When I Paint My Masterpiece

Oh,the streets of Rome are filled with rubble,

Ancient footprints are everywhere.

You can almost think that you’re seein’ double

On a cold dark night on the Spanish Stairs.

–Bob Dylan

It wasn’t enough that this song was stuck in my head for our 8 day “Taste of Italy” tour during Bobbie’s semester break.  It kept coming out of my mouth as well.

Probably cost me a few friends and made me a coupla enemies.  O, well…

Roma, Roman Holiday, Three Coins in a Fountain, Rossano Brazzi, Vatican City, the river Tiber, Ancient History I, a ghetto dating to the first century, it’s residents responsible for building the Colosseum and influencing the course of Roman cuisine.  I didn’t know that.  No building may be taller than St. Peter’s basilica.  One million Romans and 19 million tourists each year.  I didn’t know that either.

I do know that standing inside the Colosseum on that bright, cool Spring morning two weeks ago there was the unmistakable  smell of death.  Looking at the exposed underground chambers which held the slaves called gladiators before they emerged to fight either lions or each other, surrounded by digital point-and-shoot owners from all over the world, I could smell the unmistakable odor of fear mixed with mortality.  Rome taught me to let the dead bury the dead.  I didn’t have to know about it.

The rest of the city, even in the ruins and ancient remnants scattered everywhere else and filled with stray cats, teems with a warm and gentle life nourished by music and gelato.

And then there was Florence…

…Firenze as it is called by those in the know.  This city is a living museum with one helluva gift shop!  Everything is art, from the buildings to the people to the way they live.  Narrow main drags filled with extraordinary boutiques, strolling crowds spilling out into the street, quietly parting to let thru bicyclists and non-honking cars, taxis and busses.   And statues are everywhere…

Michelangelo made one statue of David.  We saw three.  The original was moved from the outdoors to the Uffizi, home of the  Medici collection.  It was here that I learned I have a very limited tolerance for medieval and renaissance art.

And Venice, a fantasy more than a city, a city without streets!

Everything moves on water, a maze of canals some with and some without sidewalks. And no one can afford to live there and some fantasies are bigger than others…

…and even in the rain the island of Burano just is…

Thanks to all of you who sent suggestions for what to see–and watch out for–in Italy.  Many warned us that there would be just too much to see in 8 days–especially with only 6 of them spent actually on land.  Of course you were right.  Fortunately, we understood this “taste of Italy” to be just that.  We took it all in at a leisurely pace and were not above sitting still through a relaxed, music-filled  meal in a Tuscan ristorante or on  a park bench people-watching or simplly gawking at the beauty which seemed to be everywhere.  In our 6 days we never heard horns honked in anger or babies crying or voices raised in real anger–not unlike what we experienced in Bhutan.

There is ample reason to return.

To see all the photos to:


Published in: on April 11, 2010 at 4:23 pm  Comments (9)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://richsgold.com/2010/04/11/when-i-paint-my-masterpiece/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Having accompanied my wonderful husband on this trip, I can only agree with his assessment of Italy and Italians. A very civilized, cool country. Friendly, well-dressed, well-mannered…

    As for the comment in the blog regarding Bob Dylan’s song coming out of my spouse’s mouth…it is an understatement. He managed to sing the opening words at every appropriate, and inappropriate, occasion. Now if he could only repeat the words “let’s get a larger apartment…”


  2. Now that you’ve had the amuse bouche, when do you go back for the entree? Great photos, as usual.


  3. “There is ample reason to return.” Like you I look forward to a return to Italy one day … hopefully with more time to spend than the last time !


  4. When I visit Italy, I will thrill at the vibrant colors, the soothing textures and the delicate tastes. But, I want a part of it all to be in black and white as I do my little clown dance in my oversized coat and boots, trying to make Richard Basehart smile.


    • And what about Anthony Quinn?


  5. Buono! mille grazie R&B DiGoldberghi


  6. Lovely photos, and your comments brought back many wonderful memories. Did you know that I had an Italian ancestor? He fought with Napoleon at the siege of Moscow, and when Napoleon’s army retreated in disarray, every man for himself, my ancestor wound up running from the Cossaks in Lithuania where a Jewish family took him in and hid him with the chickens (because Napoleon was the first modern European ruler to offer the Jews citizenship). He fell in love with a daughter of the house, converted to Judaism and took the name Gershom (a stranger there) Wolpe (volpe, the fox). My great grandmother’s name, before she married, was Golde Bashevah Wolpe. I am named for her.


    • Goldie,

      Thanks. This for you:

      No Such Thing as a Stranger

      Lovingkindness is extraordinary precisely because it can embrace all; no one falls outside of its domain. That is why, when we encounter people who have developed this capacity to a great extent—the Dalai Lama, for example—we sense their tremendous kindness toward everyone. Lovingkindness is a feeling that blesses others and oneself with the simple wish, “Be happy.” The Japanese poet Issa [1763–1828] expresses this openhearted feeling so well: “In the cherry blossom’s shade, there’s no such thing as a stranger.”

      – Joseph Goldstein


  7. The pictures and your written guide through this beautiful country was excellent. Gracias for taking me along.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: