A Travellerspoint blog

The treasures from Pompei

I spent a good few hours wandering around the museum where most of the treasures that were unearthed at various sites like Pompei and Hercularium are stored. It is real Alladins cave and I took way to many photos. There is a room which displays faded mosaics and paintings showing all kinds of naughty stuff. I left these out but did begin the blog with a nice copy of a statue which awaits to greet you at the top of the escalators in the Museum metro station. Dont look Leone (hes got no clothes on)

Man in the Metro at the Museum station

Man in the Metro at the Museum station


and another outside the station

and another outside the station


Into the National Archaeological Museum

Into the National Archaeological Museum


out in the courtyard

out in the courtyard


Romans were masters of sculpture

Romans were masters of sculpture


especially skillful at making

especially skillful at making


fabric drape around a body

fabric drape around a body


3 dimensional carved coffin

3 dimensional carved coffin


corner detail

corner detail


marble carved to great effect

marble carved to great effect


a masterpiece reassembled from small fragments

a masterpiece reassembled from small fragments


another view

another view


a warrior carrying a child

a warrior carrying a child


300BC from Pompei

300BC from Pompei


same

same


same

same


nothing new under the sun - 200BC

nothing new under the sun - 200BC


300BC Olympic runners from Pompei

300BC Olympic runners from Pompei


drunken satyr

drunken satyr


Roman´s best friend

Roman´s best friend


lifesize fawn

lifesize fawn


columns from Pompei

columns from Pompei


strange mosaic

strange mosaic


even stranger - scary clown?

even stranger - scary clown?


even scarier-  bloodthirsty cupids

even scarier- bloodthirsty cupids


just strange

just strange


amazingly detailed mosaic

amazingly detailed mosaic


I didn´t photo the really rude ones

I didn´t photo the really rude ones


delightfully strange midget feeding chooks

delightfully strange midget feeding chooks


a really timeless work of art

a really timeless work of art


over 2000 years old portrait

over 2000 years old portrait

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Alan in Wonderland (on the Metro)

On my way to a museum in Naples I discovered the New Metro line. I stopped at three stations to sample the art on offer. Nothing prepared me for what I saw, It was a unique experience. Ten times better than any camera can capture. Enjoy, as I did..

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

They have got big snails in Napoli

They have got big snails in Napoli


They are breeding them in the new metro

They are breeding them in the new metro


into the metro station

into the metro station


then deeper

then deeper


and deeper underground

and deeper underground


where I start tripping out

where I start tripping out


on the colourful

on the colourful


floors with amazing patterns

floors with amazing patterns


and walls that glow

and walls that glow


at another station

at another station


lives a strange creature

lives a strange creature


guarded by daleks

guarded by daleks


it is like a playful puppy

it is like a playful puppy


At the metro station called Toledo

At the metro station called Toledo


you exit past a wall of swirling sea

you exit past a wall of swirling sea


until you reach the escalators

until you reach the escalators


and you see the vortex of light

and you see the vortex of light


a gateway to another dimension

a gateway to another dimension


sometimes filled with stars

sometimes filled with stars


of galaxies far far away

of galaxies far far away


and other times a portal

and other times a portal


to an underwater world

to an underwater world


or you can climb the stairway to heaven

or you can climb the stairway to heaven

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Monday in Mdina

For a little island, less than twice the size of Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf, Malta certainly packs in a lot of history. A lot of that history has been about war and conquest. At some point in time every major power in Europe wanted to claim Malta as their own territory. That is why it seems that everywhere you go in Malta you run into Fortified Towns or Cities. The fortified city of Mdina is tiny but like the island of Malta it packs a punch historically. This was the very first capital of Malta from about the 8th century BC until the Knights landed in 1530 and decided a capital city with a port suited them better. Today, within the walls of Mdina live fewer than 300 people and if last Monday is anything to go by, most of them work in tourism and hospitality. The village sized city is picture perfect and is well maintained as befits such a pretty little pedigree cash cow. Nowhere is to be seen the abandoned and neglected buildings that some people consider an eyesore, and some think adds authentic character to the suburbs of Valletta. Both Mdina, and the other smaller city/towns I have visited or passed through, tell me that there is a lot to be gained from pride of ownership. When the inhabitants of a village or town or city take ownership of the private and public spaces that they live in, everyone in the community gains a sense of pride, and it shows. I hope that places like Mdina and Marsaxlokke continue to attract sufficient visitors to keep them going and to keep making it worthwhile for the community to maintain the integrity and special charm of the place they live. It is refreshing to see people taking pride in their communities in what is becoming more and more a world of the disenfranchised...

