2005: The Italy Trip

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Note: I would like  to share with  you  through  these few words, photographs and hyperlinked websites, a 3 Dimensional  experience as though you were  actually there with  us. Click on any photograph and it should enlarge to  different size ….. at least half screen or size full screen. It will be clearer in detail than the photo on the post. It will be as if you were  really there looking at the actual  scene. You are an arm chair traveller with us.

If you would also like  to see the post in a larger or smaller size, I suggest you follow this procedure: If you right-handed, with your left hand, press  down continuously  on the Control Function Key  with your left hand and with your right hand, move  the   little  cursor wheel either forwards or backwards to make the text in the post larger or smaller.

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2005: The Italy Trip …. Four week holiday in Italy ….. from the 17th March to the 18th of April …..

Italy has 2000 ++ years of European History whereas Australia where I come from, has only 240 years of European History when  Captain Cook from England  sailed into Botany Bay in 1780.

When you start travelling, you realise that Australia is very small place on the planet. Twenty two hours away in Italy there are millions of people who barely know that you exist and vice versa.

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THE ROMAN EMPIRE in the First Century

The Roman Empire represented the zenith of the best of the human empires. It could adapt any culture on earth into the Roman format. It ran on very enlightened principles and became very wealthy. The British Empire which began to rise in the 1700’s till the 1990’s, was a 1000 ++ later, was based on those same principles.

Harriet and I personally know about the Roman Empire. We were there on a four week holiday in Italy in 2005 in mid March and April. One of the places we went to see was Pompeii. See our travel blog at: http://pompeii2005.blogspot.com/ Also see the very detailed website: www.thecolefamily.com/italy/pompeii for a virtual photographic tour of Pompeii. See all the wonderful photos of Pompeian life before the eruption in 79 A.D.

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Pompeii is unique as an important archaeological site in the world. Almost every other ancient urban site is simply the remains of a ghost town, long ago deserted by its citizens who carried away with them everything of value. Prior to the eruption of Vesuvius, Pompeii was a thriving city. Then it was buried with so little warning in 79 A.D. that Pompeii was literally frozen in time.

Vesuvius is currently 4,200 feet (or 1,281 meters) high. Some geologists have estimated that it was 6,000 feet high before 79 A.D. If so, that means the top third of the mountain rained down on the surrounding countryside. The prevailing wind at the time blew much of it in the direction of Pompeii .

Some estimate that 20% of the population perished, though it may have been a much higher number if the volcanic gases were excessively toxic. Thousands fled the city in the afternoon darkness, blacker than any Roman citizen had experienced (except in Jerusalem when Jesus Christ was dying on the cross). The falling debris rapidly accumulated in Pompeii to several feet in the streets and on rooftops, making escape impossible for the thousands who sought shelter in their homes.

If we want to know details about what life was like in a Roman city during the first century, I think by studying Pompeii we can get the very best perspective with the least speculation. We can understand how the privileged rich man and the ordinary slave lived from day to day in the Roman Empire during the time when Christianity was beginning to spread throughout the Mediterranean. A better understanding of life in Pompeii, a city with both Roman and Greek influence, can help us to better understand many of the writings of the New Testament.

The Amphitheatre at ancient Pompeii was where sporting events were held. The passion of the people for gladiatorial games was great. The sporting enthusiasm was similar to that provided today by football games (or soccer in Europe). Gladiator helmets, richly decorated with scenes of Greek mythology, were found in the ruins of Pompeii. See the website for an explanation of gladiators: http://depthome.brooklyn.cuny.edu/classics/gladiatr/gladiatr.htm It was real people fighting it out to a death finish in front of thousands …. For sport.

The amphitheatre at ancient Pompeii is considered to be the world’s oldest known amphitheatre. About the size of a modern football stadium, it had a seating capacity of 12,000 spectators. It was here in 59 A.D. that a riot broke out during a competition with a rival city. The death of many spectators caused the Roman Senate to forbid any games in the Pompeii Amphitheatre for the next 10 years.

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TRIP OVER = Flying There on the 17th March

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Week 1 = Trip There: Eight hours to Hong Kong ……. a day in Hong Kong ….. then eleven hours on to Rome.

Week 4 = Trip Back: Eleven hours to Hong Kong …… a day in Hong Kong ….. then eight hours on to Brisbane.

Chinese Markets in Hong Kong  ….

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Week 1 = Sorrento A train from Rome down to Sorrento on the southern part of Italy on the Mediterranean Sea. The town is very ancient and the church was from the 13th century. See the section in Sorrento ‘The Deep Valley of the Mills‘ a wheat grinding mill from 900 A.D. …… we would see this daily as we walked down from our unit. The mill was abandoned in the 1800’s as the winds which cooled the Valley were inhibited by the build up of Sorrento as a town and it became to hot and humid down there. See the post on this website:  ITALY HOLIDAY in March / April 2005 ….. SORRENTO: The Valley Of The Mills

We also saw:

Pompeii is unique as an important archaeological site in the world. Almost every other ancient urban site is simply the remains of a ghost town, long ago deserted by its citizens who carried away with them everything of value. Prior to the eruption of Vesuvius, Pompeii was a thriving city. Then it was buried with so little warning in 79 A.D. that Pompeii was literally frozen in time.

  • Naples for a day to the National Archaeological Museum which stores a lot of art from Pompeii plus Roman Empire artifacts.

