees of Italy post and maybe a wrap up post talking about the trip back. With no further delay,


This was tone of the only street shots that I had taken by the end. I really wish I had taken more, but I got distracted by the view you’ll see in just a bit.


One more shot of sadly faded paint. This one was really painful to see.


And this is pretty much the only shot I took of the church. I really liked this one statue.


This is the same shot from a little further back. What’s that between the buildings? I do believe it’s mountains.


This was the other street shot I really needed. It was close to the monastery, I believe, and I really wish I knew what that building straight ahead was.


And here it is, the valley I became entranced by while I was waiting for my parents. Most of the time we saw valleys like this, we were so far away. You better believe I took advantage of it. Thankfully, I’m not forcing you to look at all of them.


This is the one building that I really wanted a shot of. I know that there’s a monastery out in the countryside that is in need of repair, but I am not quite sure of where it is. Either way, that building was pretty cool.


On the way to Rome we ran into around three castles that were amazing. A few towns also were worthy of note. Here is one of the few that I was able to get a decent shot of.


I really should have just had my camera out the whole time.


In fact, I think I’m going to skip the castles. Maybe in the trees of Italy post, I’ll post the best one I saw. I never got a good shot of it not through a chain linked fence, so I’ll hold off.



This was a series of buildings on the other side one of the castles I passed. These I got. The castle I missed. And that’s it. Rome and then we flew home. Next Friday? The trees of Italy. This was a short post. Blah.

Italy Extravaganza~ Day XIV

    The time for restraint has well and truly passed us by. The trip was almost over by this point, and I really was eager to come home. Consequently, there are almost no pictures for the following couple of days. I took some pictures of the town that we went to from way out on a walkway that lead out into the ocean, but that’s pretty much it. My father and mother have some friends of whom the wife is Italian, originally. Sort of. Her family is from the town we were in, as well as around the area. We went out to lunch, so naturally most of the time I was not taking pictures. Here, then, for you viewing pleasure is my last day of being a tourist. After this, I switched over to full on writing mode.


     This is the outskirts of the town we had lunch in. Rather, perhaps, the part of the town that touches the sea. There was a very nice walkway for going out on that goes very far out into the sea. What I was interested in was the clouds.


     The other problem was that the seaside towns we had been at before we hard to take pictures of since we were so far away from the parts I wanted to see.


     Oh, look! Mountains! I love how the clouds are hanging so low over the mountains in these shots.

I did managed to limit myself to two shots this time, the town was not as picturesque as I would have liked. I think it’s the tents up front on the beach. If we went to the beach, I would have liked them, but it wasn’t the kind of shot I was looking for. But hey, mountains.


     Here was the only design of note on the entire walkway.


     ….ok, I lied. I did want one more shot once we got really far out, because this was the best shot of clouds hanging over a mountain I was able to get. I was able to get a really good shot from this far away, as well.


     This was the most amazing castle I saw. Sadly, I was unable to get anywhere near it. This also gave me a lot of candidates for my trees of Italy post later.


     This is the town connected with that castle. At this point I couldn’t even be bothered to get out of the car. It was too hot, I was too tired and yet this town was too cool. I really want to go back there, someday. Wanna go on an adventure someday, Miss Cobwebs?


     This is a cat. An Italian cat. It was doing pretty much what I wanted to be doing right then.


     Good lord, look at that castle. It dominates the height and it has multiple layers of defense. That is one beast of a defensive point.


     This was the best and closest shot I got of the castle. It’s also one of the shots I’m proudest of from the entire trip. It was taken from a moving vehicle and it had to be timed so that trees weren’t in the way. This took a lot of attempts.


     On the way to our last stop, we ran into a lot of these places. Ruins and small towns atop hills that once upon a time likely belonged to minor nobles.


     Sadly, most of the pictures are too far away to enjoy them. I chose one that I really liked and had a decent shot of to play representative. Now, let’s wrap this up with one more post.

Italy Extravaganza~ Day XIII

     Welcome to Lucca, the last major post of our little Italy recap. Lucca, which was the last time I took any kind of pictures, marks the true end of the trip, so far as I’m concerned. We went to Pisa today, and the part of the city we were in was again the old part, which lead to its own excitements. I was excited because the city retained its own walls.from the old Roman days. I really loved the church in town as well, or one of the churches anyways. The church is, ironically, what lead me to getting this church mixed up with the one from in Florence. That is, at the very first glance. It’s the green and white style that I’ve actually seen in more than one place, but this is far less ornate than Florence. So, today is essentially a double post, since you’re also getting Pisa. The last post of Florence was also a double post for all intents and purposes. I’m reaching my limit, as well, so it’s time to just get this done.


