Andare, Partire, Tornare


Journal2000 - more of Italia

More Journal exerpts, this time from the 2000 trip:

5 June 2000


It's interesting watching my classmates create art. You can see, with those who have training, how they have a better "eye" than those of us with fewer skills. Even if the skill is in a different arena, like Julie who is a potter, you can see a plan behind the jumble of paper and paint. I suppose in a way that sort of thing answers the "but is it art?" question. Good art does, even in the most extremely abstracted cased, reveal itself as such. I may not enjoy mostof it, but I think I've got a better handle on how it functions now.

25 June 2000

Lots of ups and downs, including an Italian midterm of 15 pages. Yeouch! But I had the trip to Venice to console me. We first visited Classe, to see the church St. Appolonaire, and its wonderful mosaic apse. Then, bliss! Ravenna, to see Justinian and Theodora, a set of wonders in a wonderful church. The later dome frescos, all garlands and foo-foo, were jarring but easily ignored. It was the mosaics - row after row of serene, beautifully detailed, wonderfully vibrant mosaics that were so fabulous. Green seemed to be a dominant colour, but reds and golds were also used frequently. It seems difficult to believe that pieces of glass and stone could fit together so skillfully so as to shade, outline, and define. I even toyed with the idea of buying a littl ebag of tesserae just to carry around. Those little bits of glass are fascinating, especially when they catch the light just so.

It was, however, Venice that I was waiting for - Venice the remarkable, the magical. The fact that it simply exists is a wonder to me. We did all the tourist things, including a gondola ride (hey, you have to, right?). It had to be real - if it weren't, the canals wouldn't have been pungent and our gondolier would have been friendly! (Ah, Ricardo - why so silent? So terse? It could have been magic!)

I was able to see the Frari, where many of the tombs I looked at in Italian Sculpture were located. I liked the Della Quercha equestrian statue there, in memory to some condottiore, I believe. Canova's tomb was startling, plunked down there. I did like the statues for it - very full of pathos, especially the mourning lion. Unfortunately, it and Titian's tomb didn't work so well across from each other. And the huge monument to the Doges with the black slaves as Atlas figures? Weird and creepy, although executed well.

14 July 2000

Our last fully day in Todi, and it seems like the trip has sped past in a blur of art, cathedrals, and bus trips. We celebrated last night at the Bar Mokambo, drinking cheap wine and laughing. I was told that a certain shy young man "is in love with you, but I told him you were married and now he is sad." A nice ego-boo to end the trip with! Tomorrow, we bus to Rome at the ungodly hour of five am, then our group (me, Little Hussy, Chess, Kateh, and Nee) head to Napoli and the wild south. Little Hussy and I have decided to skip Palermo due to the prices of leather jackets we both bought!

I'm going to miss the peace and beauty of Todi very much. It's been a good home to us for this trip. The weather has been obliging, with the cold and the rain of the last two days making way for sunshine, a gentle cool breeze, and blue, cloud-scattered skies.

What a lot of stories we're going to take back with us. Chessica's men (attracted by her bronze gladiator figurine?), Little Hussy's "harem," Kateh's distress at Mrs. Flamini wearing the same clothing for days, Little Hussy and her adventures at the post office, the Sexy Love Sex Test [Chess: tiepido, Little Hussy:sexy, me:frigido, Kateh: bomba sessuale!], Chessica and I among the speedos and goofy swim caps at the piscina - some men shouldn't let it all hang out! All of these things - the joys and the frustrations both - are going into making us better and more interesting people. Not everybody gets to see olive trees in the wind, or get elbowed in a bus in Rome. Just the lucky ones. Just the lucky ones.

**It's later in the evening and the weather has turned again, from the cheerful sun of the morning to a rain that is becomning stronger even as I write. There is no loss of beauty, however, as a gorgeous veil of fog has settled over the crevaces of the hills, turning the countryside into a place where a fairy tale might be set. Lights are beginning to appear, and cars have turned on their headlights. I want to capture all of this, to share with Bemo and Boop, but it's not able to be caught on film, or with a net of pretty words. Oh, goodness - I'll just have to come back here with them. A hard sacrifice to make!

18 July 2000

Pompeii was very interesting, and, despite its sprawling and somewhat picked-over appearance, still quite lovely. It is a tad frustrating to have so many things listed as "now removed to the Archilogical Museum in Napoli," but since we're going there today we can get a more complete picture. A weird one, actually, since seeing a statue in a museum is a ninety degree change from seeing it in the house it once adorned (it looks almost, but not quite right, and a lot of the meaning is lost), but we do the best we can. It's not any new idea to wonder how museums have changed the way we percieve art, but seeing the site of Pompeii and the goods of Pompeii in two different locations on two different days will just make the point even sharper.

I am starting to enjoy this town, which does things at such a fast pace and with such push, but I think the others find it simply rude, instead of how things go here. I don't think I could stay for long, because the pace would wear me down to a stump, but I'm capable of enjoying myself while I'm here.

But back to Pompeii. Like Herculaneum, the sense of stepping back in time is there - I still find the smaller Herculaneum a better place to visit since it combines beauty, a very accessible site, and the second stories of the houses. Pompeii's most horrific and popular sight is the garden of the fugitives, where the casts of the corpses are (aside from two placed inside the baths). They are a strange thing - the shapes of bodies, the drape of clothing, the strap of a sandal - they aren't technically the corpses, which we might have problems looking at, but they are cose enough to give people a morbid thrill. Like watching a war movie, maybe.

The brothel was interesting - the Lupanarium. It seems funny, but the erotic frestocs, so faded and, because of the time passed, oddly charming and dignified, used to be too shocking to allow ladies to see them. These days, groups of schoolchildren can be taken through them without fear that they'll be corrupted.

9:37 a.m. - 2002-07-17


previous - next

latest entry

about me





random entry

other diaries: