Monday, 1 August 2011

Report from Italy.

I was going to talk about art things as well as the holiday, but I'm going to break this up into two posts because this Italy one will be LOOOOOONG. It's okay though, it's mostly pictures. Mostly.

So far, so good.

I don't often take photos of anything that doesn't require a SuperMacro mode and chasing from plant to plant, so I sort of became confused and entered a hyper-photographic state and took a photo about once every ten minutes. If I even made it that long. Also, I've been very conscious lately of just how bad my memory is, so I took a whole load of photos so I hopefully would be able to remember the experience.
So here's a few of the most interesting ones that aren't just of windows and walls.

Day 1:
For the first night, we stayed in Pisa.

You know what that means

Now, I didn't want to look like these guys, so I figured I'd do something a little more interesting.

Fuck you, conformity. And fuck you, tiny, wonky building.

...Except I gave in and did it anyway.

White tourist! He has money!


Churches sure are fun places!

Day 2:
After Pisa, we took a train into Florence.
For the first day we mostly just ambled around and ate overpriced food.

Darth Vader popped in to say, hi.

Day 3:
We went and explored out of the tourist area and found a nice park full of sculptures.

Modeled here by my sisters.

Sound it out, kids. D.o.u.c.h.e.

Me and the aforementioned family sat down and had a picnic. Everything was warm.

This little bitch came over to play. And eat our food. She was cute, though.

On the walk back, we saw some nice little bits of art.

Day 4:
Me and Jemma decided to wander off on our own and absorb some culture from the walls, or however it works.

Near the end of our walk, we stumbled upon the Museo Galileo.


Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take any photos inside the Galileo Museum, and I also forgot to bring a sketchbook, so I don't have any first-hand pictures to show.

There was, however, vinegar battery cells and 3D view boxes, all set in beautifully carved housings.

About halfway through the museum was a collection of machines to explain the motions of bodies under gravity.

Parabolic trajectory, for example.

Oh, and some of Galileo's body. Under glass.

"Right there." Thanks, black guy.

That's Galileo's index finger, thumb and tooth. All nice and wrinkly. Like everything in the museum, it was encased in beautifully carved wood.

One of my favourite bits was the section full of beautiful, hand-constructed globes and maps.

"Hmm. Yup, that's a globe, alright."

And then there was THIS

The Antonio Santucci Armillary Sphere.
Holy shit.

The sphere is just layers within layers within layers of intricate brass rings, all interconnected.
The ghost gives some idea of the size of this thing.
Armillary spheres were used for tracking celestial bodies, and they looked badass. I imagine they rotate like a gimbal, and I half imagined it to start spinning to generate gravity or something.

NONE of you should be surprised by this image

Near the end on the top floor was some more medical exhibits. One of the 'best' was a collection of sculptures of different ways a baby can come out wrong, all sculpted out of lovely terracotta.

You ladies have fun with that.

They were just so detailed, even down to the muscle blocks and vessels in the legs. What these pictures don't show is that they were all varnished, so everything looked wet and fresh.
Needless to say, it was a wonderful place and I was speeding from exhibit to exhibit like an excited child.

And I saw some interesting things on the way back to the hotel.


Not sure what it's advertising, but I wanna go.

Wait...where's his scythe?.

This pigeon was just chilling out.


I think this is the seediest looking statue I've ever seen.

Day 5:
This was a busy day.
In the morning, me and Jemma lined up to go into the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore .






Inside was just as grand, although far less intricate and fiddly.

Once we'd finished in the cathedral (there's only so long you can look at pillars) we all took a coach into Chianti in the Tuscan countryside.

Not before seeing the newest installment in the 'Filthy Chavs' series on the way to the bus station.

We got a little lost, as the bus station was mostly a set of underground passages full of beggars. This set of air vents looks like a piano, though.

And this boneriffic statue was on a roundabout on our way there.

I didn't take many photos here because my camera decided to start runing out of battery (how selfish of it) so I tried to ration what power was left.

Upon arrival, we all wandered around for a bit, then me and the eldest sibling one more set off on our own up a mountain, where apparently, mattresses make good gates. It looked a bit like a skeleton, as if a plump live mattress was hinged up and left to die here.

I think this pose is hereditary. And a lil' gay.

When we got to the top of the mountain, though, the view was amazing. The mountains just looked like they were covered in green carpet.

The late afternoon led us to a public pool to just relax for a bit. None of us brought our swimming gear, however, so we just sat out in the sun, instead. While the family sunbathed, I watched an ant try to pull along a worm.

Come on you giant pink bastard!

What made this funny is that as the ant kept trying to drag this relatively huge worm, whenever it scuttled off (to get a snack or some lucozade or something) two flies ,which had been sitting and watching this whole time, landed on the worm and started sucking away, at which point the ant bolted back and shooed them off.
This repeated for about an hour. I wasn't watching it all in one go (I'm not THAT weird) so I'll show you something I'd drawn in between ant-watching:

Fentil scrubland

And a bouncy little sparrow.

Real scrubland

Day 6:
Our final day only really involved a walk to the bus stop and a bus journey back to Pisa airport.

There was some lovely animal sculptures on the grass.

And THAT is all. If you've made it through all that, then well done. Give yourself a biscuit.

Next post will be about drawing and all that lovely stuff.

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