     Another do not enter sign. This one is being carried away by a stick man who has two pancakes sticking out of his shoulders. Oh, wait. Those are wings. Right.


     This was a random small church we passed by. As you can see from the gates, we couldn’t get in at first. The entire small little area outside it was literally covered with old pieces of art. The one that caught my eyes was this coat of arms.


     It really felt like these were pieces of history that got saved and preserved by some individual with a lot of time on his hands and a big heart.


     It reminds me of St. Ambrose in Milan, in the very first church we went to the whole walls outside were covered with these things as well. Each one of these coats of arms is so unique.


     That is so awesome. I am so very glad that we stopped here. I’m not sure if I noticed this place or my parents did, but I am so very happy to have gotten this shot.


     Oh, yeah. Words fail me. I’m not the kind of guy that’s just crazy about skull and crossbones and their own, but this design is so very awesome that it deserved a mention here.


     This was the small church we went into. I am so, so very sorry Miss Cobwebs. I wanted to get shots of all the icons, but we were going somewhere else and I got dragged away. I stopped just long enough to get a few shots. Out of all of them, this was the one that turned out well.


     And here’s some more graffiti.


     Still more graffiti. I felt very angry every time I saw graffiti in the old part of town, even when it was on a steel door.


     Somehow I feel like I saw that “Trash is Love” with the heart in a few other cities. Again, along with the stencils of the stuff outside stores and homes, like green or black hearts and the whole trash is love thing, if anybody knows what these mean please tell me.


     One last graffiti. I skipped the stuff right outside our hotel, because it was just kind of ugly.


     Here’s one of the churches we found in town. I really loved the coats of arms above the windows.


     I really do love these coats of arms. This is the last coats of arms we’ll see, pretty much. There might have been a few more in Pisa, but after Pisa there’s no more heraldry.


     I really missed seeing the larger ones, but the ones above the windows are a nice way to go out.


     This is why I’m not even cutting out one of them. I’m so very sad to see the parts of the trip go that I enjoyed the most.


     A shot for perspective. This church is just huge. It’s not enormous, but it is fairly sizable.


     Lucca was interesting because we just walked around. We never had a destination, we just wandered around and I took pictures of things. This lead to perhaps the most amazing moment in my entire trip. Oh, yeah. That is saying a lot.


     So I made my parents stand around while I took pictures of all the coats of arms because I was mad at them for making me leave the church with the icons.


     Just a couple more of these and we’ll be ready to go, I swear!


     Our hotel was right by a local square that actually had a carousel in it that drove my father nuts. That did mean we were right near the action, however, and it certainly made looking for a place to eat easier.


     …ok, so I broke and took a few pictures of the alley outside our hotel.


     Thank me for being selective. The whole walls were just covered with graffiti.


     More of the most basic writing imaginable.


     …words fail me.


     This is the parking lot. That was the church, I believe, right next to the parking lot. Because when you’re in the old part of town, you put parking lots where you can.


     And it has a tower!? I love towers!


     One more shot of the building next to the parking lot. I think I was just very amused by the hotel parking lot being next to this church.


     Now this is double the fun. It’s the snake eating the guy, or the dragon, and it’s got the brilliant white color and the green! You see how I got a bit confused, though, right?


     At first glance, it looks very similar and when I was trying to figure out where one day ended and another began, all I saw was the green and white. And this is another image I love.


     I had to briefly take a shot of the buildings near the church.


These designs were all on the underside of the church near the door. Just wait until I show you the front. It’s not on the level of the Duomo at Florence, but it’s pretty impressive.


     A relief? Goodness, this really was a good place for me to drag my feet.


     And they’re holding a coat of arms? Kind of…? I really loved this church. It was another of those much needed revitalizing moments.


     And this one has really old writing under it? Sorry, I’m remembering how amazing this church was. It’s flashback time!


     The plaque required a shot, but by this point I wanted to get a shot of the front of the church for scale. Little did I know the wonders that awaited me.


     You may have noticed that each of the little symbols has two little circles under each one. Those designs are coo, the pictures are awesome. Add to that the line below it, and you have something memorable on your hands.


     At least these aren’t the twelve zodiac symbols. I mean, come on people. If you had to choose between a giant snake eating a guy or Capricorn, who do you go for? Clearly, this church made the right choice.


     And some more stonework. I still like Florence more, but this is pretty damned impressive.


     Just a couple more and we’ll be going to the front of the building. I hope you are sufficiently excited.


     Hey, hey! No cheating! You see the front of the building when I say so!


     Some of the details of this relief really have seen better days. Makes me wish this church had a little bit of lovin’ from the town would be nice.


     And here are the last bits of relief, I wanted just a bit more detail on the bottom.


     A lion!? This place has everything!


     And here is the last one. I’m not sure what this design is, so I brought it back for my resident art expert, Miss Cobwebs. Can you lend me a hand with this one too, dear?


     And here it is! The front of the building. Not too impressive, you say? Just wait. You’ll see.


     Getting a better idea of why now? Almost every column is different.


     Naturally, I started off with the sculptures on the side of the building.  At the top, you can see the each column is designed differently.


     And here’s another lion, I think and hope, one of the better sculptures on the building.


     Suddenly, I noticed the designs on the wall. It ran across the entire side from end to end, and I really loved trying to capture the entire thing.


     It’s still very different from Florence, on closer examination isn’t it? Each individual picture works in relation to each other, but there were no connecting bits as with Florence. And above the designs is another set of designs in darker colors that I actually just noticed.


    And here’s the last shot for this center bit.


     At this point, I realized every column was its own deal and I pretty much gave up trying to take shots of every single one.


     So I compromised and took a few closer shots just to illustrate my point. This is the only one I’ll torture you with.


     Anarchy! Because we haven’t seen that enough, yet!


     We’ve seen something about your reality. Now the Joker apparently wants me to use my illusion. Can do, sir!


     And here’s another do not enter sign being removed by the anarchists.


     A lion for whom it is too late for restoration. Lion, nooooo!


     The selling point of the old town is that it does maintain the old Roman walls around it. I took a ton of pictures of it.


     As you may remember, when I see walls I start thinking about how to break them. These walls would have been very hard to breach indeed back in the the day. The entrance leads into a hallway.


     What I tried to do in at least a few of the shots was to give you an idea of how much space there is to walk around on once you are atop the walls and how far the walls go.


     Here’s a shot of the church from a distance.


    I took this shot mostly because of the graffiti. Really? On the Roman wall?


     And now I wanted the scope of the wall. Note where it turns.


     All around the entire wall there are parts that jut out and create overlapping fields of fire.


     Same spot from the ground level. I only realized how high the walls actually were once I was on the ground.


     And that is where I just too the first pictures from, I believe.


     Here I wanted to back up and get a shot of the indent. It’s true that the wall is much lower there, but that one place has three fields of fire pointed right at it. But I’m inclined to  believe it’s tempting on purpose.


     And here’s the moat around the wall. Not the whole wall, I guess. It’s not that deep either.


     Oh yeah. Graffiti on the map of the city. Wonderful.


     And here’s another of the graffiti pieces that I really liked.


     One more piece of graffit and then we’ll hit the high culture, I promise.


     Truth be told, I was not a fan of the leaning tower of Pisa. Think of the church we just saw. Now look at this. It’s a tower. Hey remember that tower in Florence? Yeah. It’s a tower that leans. Yay. Stop the presses on this one, guys.


     Ok, now I’m hooked. The church was awesome. The tower was ok.


     Good God that church is awesome. I think it’s partially because there’s nothing else around it except the tower. Well. The tower and tons of tourists pretending to hold it up, with their friends telling them to move. And before you ask, I refused to do that shot. It’s a pain in the ass.


     While I did like this church, I think I had been spoiled by Florence and Lucca. I took some shots of it, but it was way too hot out to get excited about it.


     Ok, the designs were nice. I guess I was just mad about having to go to Pisa. Really, we’ve seen better towers.


     A closeup of the art just above the door. And the top of my father’s head.


     At this point we started making our way around the church. So that meant more artwork that I actually liked.


    The designs on the wall were quite nice, but my parents were eager to get to the tower.


    And here’s some more artwork above the door where the sun refused to be a team player, but this one is for you, Miss Cobwebs.


     I guess I should take a picture of the tower.


    Hey, Miss Cobwebs! Look what I found! I knew I had seen this symbol somewhere else!


     And here are some doors that I had to take a pictures of. In fact, these doors had my back to the tower. Go figure.


     This is me, not taking pictures of the tower of Pisa. The one that leans.


     I did really think these doors were really amazing.


     And here’s one last shot of the door.


     We better go to whatever this finger is pointing at. It has yellow fingernails.


     Here it is, the one thing I remember. The random bookstore we ran into that was out in the streets. Oh, how I wanted those books.


     And we ran into it entirely because I suddenly felt like I needed to change directions and head this way. My parents humored me.


