Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I thought you might fancy a quick look at some snaps from my recent weekend visit to Rome. These are a few from a sample I uploaded quickly. There are more, but not necessarily better, shots. My camera didn't handle the light of Rome very well, I fear. Plus, I stayed at the cheap end of town, near the Termini, where there an inexplicable number of expensive gourmet restaurants lodged sharing space with dogshit, cheap hotels, and graffiti.

This is the colloseum:

Apparently this structure would have been covered by marble and gold-plating and such, but it was stripped by successive Christian rulers for other buildings, which almost makes me wish I'd crossed the Tiber and visited the Vatican. All the Roman authorities have done is built a steel enclosure, put a price tag on and stuck a size-nine halo on top of the edifice. Those little tunnels floored with grass were apparently underground chambers where they would keep animals and things to swipe at the gladiators.

The colleseum arches all present lovely portraits:

However, you can't beat the view from the Palatine, or the early-morning smell (you have to understand that the hills in Rome are covered with herbs and orchards, and that the temperature during November is a moist 20C):

These are some ruins, apparently the gutted innards of some emperor's palace or something. I didn't pay that much attention:

This is the weather-eaten edifice of a court-house with a brass door:

And this is the Roman Senate House, a considerably smaller affair than textbooks and tourist guides would have us believe:

This is the sort of place where Tiberius or some bastard would have given out about the taxes and the peasants. And here is the view from inside the Pantheon:

Originally a temple for all the Gods, it was taken over by Christians and plastered with crosses and that kind of thing. They didn't take well to the mass executions. Directly opposite the Pantheon is a McDonalds, cunningly disguised as a restaurant. If you stand outside it for a while and look touristy, then you will either have something snatched or at least five couples will ask you to take their picture. I personally fucked up quite a few happy memories.

Here are the Spanish steps, which you apparently must see if you're a tourist:

They're crap. A man came with fresh-cut cemetery roses covered in pesticide and told me I was a very very romantic guy. He forced one on the person I was with and then, pleased with his artistry, wondered if we might donate to his funds. He told me once more what a romantic guy I was. Very romantic. I laid some of my much-needed Euros on him, and that's when I realised he wasn't coming on to me.

Here are some government buildings up on the Quirinale - cold, windy, largely empty and frequently swept through by convoys of military men, rather like the politicians who occupy them:

Indeed, as I crossed that rather lonely square, a naval bus almost ran me over impatiently. The navy guys looked at me with pity and contempt as I fumbled onto the pavement. Anyway, there was a great deal of political polarisation evident too. Lots of apparently fascist graffiti, such as this:

And the communists shared public space with Forza Italia (no sign of Ulivo):

Finally, this is a pointless picture of Paddington Station I took when I realised that we were back to 10C temperatures. I like 10C temperatures in November: that's what it's supposed to be. Rome - what did it ever do for anyone?