Iron and Glass

Here is one of the most famous shopping areas of Milan. This was one of the first iron and glass constructions in the world of this scale.

Iron and Glass

Technicolor

Here was an unusual stained glass window I found in a basilica in Rome…

Technicolor

Ruins by night

Here is the Ancient Roman Forum about midnight. In the distance, you can see the Colosseum.

Ancient Roman Forum by Night

Taxi Strike!

As luck would have it, all the taxis went on strike last night about midnight. Over 300 taxis rolled into the central area around the Vittorio Emanuelle II monument and turned off their engines.

I had just finished dinner at a friend’s villa near the colosseum who is a famous Italian actor. I should not say his name, but we have recently become associated in some business I am doing in Rome. Anyway, he had a beautiful villa and owned the top four floors of a fabulous 600-year-old building. He had two level verandas, the second one occupying the entire roof with a 360-degree panorama of the city. He had a servant that brought out wine, appetizers, dinner, everything. At the end, he even brought out three flavors of homemade gelato that we all ate while staring out the night-lit city of Rome… It was really something else.

Anyway, after leaving, I found out about the strike. Walking around, quite far from my hotel in Esquiline near the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, I found a nice man on a motorcycle and I offered him ten Euro to take me back to my hotel.

He said he refused payment and would absolutely give me a ride. We waited on his wife to come out of the restaurant and she let me borrow her helmet, while she used her daughter’s that was stashed away. I tried to pay her since her husband refused, but she also refused, stuffing the money back into my pocket which appeared to the casual passerby as some kind of surreal fight where two people are gesticulating wildly while stuffing money into one another’s pockets.

I got on the back and this guy floored it… He was like the Italian Evel Knieval as we whipped around corners on almost totally empty streets, since they were bereft of the normally clogging taxis. His wife flew along beside us with a pleasant smile on her face. After I got off, I snapped this picture and tried to offer them money again. They refused so I gave them my card to buy them dinner if they ever come to Texas.

Taxi Strike!

The Baths of Caracalla

These are the best preserved and most grand baths from the ancient Romans. They were built between 212 and 216 AD and could supposedly hold up to 12,000 bathers at a time. Some places say 2-3K, the signs there said 8K… but the baths themselves included gymnasiums, a library, etc., and after being there, I think the 12K figure for the thermae area itself is more correct.

The Baths of Caracalla

Spires of the Duomo

I took this in Milan during my ascent up to the roof of the Duomo. I added three pounds of muscle mass to each quadricep during the climb.

Spires of the Duomo

Colosseum, Revisited

I ventured not to get the “usual” shot of the colosseum. By pure luck, I had a full moon so the light at dusk (or, when in Rome, lusco fusco) was rather unearthly.

Colosseum, Revisited

The Duomo Altar

This is the front altar of the Duomo. There is enough wealth in these 20 square meters to solve hunger problems in many countries, but that is another topic.

The Altar of the Duomo

Canals of Navigli di Lusco Fusco

Lusco Fusco is a cool Italian phrase that is meant to define the time between sunset and when it is dark. I don’t think we have a good word for that in English. It’s sort of like “dusk”, but darker and more “glowy”. And “lusco fusco” sounds way better than “darker than dusk but glowy.”

Naviglii Lusco Fusco

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