     Ok, so I did make one more attempt to get the front of this church in detail.


     Good lord, that detail. Well, this is pretty much the end. Tomorrow, we just sat around and went out to lunch. The next time, Friday, I will be doing two small posts. One of them will be a seaside town, and the other will be the last shots I took in Italy. After that, I’ll take a break for a week and next Friday I’ll put up a post of the trees of Italy and I will entertain any requests for more photos from people interested in the places I went to, barring the stupid tower of Pisa. Well, I shall see you next time.


Italy Extravaganza~ Day XII, Part III

     Well, today we leave Florence behind. I really miss this place already. Despite my constant bitching and moaning about the Pitti palace, the entire building is just so amazing. The other place we went to was the Duomo, which I made sure to get plenty of shots to take back with me. The entire outside has a band of coats of arms circling around the whole thing, and as you would imagine, I got plenty of close shots. Think of it! This entire time, my desire was to get close to the coats of arms, enough to where I could actually make out the name and get every detail. Take, for example, the coats of arms of the former abbots in the monastery. They were close, but still high up enough on the wall that getting a shot was a pain in the butt. Here, they were pretty much right at eye level. The only restriction was how open I could keep my eyes in the bright sunlight. Naturally, we also got the famous square and the statue of Cosimo de Medici. I am somewhat reluctant to admit that we only did that on the way to something else. While we were on our way through, there was a car show with a bunch of Italian roadsters. I wanted the statue, they wanted the cars. Well, at any rate, next time we start in on our stay in Lucca, along with our day trip to Pisa. With that, things will really start to slide down to the end game. With no further rambling from me, let’s make a start of it, shall we?


      As much of a pain in the butt as getting into old Florence was, we were certainly closer to everything I wanted to see. That coat of arms was the first picture I think I took that day. By this point in the trip, I was exhausted. For whatever reason, this coat of arms helped revive my interest.


     And this sealed the deal. Good God, just look at that building! The entire thing is so ornate. If it hadn’t been so bright out, I could have spent hours in this square just enjoying the outside of the building.


     You can see some scaffolding to the right. It was kind of sad to show up at a time when the scaffolding was there, but that building deserves some loving. Look at the design in that shot. Even the tiled roof feels ornate, old and something worth paying close attention to.


     A shot of some slightly less ornate design, with the baptistry in the background. Oh, have no fear. I got that too.


     Here I really wanted to catch as many ornate things as I could in one shot. The stonework, the archway the building is a marvel.


     And here is my typical shot for scale. I was so blown away by the sheer size of the place. Now, granted, I had been in bigger. Padova comes to mind, for instance, but this was so much more ornate.


    And here is a shot of the baptistry tower. I was unwilling to leave the Cathedral behind.


     Cave Canem. Because even small coffee bars right off of the Duomo run by some random jerk can’t avoid kitsch. It means beware the dog.


     Another shot for the arch and the stonework. The real shame of these buildings is that I never felt like I got it all. There had to be something I was missing. It was an art overload.


     One more of the dome for good measure. The genius of this building, in terms of the most basic visual element, is that no matter where you come from there’s something to see. That sounds simple, but it means that the way the building looks could actually change dynamically depending on where you come from. Your first experience may very well be different from mine.


     Getting closer and closer to the tower. The detail on that one too is just incredible.


     One more arch. Every single one had such amazing art. I had to hold back at this point, but I felt like I could let loose a bit more since we were coming to the end of the trip.


     I kept this shot to show the sun. It got in the way of a lot of my pictures. I had sunglasses before I came here but they were swiped. Who steals prescription sunglasses?


    And here is the first slight closeup of the tower. I wanted more of the cathedral first, but I couldn’t help but take a few shots of the tower before I went inside.


     One more arch. I think what I love about this is the colors. They’re really so vibrant, and again the red and green are just amazing together.


     Another arch. I tried to get every single one that was worth taking a shot of. So. Pretty much, every single one.


     Lion face!? Well, some face. It reminds me a bit of the old guy at the train station. The face on the wall old guy, that is.+


     A shot of the tower next to the duomo. I wanted a shot to illustrate how close they really are to each other.


     A closeup of the stone design near the base of the tower.


     One more arch and a closeup of more stonework at the bas…hey wait a minute! Is that a coat of arms? Oh yeah.


     And are those actual images, not just designs? Oh yeah. I am so there. But I’m not into this enough to get closeup shots of each one.


     Another two coats of arms on the sides of the tower. Not the design running around the whole base of the tower.


     And of course, we need a shot of the tower from up close, looming in the air above us. I could have gone up, but that would have required money so…no.


