Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Quiet, clean, and orderly Rome
What!? Huh? Get the fuck out! You're joking. Sto Scherzando. Nilla please. Rome quiet? I've never heard anyone describe Rome as clean? And orderly, I thought Rome had the worst traffic in the world? WTF?!
It's true people. After travelling first to Naples, and then to Palermo, Rome seems tame. The scooters and motorbikes and cars in Naples were non stop, you could hardly cross the street, or walk down one without getting run down. Palermo had trash all over the place. When the wind blew in Palermo you had to sheild your eyes or else be blinding by flying debris. Naples and Palermo had honking scooter assholes driving down the middle of busy markets packed with slimy people. (Did I mention that my family came from Sicily and Palermo, says a lot) The streets were wet with fish juice.
Then I took an overnight train to Rome. Ah Roma . . . Even though there is no bridge from Sicily to the mainland, there is a train, and there is no tunnel. You take a TRAIN-BOAT. I had hoped to tell people more about this amazing TRAIN-BOAT on this blog, but in truth it still remains a mystery. Their are no pictures of this alledged train boat on Google, and I couldn't see a damn thing in the dark from my sleeper car. This is truelly amazing because once you've taken any kind of boat or ferry in Europe, you will see that they are kinda haphazard about docking. They just pull up to a port, back it up a bit and let down the hatch. Their are no rigorous docking procedures, or carefully placed barriers to ease you into the perfect position for docking. In Europe, its more like a van pulling up to the curb to drop of a stack of papers. So, how the hell do they line up a boat with the tracks of a train?! I had hoped to know. It is like a puzzle wrapped in a enigma tortilla, deep fried in olive oil, stuffed with ricotta, and baked in a duct-taped sealed pan. And how do they have a ferry long enough to hold a 12 compartment long train? I heard the clanging, banging, and grind of great macinations at work; I felt the sea as our train swayed back and forth. Still, I didn't see a thing, and I don't know how they did it. It's like a puzzle, stuffed in a tortellini, swimming in tomato enigma . . . Their is only one reasonable explanation: The Germans built it.
Rome was fantastic. I spent four days their, and I would need at least 4 more monthes to see everything. I saw the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican, The Forum, the Colesseum, dozens of huge obelisks, scores of beautiful piazzas, some the greatest fountains ever constructed, 3,600 different depictions of Jesus Christ, but my favorite was Raphael's School of Athens. I didn't know I was going to encounter it in the Vatican Museum and I had always thought it was a painting. The School of Athens is a two story Fresco that is tremendous to behold. I had studied that painting in school and I love how Raphael used his famous Renaissance artist friends to pose as the great philosophers of ancient Greece.
(Movie announcer voice) This summer, from the people who brought you CHRIST!, the Vatican presents SCHOOL OF ATHENS! Starring, Leonardo Da Vinci as Socrates, Donatello (?) as Plato, Raphael as Aristotle, and Michalangelo as some brooding gay guy on the steps.