Thursday, 17 June 2010
Rome: sex and death
Waah! Running late - my server has been down. So grab yourself a gelato from this luscious selection and settle down for a whistle-stop Sex-'n'-Death-themed slideshow of my holiday in Rome.
"What have the Romans ever done for us?"
Well, they invented the wet T-shirt competition, it seems. This wonderful torso is in the reconstructed Senate building in the Forum.
And this is how pet food is advertised on street billboards!
But it's not all tits...
Yes, there are bums too! A very ancient (and strange) variation on depicting the human figure, in the Palatine museum. The butt-cheeks just jut out of the square pillar.
On the death side of the equation, there's the Colosseum of course. Slaughter of humans and animals as public entertainment, on an unimaginable scale. Whole species made extinct. You'll be glad to know that with the advent of Christianity, they stopped throwing criminals to the wild animals and just burnt them alive instead.
Here's the most amazing statue I've seen in my whole life (though it's not my picture as photography was forbidden): it's Apollo and Daphne by Bernini (I'd never heard of him before last week), and you can find it in the Galleria Borghese. She's transforming into a tree to escape being raped. Life-sized, her flying hair and the individual leaves are minutely carved in marble: it's an incredible technical achievement.
The very famous and moving Dying Gaul statue in the Capitoline Museum has the best scrotum I've seen though: you can count the wrinkles.
One last piece of misery in marble: this huge statue is in San Giovanni in Laterano. It's St Bartholomew, who was martyred by being skinned alive and thus carries his own skin around with him for all eternity. As you would.
More Death: this is the crypt of Santa Maria della Concezione, where they have been doing creative and tasteless things with the bones of the faithful for centuries. (Again, not my photo. It would be disrespectful to allow photography - although you can buy postcards... )
5 days: 5 ice-creams, 4 museums, 1 catacomb, 1 crypt, 4 churches, 1 fort, and more temples, piazzas, bridges, fountains and classical ruins than you could shake a stick at. Rome is amazing - so much to see that it was just dizzying. But also WAY TOO HOT: up to 35C. As I stood waiting to cross a road I could actually feel the soles of my feet burning as the heat struck up through my sandals. Mind you, as this was just outside the Vatican, it's just possible that it was something to do with Holy Ground...
And something nice to finish off:
Given the long hair, it's probably Dionysus. Time for a drink!