     I did try to take closeup shots, but the sun was not being a team player.


     A closeup of these coats of arms showed me a depressing amount of cleaning that needed to be done, both on the stone and the coats of arms. Price of admission, I suppose, is tower cleaning.


     And here I made one more attempt at the stonework. It was better, but I would have liked to do it from a bit closer than this.


     I just really liked this shot is all.


     And it was at this point that I began hunting coats of arms. Also, check out the arch.


     A few of these coats of arms seem to have a place of prominence. I don’t know nearly enough about heraldry to know why.


     They sure are cool, though, aren’t they?


     While you can’t read the text on these unless you close in on them, the coats of arms are still amazing. But that’s nothing. Get ready, because here it comes.


     Look at that! Rows of coats of arms! They go around the whole front of the building, it seems like.


     I only took one or two shots before I was dragged inside, however.


     Another of my favorite designs. You see it done in this style in quite a few churches.


     Here’s a long shot for scale. The place is huge, but I still think Padova is bigger. The pillars aren’t nearly as large here either.


     Ok, yes. I took lots of pictures of the floor again. I’m just fascinated by how much effort went into the floor. No church in America does that, that I know of anyways.


     Another shot for scale. There’s something about the shots from the ground that always make me smile. It makes you realize just how high the ceilings are.


     What I like about the floor here is the combination of different geometric shapes. Circle and square, circle and octagon, and so on.


     A plague with actually reasonably legible writing.


     One more design on the floor.


     I stood here and waited for this to clear. Eventually, I just took the shot. This design is even better than the first.


     Some of the paintings felt kind of out of place, however. I liked it, just felt like it was out of place.


    More coats of arms.


     Is this another one of those weird clocks? I can’t tell.


     One more of the same designs. How many is this in one church?


     I wanted to take pictures of the stained glass windows, but…damn you sunnnn!


     Oh, goodness. Look at that dome. I haven’t been so overwhelmed by a piece of art since Ravenna.


     Very simple cross coat of arms.


     A coat of arms in the stonework that clearly needs some loving.


     This is yet another really incredible design on the floor.


     Another design like this? I might have gotten this one, already, but it looks like another one.


     I really did try and take pictures of all the coats of arms.


     It was a depressingly large task, because I kept seeing ones that I had missed the first time around.


     That and taking a shot of each one was simply not happening.


     It made me wonder why they were here. Most of them are hardly from noble houses, or anything.


     Well, I tried to tighten up here a bit and get more methodical.


     Down in front, lady!


     Well, I guess I did try and get all close and get the text under the coats of arms.


     An elephant? Well, these are still cool coats of arms.


     It was so amazing, to see all these things lined up. Especially because, again, they hardly seem to be from noble houses most of the time.


     These are really complex coats of arms, for all these people. I really need to look into the history of this building.


     One last shot of the coats of arms and then I had to go. Not because I wanted to, just got dragged away.


     One last shot of the front of the building.


     Now let’s obsess over the doors of the baptistry.


     I really, really need to learn the history of this city. Especially considering that we’re learning about linear perspective this semester in class.


     I really wanted to make sure I got every bit of these doors.


     So I finally got to the point where I just started off taking one panel at a time.


     This was an endeavor also doomed to failure. I was dragged away too soon to get them all.


     Apparently, they did the seven virtues on one section of the door.


     Sadly, in my hurry, some of those pictures didn’t end out very well.


     Looking back, I’m really wish that I had taken the time to go into the tower.


     And here I didn’t even get the ones that were important, I got to wrapped up in these seven.


     Well, either way, I got all the ones I could get before we had to leave.


     While I was in Italy, I considered myself to be Miss Cobwebs eyes. So I took pictures with that in mind.


     Abandoned building in old Florence?


     Oh yeah! One of my favorite kinds of coats of arms. The stonework with color.


     And here’s my favorite kind of street shot.


     This is the most famous plaza in Florence and the one place I wanted to go. So naturally, we only came here through chance and walked right on through.


     More coats of arms, this time around the clock tower.


     So naturally, I had to get them before I left.


     I don’t think I tried to get another shot of this, but that is very cool. I don’t even know what it is, but I like it.


     Long shot of the plaza and the statue, along with the car show.


     One more shot of the plaza. Again, we walked right through it.


     Here it is. The statue of Cosimo a little closer up.


     One of the clock tower for scale.


     And one more of Cosimo for the road.


     And one of those do not enter signs that clearly has been tampered with. Fight the powah! Till next time, everyone. Lucca and the final posts are almost here.