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Pompei: The Ancient Ruins of Pompeii ….. an original Roman Town buried by 5-6 metre of Volcanic ash from Mt. Vesuvius in 76 A.D. You can easily spend a whole day walking the original stone cobbled streets looking all the houses, temples, public baths and shop fronts.

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Week 2 = Venice: Walking the streets and canals for a week ….. one of the most beautiful cities in the world from out of the 13th Century …. All of it is like a museum piece ….. but a very impractical city ….. you can lost in it in the blink of an eye. See the Doges Palace as well as this website

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 Week 3 = Florence:

The Train Station of Empoli

Week 3 = Florence: We stayed in a little town called Empoli about half an hour by train from Florence (see www.lacasadiruggero.com where we stayed) ….. then we went out from there every day to a different location:

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  • The new Pisa …we walked through …. If the Tower of Pisa is the bell tower of the Cathedral and its construction began in 1173 and continued (with two long interruptions) for about two hundred years, the new Pisa is anything built in the last 830 years from when we were there in 2005.

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  • Siena: Siena , like many other Tuscan hill towns, was first settled in the time of the Etruscans (c. 900 BC to 400 BC) when it was inhabited by a tribe called the Saina.
  • San Gimignano >>> Click on the English version then click on the picture. The town is called ‘Medieval New York’ from the remaining fourteen stone towers …. the city used to have 70, 300 years ago.

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  • Lucca …. Lucca Italy – Rooftops from the Guinigi Tower …. Ascend the Guinigi Tower to catch Lucca spread out below. The tower has trees on top, an oddity among towers, but allowing for some great framing of the rooftop pictures.

Printing Shop in the Town of Lucca

Printing Shop in the Town of Lucca.

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Vinci (Where Leonardo Da Vinci grew up and lived) …. the museum on Leonardo de Vinci … Leonardo was born in Vinci in 1450 … he was a genius with hundreds of inventions which were way ahead of his time in the 1400’s. See the website: www.universalleonardo.org/Universal  aimed at deepening our understanding of Leonardo da Vinci through a series of European exhibitions (2006), scientific research and web-based resources.

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Cinquere Terre …. A landscape worth saving …. A mans park ….. the first image that comes to mind when you think of Cinque Terre is that of rugged mountain terrain, with its deteriorating dry stone walls, built to hold up vineyards. An impressive and unique landscape which has been included on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The landscape, which we admire, is the product of collective creativity that was able to overcome the difficulties posed.

It is the local Cinque Terre people, that has spanned over a thousand years. Together these people have worked towards one vision – to live, to produce and to be part of a community. Over this time, a human chain of men and woman transformed this territory with age-old techniques and wisdom and with the naivete’ of poverty, a hard challenge for survival.

There are five ancient fishing villages perched on the edge of the cliffs:

  1. Riomaggiore, 2. Manarola, 3.Corniglia 4. Vernazza, 5. Monterosso ….. all joined by a railway line and by old walking and donkey trails. We walked up from the train Station at the first village of Riomaggiore and saw the ocean and the steep cliffs …… we walked on the easy walk to Manarola …… a rockslide had occurred between Manarola and the third village of Corniglia . We then we caught the train up to the last (fifth) village of Monterosso then walked four hours to Vernazza by old walking and donkey trails. ….. the fourth village on the sea …. absolutely beautiful!!

See the Post on  this website:  ITALY HOLIDAY in March / April 2005 ….. CINQUE TERRE

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Week 4 = Rome: We stayed in a small convent on the edge of St. Peters Square. From there we walked downstairs after breakfast to see places: St. Peter’s Square itself, St. Peter’s Basilica, The Vatican Museum (see www.vatican.va/, The Colosseum = 0196 + The Palatine plus the Forum Area (First Century) = 0208, The Catacombs …. One of six around Rome Week 4 = Trip Back: Eleven hours to Hong Kong …… a day in Hong Kong ….. then eight hours on to Brisbane

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http://theromanempireinthefirstcentury.blogspot.com/

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Week 4 = Rome: We stayed in a small convent on the edge of St. Peters Square.… where over successive days where we saw the Colosseum and walked down the excavated Forum Area where Paul and his 1st Century Christians would have walked down. We stayed in a small convent on the edge of St. Peters Square. From there we would walk downstairs after breakfast to see places:

The flip side of Roman Culture was that people’s lives didn’t matter. Hence you have things like these:

  • The passion of the people for gladiatorial games was great It was real people fighting out to a death finish in front of thousands …. For sport. If certain slaves showed promise, they could go through the gladiator school and provide live sport for thousands in the watching stands ….. to the death with other gladiators or wild animals ….The rewards were great for successful gladiators
  • Executed Christians without mercy when they wouldn’t acknowledge Caesar as God …. Fed them to the lions in a public spectacle in the Colosseum or nearby in another sporting complex or burned them as pitched soaked night-time garden candles in the Emperor’s garden
  • The Romans would go to take over whole countries and just take them over: England, North Africa, Spain, Europe etc. …. Whether they liked or not …… possibly burn their cities to the ground and take their people back to Rome as slaves as happened in Jerusalem in AD 70.
  • Roman culture had a variation on wholesale abortion …. Babies would come to full term …. Then if mothers didn’t want them, they would left by the roadside for wild animals or vultures to eat or throw them in the river. …. Maybe 1 in 3 occurred this way
  • Homosexuality was common …. Older men often had young boys as sex slaves

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The Roman Colosseum …

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See  Rome.info > Roman Colosseum, Coliseum of Rome

The Forum Area ….

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http://earlyrometheforumarea.blogspot.com/

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