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Saturday, 07 August 2010


As seen from the sea. We are on the Metro del Mare to Amalfi. We had intended to go to Positano but that port is apparently closed due to bad weather.

Posted by bigblue on 07/08/2010 at 09:31 AM
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Friday, 06 August 2010
The Ruins of Pompei


We visited this amazing site today, and it’s larger than I expected (or remembered). At Pompei one of us met an old school friend and her family. Then this afternoon/evening we went out with some new friends from Naples (who I met in Scotland last week).

Posted by bigblue on 06/08/2010 at 10:01 PM
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Thursday, 05 August 2010


A scale model (1:100) of the ancient city, built in 1879 and housed in the Archaeological Museum in Naples.

Posted by bigblue on 05/08/2010 at 05:34 PM
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Wednesday, 04 August 2010
Beautiful Naples


After two exhausting days walking this busy city we have decided tomorrow to visit Pompei and Vesuvius.

Posted by bigblue on 04/08/2010 at 07:15 PM
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Thursday, 28 January 2010
Lucky and unlucky


Winding up Mount Etna on the modern road that was built over the 2002 eruption’s lava flow one passes the lucky and unlucky houses. Sometimes these are seen side by side.

Slightly further down the slopes there is a religious community that was saved (we were told) by the power of prayer. Presumably the priest of the parish higher up the hill, whose church was destroyed, didn’t pray hard enough.

Posted by bigblue on 28/01/2010 at 07:27 AM
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Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Dubious tat


Along with your triskelion fridge magnets, and busts of Jesus and Mary, you can buy mafiosa souvenirs and busts of Il Duce - His Excellency Benito Mussolini, Head of Government, Duce of Fascism, and Founder of the Empire.  Incidentally, Wikipedia mentions the following as his “domestic achievements”:

his public works programmes such as the taming of the Pontine Marshes, the improvement of job opportunities, and public transport. Mussolini also solved the Roman Question by concluding the Lateran Treaty between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See. He is also credited with securing economic success in Italy’s colonies and commercial dependencies. Although he initially favoured siding with France against Germany in the early 1930s, Mussolini became one of the main figures of the Axis powers and, on 10 June 1940, Mussolini led Italy into World War II on the side of Axis.

Presumably they should have stopped that list somewhere before aluding to the myth of public transport and certainly before mentioning his role in the World War II Axis. Which would leave us with the achievement of clearing the marshes and creating job opportunities. However if you look at the Wiki article on the Pontine Marshes, you find the following salient information:

The Pontine Marshes were finally drained and reclaimed in works begun in 1926 under the responsibility of the Opera Nazionale Combattenti, a governmental institution reformulated under the Fascist government of Benito Mussolini that supported both rural development and war veterans. The government drained the marshes via three canals that intercepted runoff from the hills and pumped out low-lying regions, cleared the scrub forest, and placed about 2000 families (most from northern Italy and of unimpeachable Fascist background) in standardised but carefully varied two-storey country-houses of blue stucco with tiled roofs. Each settler family was assigned a farmhouse, an oven, a plough and other agricultural tools, a stable, some cows and several hectares of land, depending on local soil fertility and the size of the family. The project, constantly referred to in terms of a battle, was a huge public relations boost for Mussolini, fulfilling his long-term belief in the “rural vocation of the Italian people” and their triumph over nature, an epitome of the Fascist conception of progress. Mussolini used the ten-year operation for propaganda purposes. Mussolini was often photographed between workers, shirtless with a shovel in his hand, or threshing wheat at harvest time - these occasions were regularly filmed by LUCE for inclusion in nationally shown propaganda newsreels.

So to summarise, this activity was:

Did I miss anything?

Posted by bigblue on 27/01/2010 at 07:53 AM
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Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Graffiti in Modica


According to Wikipedia:

Graffiti (singular: graffito…) is the name for images or lettering scratched, scrawled, painted or marked in any manner on property. Graffiti is [sic - are?] any type of public markings that may appear in the forms of simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Graffiti has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. In modern times, spray paint, normal paint and markers have become the most commonly used materials… Sometimes graffiti is [sic - are?] employed to communicate social and political messages. To some, it is an art form worthy of display in galleries and exhibitions; to others it is merely vandalism… Graffiti is [sic - are?] used as a gang signal to mark territory or to serve as an indicator or “tag” for gang-related activity.

It is interesting that the article starts by asserting that the word graffiti is plural but then continues to use it in the singular form (as I have marked in the quote above).

I took these photographs in the World Heritage site of Modica, Sicily, in November 2009.

Posted by bigblue on 26/01/2010 at 07:37 AM
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Monday, 25 January 2010
Look both ways


This is the church of San Pietro in the commune of Modica, Sicily, with it’s Baroque facade.

This is the commune of Modica, looking down from inside the doorway of the church of San Pietro.

Posted by bigblue on 25/01/2010 at 07:29 AM
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