Italy Extravaganza~ Day XII, Part II

Well, here we are late for the third time in a row. This means another post with lackluster comments. My laptop has decided that it’s too cool for school and it would rather die repeatedly, which means I am posting this from my desktop. This beast has survived down here and the last two years of my undergraduate. While we’re talking over the problems, let’s talk over the problems with the Italy posts. Problems with the Italy posts? Surely not with them!? Well, yes. As you may have noticed, sometimes it’s hard for me to remember where the pictures were taken. An example of this is actually coming up in around three posts. I had those pictures slated as being part of Florence. The cathedral in question certainly does look similar to the one in Florence, it does have the distinctive green and white building look to it. But some of the opening pictures managed to remind me that those pictures were actually taken in Lucca, a place we visited after Florence. Florence itself presents problems, because it really contains two days of photos, but I’m going to keep it as Day XII. Suffice it to say that it was Florence and then Lucca, further complicated by two day trips, and then I pretty much stopped taking photos. Now here, late again, is my second post of Florence. Let’s get our art on!


I really did like these sketches. In fact, I dare say that these dark and odd sketches were my favorite part of the whole museum. Unfortunately, the museum really was not cooperating in terms of taking pictures.


All these sketches, maybe sketches aren’t the right word, but they’re all so cool. The lines are so sharp and the lighting in the drawings are so cool.


This is my favorite one. A guy having a drinking party with a skeleton, because nobody every told him not to go shot for shot versus a creature that can literally not retain any liquid. This has bad news written all over it.


I’m not gonna lie, I was very excited at seeing these old books. Part of me was tempted to just reach in and put them in my bag and try and sneak out with them. Who cares if I could read them? These books are just that cool to me.


Best shot I could get of this picture. It’s really interesting how they’re taking this scene from the bible and make it almost action packed. The image moves in ways that a lot of other paintings I saw didn’t. Naturally, I needed a closeup of the movement part itself.


I’m not sure how theologically sound this image is, but it made the painting so very cool. Again, I must refer to Miss Cobwebs because this seems like something more Easter in influence than Western. When I see you next, please tell if you have seen anything like this before.


Another book. I really loved these books, but sadly not all the books were as amenable to pictures as the other ones.


Like this one. Taking a picture of this thing was a nightmare, and in fact I skipped around five screw ups to get to this picture I had to take of it was from the wrong angle.


This is a shot of the ceiling in the main room of the museum. I really wish I had more pictures of these things, but look at how dark it is. I really would have used flash, but naturally in a museum you need that flash off.


This was around the point before the overload hit. Being hit with so much art at once is like eating nothing but chocolate truffles for around a week. Eventually you start screaming and convulsing when someone even mentions the things. I am glad I got these busts before the wipe out began, however, because they are worth seeing.


The classical Roman style, or what was thought of as such. The beard, the armor and the hair along with the gorgon mask on his armor. This really annoys me about the stylistic revivals that came along later in Italian history, because being an idiot I can’t tell the difference between the new and the old often. I am stupid.


Hey, look! I finally got a shot of the gargoyle thing from the top floor that I really wanted. I think. I might have messed up on that.


Another statue in a very similar style, the beard and hair but it is lacking the gorgon face on the armor. Worthless! I need my gorgon mask or I can’t enjoy this.


What I didn’t like about the Pitti palace is that it was a museum. I had expected a look at the past, and I got it, but not in the way that I wanted. Was there no other place to stick these things? This was one of the hearts of Florentine politics! The statues are cool, but I want to see how it looked back then.


Every time I see this pillar it drives me nuts. The design and colors are so old, but they’r done in a newer style. Just wait until we see the twelve labors.


…..Ok, I guess I can forgive the statue now.


This is the most awesome table I have ever seen in my entire life. Again, the whole design is very busy but it does work. It even is already divided up for plates.


I’m really surprised by how in the Roman style was. I really wish I could pick up on what gives newer art away from older art. The pose maybe?


It’s a lion painted on the wall that looks like it’s going to pop out and eat you.


The Pitti palace had two museum portions. The first was a more straight up museum with exhibits and things behind glass. The second part was the rooms of the original occupants that had been redone later on with art that doesn’t represent the height of Florence, so far as I’m concerned. This means that most of the rooms lost interest to me after that point, so sadly I forgot to take a closer shot of above the door.


I really wish I knew more about this painting. I’m sure there was some card about it, but I have a tendency when confronted with beauty to wander around like I’ve got shell shock. Art first, learning later.


Yay! I love these faces too, though I didn’t see as many to be honest..


