Say you find yourself in Florence for about 36 hours. Art, architecture, gardens, libraries and specialty shopping abound in what National Geographic calls a “city-size shrine to the Renaissance.” A city with Roman origins that flourished during the Middle Ages, Florence, “the Athens of the Middle Ages” has been ruled by Medici, served as the capital of the Kingdom of Italy and continues to serve as the capital of Tuscany and the providence of Florence. It is a majestic city lying in the basin of the Arno and three other rivers between seven hills – Rome has nothing on this place. Continue reading “Firenze”
In Islam, it is haram to take pictures of people without their permission. Ideologically, it is tied to frivolous or indulgent pursuits and should not be displayed. So you could take a picture of a significant event to preserve the memory, but it should not be displayed on the wall for others to see. I had to shoot this over the shoulder of another person, because of the people I was with, we were split as to whether or not it was taboo to take a picture of a priest. (Hijab to Wimple to Clerical Collar?) But we could find no reference to anything saying a priest should not have his photo taken, nor a nun for that matter. As a side note, I learned a solid life lesson – don’t google taboo and nun, it’s really disturbing.
Italy seems to offer a whole section of tourist stuff geared towards the tourist with a unique sense of memorabilia. Maybe it’s because there are cities where the whole tourist economy is based on marble models of naked men, like Florence. Maybe it’s because of the tourist. Or maybe it’s just part of the culture. Continue reading “Cheeky”
The drive between Riposto and Mt Etna is roughly 43 kilometers (~27 miles) – not really as big as or as tall as the earth, but don’t tell Emmett (video above). This distance is ‘as the crow flies’ only if the crow has been dipping into the local wine. The road doubles back on itself in z’s going up the mountain. For most of the drive, once you are on park land, you are driving “higher than the sky” above the cloud line. The temperature, in early April, goes from a balmy 70 F at sea level to in the 20s and snowy at the top of the mountain. Continue reading “Higher Than the Sky”
Catania, the regional capital of the homonymous providence, is the second largest city in Sicily, and eastern Sicily’s largest industrial center. The primary center is the islands capital, Palermo. Catania has been important setting in Sicily since the 700s CE. Not only is it the current site of the Sicilian Silicon Valley, Catania was the home to the island’s first university and a major cultural contributor during the Renaissance. It has experienced some wear and tear with all of the travelers that have come through Sicily, and being at the base of a volcano. Continue reading “Catania”