Warning: This article contains graphic images of Romans in compromising situations. The Pompeii you learn about in stuffy school classrooms with a dinosauric teacher was certainly the PG rated version. Historians such as Mary Beard reveal much darker and more intriguing sides, including the ghoulish cowering human casts and their stories. But let’s be honest,… Read More The Dark Side of Pompeii: Decadence and Debauchery
Scooters whipping past, lilting 50s songs, restaurant serenades, archeological treasures, the home of pizza… pickpockets, stinking rubbish, stifling heat: these are the good, the bad and the ugly that are all associated with Naples. A sprawling metropolis seemingly stuck in the 50s, it can be an intimidating, exhilarating and exhausting place to visit, as described… Read More Hidden Naples: Tile Heaven in Santa Chiara
Amalfi is a jewel on the coast: glittering turquoise sea and pastel houses hugging the cliff-face in vertiginous beauty. But in summer it is also a claustrophobic tourist magnet which, in its desperate attempt to fulfil the filmic fantasy of Italia, conceals real life beneath a shiny facade of artistically arranged tat in souvenir shops… Read More 6 Ways to Experience the OTHER Amalfi
All your senses are truly bombarded here in Naples, both in positive and negative ways. The rise of industrial modernity in the 19th century saw theorists analysing the sudden power of moving images, advertising, flashy shop lighting, and global exhibitions to turn the city into a spectacle and overwhelm the senses. With so many of… Read More Lemons, Pastries and Panoramas: Naples Discovered through the Five Senses
Like something out of an Arthurian legend, Castel del Monte sits majestically upon a hill, octagonal in form like a colossal stone crown. It is evident on the horizon from several miles away, like a perfectly formed protrusion of rock. In its elevated position it catches the sun at all times of day, thus displaying… Read More Castel del Monte: Beauty, Power and Mathematics
Light, the way it bleaches or caresses with soft golden touches, changes between continent, country and city. Ethereal and enchanting, the light of Venice might be characterised by its changeability. During the day it is often piercing as it refracts into scintillating mosaics on the water, while at dusk the rose sunset is mirrored, resplendent… Read More The Light of Venice
While most urban constructions sit upon a rock, Matera is a city that seems like an organic growth of the rock. Urban dwellings are carved into the ravine and protrude from the cliff face creating a jumbling, patchwork mass. It is difficult to discern where rock finishes and man-made construction begins. In this lattice of… Read More Matera: Prehistoric Caves or Luxury Hotels?
The tiny village of Civita di Bagnoregio, in Lazio, sits precariously on a rocky mound in the Calanchi Valley, marooned except for a narrow bridge. It is celebrated as one of the most beautiful ‘borghi’ (villages) in Italy, and it really does have no equal. Unfortunately, however, this fairytale image is crumbling beneath the surface.… Read More Civita di Bagnoregio: 8 Inhabitants and 12 Cats