Something about this art feels off to me. It’s lovely and inspiring, but it’s also too clean. The lines are to distinct, which I guess stems from the fact that I like the older art that feels more worn and weathered.


And here we are, the twelve labors of Hercules. These things are awesome. I know I just said I hated the cleaner art style, but I’m willing to make an exception for a guy who wrestles a lion.


And this one is fighting the man eating Oxen or something. Either way, things don’t look so good for the bull. Oh right, Bull not Oxen. Whoops, looks like I need to brush up on my Greek myths.


I tried very hard to get all twelve, but I’m pretty sure I missed some. They were all around the wall and some of them were in places you wouldn’t expect.


He had twelve, and how many was I able to find?


This seems like another one, the ugly specter of what I’m starting to think of as retro-art rearing it’s ugly head. Check out the helmet on that guy.


Not sure if this is one of the twelve but the whole room was themed around Hercules. Here he is killing the two snakes as a baby.


And one more! What’s our number up to now? Six!? Wow, I managed to find more than I remember.


And here’s number seven, honestly these are pretty elaborate. As you may have noticed they are in no way in order.


Eight! I’m only off by four. Three if you count the painting version, which may be the only one.


Oh lord. Nothing screams I want to be Roman more than giving yourself a coin in paint. Good lord, the ego on display here.


I really did like this one painting, but there’s one room that I went nuts in coming up. In fact, I’m so excited that I’m just going to ignore this painting entirely.


Here I have to admit that they did get the style down pretty much exactly. I’m willing to admit that it could be emperors of Rome, which does raise the question of why, but I do like this one.


I think I would pay any sum for a table like this. I really wish I had taken more pictures of it, but good God that crest and the lion face are so cool


Here it is, my favorite room. I came back here for the sole purpose of getting more shots. Why? Because this art goes back to the Medici. Naturally, I needed all the shots I could get. I loved the contrast of the white and gold and the detail is amazing.


There were paintings up there, as well, but even the statues and the unpainted bits of the ceiling were just stunning.


A shot to give you an idea of the kind of detail that covered the whole ceiling. It’s decadent, but I love it.


I wanted a close up of some of the only writing in the room.



And this is the other half of the room.


I wanted one more shot of that face before I left. This was the one room that was well lit enough for me to go nuts and get the ceiling.


The paintings themselves were amazing, but I was more interested in the not painted bits. That being said, some of these paintings deserved a shot of their own


Lady victory, lending a hand to those who need her help.


If I had been paying more attention, I would have stayed in this room and only this room. Sadly, I was not paying enough attention because of art.


And here’s a shot of the courtyard again, just to give some perspective.




And here we are back at the front. Again, I would like you to notice the uneven stones on the outside of the wall.



A closer shot to show you how uneven the stones really are. Well, I apologize for the lateness of the post and I hope you all are ready for even more posts of Florence next time. We’ve got two more Florence before we head on to Lucca and then the trip wraps up. A heads up? Lucca includes Pisa, a day trip we took. Very excited. At least I am

Italy Extravaganza~ Day XII, Part I

     Welcome, gentle readers to the beginning of the end. It sounds like I said that before, huh? Well, either way, this is one thing I’ve been looking forward to was Florence. Let me be clear about one thing. I took pictures of the places I went to and out of those, I took pictures of the things I liked. That being said, you’re also only getting the shots that turned out. In some places I really wanted to take pictures of the ceiling and the walls around the ceiling, but it was far too dark inside to get the shots.  We stayed in a former monastery again, only this time we were all in one room. Also, the bathroom required a small walk. These aren’t points not in their favor, just made it a very unique place to stay. The window opened right out into the street, which was not conducive to sleep. We stayed in the older portion of Florence, which carried it’s own problems. With no further ado, let’s begin our beginning of the ending.


     I loved these signs. You’ll notice a few others of guys carrying or flying away with the arrow. This one has a heart through it. Quite fun.


     This was the ceiling of our room. Not sure I took any photos of the room itself.


     A shot of pretty much the entire ceiling.


     I took the effort to try to get the Medusa head on the side. I saw a lot of those, as well, and I tried to get shots of them when I saw them.


     That one also was pretty cool and let me tell you that getting a shot of that was a pain in the butt.


     I’m not sure what that was. Maybe it was a heater? You’ll notice that we had a sink, but no bathroom.


     Graffiti from my window. The one on the left, on the gray box, was not there the night before.


     One of my favorite street shots. I saw this street a lot while we hunted for a place to eat.


    A pig! Or a wolf! A wolf-pig!?


