Tag Archives: Italy

Lo siento

A friend's land in northeastern Italy

So I’m in Italy at the moment, working on some editing projects. (I used to travel as a volunteer activist, now I travel as a volunteer editor. Go figure.)

Anyhow, I don’t speak Italian. The other night I watched this mediocre crime/romance/europe-as-exoticism movie called The Tourist. In it, Johnny Depp is a tourist in Italy and doesn’t speak any Italian. So, being an American, he gets flustered and speaks Spanish to people. This amused me because I identified with it.

More photos after the cut.

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Naples, Italy

Grafitti in Naples

I spent an enjoyable few days in Naples, one of the more lawless places I’ve been. Unfortunately, the city is run by the Mafia instead of the cops, which doesn’t really make it much better, but it’s still fascinating. Once while we were walking, two cops told a man on a scooter that he couldn’t drive his scooter where he was. “I don’t care,” he said, and kept going.

I heard stories about how, if the police try to chase someone, the general populace throws debris or soapy water and the like into the street to prevent the police from their pursuit.

The city is absolutely the most cyberpunk place I’ve ever seen, and unfortunately these photos don’t capture that. The buildings are old and cracked from a decades-old earthquake and left with scaffolding to hold them together. Immigrant children play with LED lit mini-drones in the middle of medieval squares, and what would be pristine, tourist architecture and monuments are covered with graffiti and youth. People play football in the streets, ignoring passerby and plants grow wildly out the side of the walls of buildings. It’s fascinating.

I went on a tourist tour of the aqueduct beneath the city, and our tour guide was trying to explain to a typical american tourist that he thought that bank-robbery was awesome when no one got hurt, that catholicism was worse than useless, all kinds of fun things. Anyhow, while down there I saw people growing plants underground, fascist graffiti from WWII (hitler on the left, Mussolini on the right, “we will win” carved below, fortunately incorrect), strange artistic testimonials to the war, and the recreated conditions of the original aqueduct. I also saw the Mediterranean Sea for the first time.

Before we left the city we went to see sulphur fields in the suburbs, with boiling mud and constant steam, part of an active volcano and apparently where the Romans believed the entrance of hell to be situated. I’m fascinated by the idea of old ruins and strange things that are situated in the suburbs (like the sunken market that looks like a temple)… I heard from my friend in Sweden that he took public transit out to the pyramids in Egypt, because they are basically now in the suburbs of Cairo.

This following photo is of a statue of King Umberto I, killed by an anarchist. Nya nya.

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Being A Tourist In Rome

Self at Colesseum

I couldn’t help but think that whole “when in Rome, do as Romans do” cliche the whole time I was in the car on the way to Rome. I, of course, didn’t know what it is that Romans do. I still don’t. So instead I guess I did what tourists do. I went around the center of the city, I went to the Colosseum and I went to the Forum. I thought about how the Goths sacked Rome and about how lovely it will be when the Goths get their shit together and sack the rest of civilization.

I took a lot of photos of the gladiator stuff, because its fascinating to me. It’s sort of the root of civilization: you take people, make them put on ridiculous costumes, and then make them kill each other. All the while the rest of the civilization cheers them on. It really gets right down to the root of it. I probably also took lots of photos of the various helmets and such because I’m a geek and grew up playing dungeons and dragons. There was also an old-school multitool on display, which is cool.

And there was the best human statue I’ve ever seen.

We also went to a squatted 19th century castle (it had a moat! it counts as a castle). Most of what I did in Rome, which was sit around a hacker conference, I didn’t take photos of.

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Italian Tour Dates!

On Tuesday I’m flying off to Italy to do a small speaking tour there. There is plenty of information about the tour in Italian, but the tour dates are:

* 19 giugno – La Corte, Vicenza
* 24 giugno – Cascina Torchiera, Milano
* 25 giugno – CSA nEXt Emerson, Firenze
* 29 giugno – Perditempo, Napoli
* 3 luglio – La Torre, Roma (durante l’Hackmeeting)

I’ll be talking some about anarchist fiction (I think the talk in Milano), but I’ll mostly be speaking about the steampunk’s guide to the apocalypse!