Mark Twain said the following of the Duomo in Milan in his work, Innocents Abroad:
What a wonder it is! So grand, so solemn, so vast! And yet so delicate, so airy, so graceful! A very world of solid weight, and yet it seems …a delusion of frostwork that might vanish with a breath!…The central one of its five great doors is bordered with a bas-relief of birds and fruits and beasts and insects, which have been so ingeniously carved out of the marble that they seem like living creatures– and the figures are so numerous and the design so complex, that one might study it a week without exhausting its interest…everywhere that a niche or a perch can be found about the enormous building, from summit to base, there is a marble statue, and every statue is a study in itself…Away above, on the lofty roof, rank on rank of carved and fretted spires spring high in the air, and through their rich tracery one sees the sky beyond. …(Up on) the roof…springing from its broad marble flagstones, were the long files of spires, looking very tall close at hand, but diminishing in the distance…We could see, now, that the statue on the top of each was the size of a large man, though they all looked like dolls from the street… They say that the Cathedral of Milan is second only to St. Peter’s at Rome. I cannot understand how it can be second to anything made by human hands.
I’m leaving Italy today… Between meetings I had time to explore around with my camera and iPod in overdrive. I saw a lot of interesting faces, so I collected a series of portraits that I have collected into a little portfolio set on Flickr called “What they Dream and What they Do”. If I ever saw someone with an interesting face, I thought perhaps they might have an interesting story too, so I’ve organized the set by the motif of what people do with their lives. Here are the first eight pictures from the series. I will probably add to this collection in the future, or at least until I ask to take someone’s picture and they punch me in the face.
This is Vespucci.
Vespucci’s dream is to find his son and tell him important things. He twists his head quickly at me with a lost and quizzical look, and then he returns to a thoughtful gaze.
Vespucci is currently homeless and cannot remember where his son is.
This is Skye.
Skye’s dream, she says with a stalwart demeanor, is to be a successful dermatologist.
Skye is currently modeling in Milan during summer break from medical school.
This is Paola.
Paola’s dream, she pauses, she can’t remember them any more.
Paula is currently poses as the Statue of Liberty on the Spaccanapoli in Naples.
This is Claudio.
Claudio’s dream is to help people and to seek the truth. He squints at the crucifix in the basilica.
Claudio is currently living out his dream and has peace.
This is Maurizio.
Maurizio’s dream is to captain a boat in the bay of Naples and to protect the habitat around Pospitillo and the Amalfi Coast. When he shakes hands, his grip is of old rope.
Maurizio is currently living out his dream.
This is Astia.
Astia’s dream was to see her son to rule the Roman Empire.
Astia died never seeing it happen.
This is Manea.
Manea’s dream is to go back to Romania and find his mother. He smiles inside his beard, looking upward.
Manea is currently homeless and thinks his mother may be dead, or worse, she may not remember him.
This is Maria.
Maria dreams of being a songwriter and singer. She often looks down and nods her head, thinking about deep waves.
Maria is currently teaching scuba diving in Naples and writes songs at night.
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.”
I thought this guy had a really cool scene going on, laying in the park behind the Basilica San Lorenzo with a ultra-bald head and ultra-gargantuan eyebrows, so I shot this picture. He didn’t speak English so I made the international symbol for “I am not gay but I want to take your picture.”