     This is a river near where our place was. Look at those buildings on the other side. Venice was cool and all, but they didn’t allow photos like this.


     Here I am in Italy, being your sunset chaser. I ran out to the center of this bridge and took the shot. Sadly, weren’t there for when the whole sunset, but I think the river makes up for it.


    As you can imagine, I took more shots than this, but most of them turned out not so well due to my attempting to try and get those clouds off in the distance.


    A shot of the bridge that I took the sunset shots from.


     Another anarchy sign.


     Another attempt to get the sunset after I left the bridge behind.


     …I was really reluctant to give up on that sunset.


     Apparently there’s a stencil of a guy painting. Sadly, this is the only one I found.


     I found this on a street that had an icon hanging on the street. The icon, though I tried many times to take a picture of it, never quite worked out.


    This is the door of the church near the former monastery that we stayed up.


     Welcome to the Pitti palace. the place is massive. The stone foundations alone are worth of note.


     The Pitti Palace. The insides took up a whole day and really that we couldn’t spend more than a day or so in this place alone is a crime.


     I was really fascinated by this stone wall leading up the building, as well as the foundation. They’re huge and rough shaped with uniform to them.


     I wanted to get shots of all the lions, but I rapidly gave up. The lions were totally worth it, however. I took these shots while waiting for the tickets.


     Moar lions!


     The courtyard of the Pitti palace. I spent a lot of time in here trying to get shots of the gargoyles on the top floor but they also proved elusive from the ground.


     The art style here was sort of all over the place. This may come partially from the effects of the Renaissance, which itself was a rebirth of many art styles as well as a refinement of them.


    I think it’s a panther. It felt kind of out of place in terms of style.


     What am I looking at? What the hell are those things? They look like something out of Greek mythology.


     One of the disappointing things about the Pitti palace was that most of the art came from after the Medici period. Who would do that? The one set of rooms I came back to was the only one with the original art. The statues and the museum were older stuff, as well.


     Not gonna lie, the stone work was very impressive. Very detailed and wonderful. It wasn’t exactly a sensory overload, due to the uniform color. Some rooms carried stone and paint work on the walls that had to do with the twelve labors of Hercules, but that was a true delight.


     Normally, I cut the blurry shots out, but in this case I left it in to show you that for every shot that you get there are two or more that were rejects. I’m really glad I even got the shots that I did. I was starting to get sick of the stonework, though there are those works here that keep me going.


     Like this one. Dear God, is this epic or what? The work is so intricate but it never overwhelms the eyes. It draws attention to the things that need to be looked out without detracting from the detail. It is quite amazing, to say the least, and I was quite pleased to get a good shot of it.


     Another one that I had to put up, because I liked the shot. Getting the stonework in this museum was nigh on impossible.

     This was one of the only ones that turned out well. The ceiling was so amazing and detailed, but the ceilings were so high that it was hard to get the shots with no flash and very poor steady cam. My poor hands. Still, if any one shot worked out I’m glad it was this one.


     I really do love old books, and while I didn’t get the shot close enough for the text, but to be honest the glass started to prove annoying with the light. It must be difficult to light the museum with the windows providing a quite frankly terrible quality of light.


     Another book, this one of sketches. I really wish that I could have turned the pages somehow.


     A chessboard!? Oh my God, the chessboard is so cool! The borders are awesome and the paint of the actual spaces is so nice. I would love to get my hands on a chess board like that.


     The colors…


     Another one that I’m not sure what it is. They look like moths.


     I could not get enough of these books, but in this case you can already start to see the glass becoming a problem. This one is a diary or a notebook, again making me wish I could flip through it.


     A fragment which I wish I could have gotten closer to. This museum was annoying. Have I gotten that across yet?


     Yes. Oh, yes. The coat of arms in color. And such bright colors.


     Another coat of arms that I wish I saw more of, though the picture just doesn’t do this coat of arms justice. It also lacks color.


     One of the things I loved about this was that the renaissance and the later middle ages started to portray death and dying in a very different light. They became dark and more realistic and less idealized in the case of funeral casks and death masks and that seems to have leaked into the art here as well. You can hardly blame them, with the plague. And explosive diarrhea, which was also apparently a major killer in Florence in the later middle ages.


     That skull. He’s seen better days. Also. Damned glass!


     Detail of a pictured I had to come back to once I noticed all the details.


     And here is the same coat of arms, but it looks like something out of an alchemy book. With some religious symbolism marked down as well.


     One more sketch for the road. The next post will likely be much more Pitti palace to go around. I’m hoping not too much more. Till next time~