750,000 tourists a year pass through these gates

750,000 tourists a year pass through these gates


some of them want a buggy ride

some of them want a buggy ride


some of them want to put their wives in the stocks

some of them want to put their wives in the stocks


and release them 2 hours later

and release them 2 hours later


some want to check out a museum

some want to check out a museum


everyone gets to walk along narrow streets

everyone gets to walk along narrow streets


dotted with pretty little homes

dotted with pretty little homes


like this

like this


and this

and this


and this

and this


and this

and this


and this

and this


some want to check out the churches

some want to check out the churches


inside and out

inside and out


and the ancient buildings

and the ancient buildings


in quaint little palazzos

in quaint little palazzos


and spot the odd inhabitants vehicles

and spot the odd inhabitants vehicles


Others like to pretend to be Lords

Others like to pretend to be Lords


of all they survey

of all they survey


As they gaze down from the battlements

As they gaze down from the battlements


on the lands below

on the lands below


many of them just find a cafe

many of them just find a cafe


or small exclusive restaurant, and do lunch..

or small exclusive restaurant, and do lunch..

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Malta Comments (0)

Valletta, Birgu and Sunday in Marsaxlokk...

When I landed in Malta I purchased a 15 euro bus ticket which was good for 12 trips up to 2 hours long. Since the island of Malta is only 27 km long and 14.5 km wide the bus card has allowed me to travel almost anywhere I wanted on the island. Today for instance I caught the bus to the western town of Mdina, I will possibly do a post of my visit there tomorrow. Previously I have been to Birgu and Marsaxlokke for a few hours to check them out. I really enjoyed the visits to both of those towns. Having said that I have pretty much run out of places that I want to visit here, so until I fly out for Naples on Wednesday morning I might just enjoy some down time. Hope you all enjoy the photos I took on my travels around Malta....

monument commemorating the great seige of Malta.

monument commemorating the great seige of Malta.


At the city gates opposite the new Parliament

At the city gates opposite the new Parliament


stands a lone sentinel, ignored by everyone but me

stands a lone sentinel, ignored by everyone but me


Jean de Vallette being photobombed

Jean de Vallette being photobombed


The Street boys or Les Gavroches.

The Street boys or Les Gavroches.


The restore Auberge de Castille

The restore Auberge de Castille


Now the office of the Prime Minister

Now the office of the Prime Minister


Brand new Houses of Parliament

Brand new Houses of Parliament


locally known as the Cheese grater

locally known as the Cheese grater


a one km street running the length of Valletta

a one km street running the length of Valletta


view from the Upper Barrakka Gardens

view from the Upper Barrakka Gardens


offer the best views of Malta

offer the best views of Malta


they overlook the saluting battery

they overlook the saluting battery


and were built in the 1560s

and were built in the 1560s


Across the water is the ancient city of Il-Birgu

Across the water is the ancient city of Il-Birgu


Statue of St. Lorenz in Il-Birgu Victory Square

Statue of St. Lorenz in Il-Birgu Victory Square


The first church used by Knights in Malta

The first church used by Knights in Malta


Built in 1690

Built in 1690


the church of St. Lawrence of Rome

the church of St. Lawrence of Rome


looking across the fortified city of Il-Birgu

looking across the fortified city of Il-Birgu


Sunday markets in Marsaxlokk

Sunday markets in Marsaxlokk


at least 100 stalls

at least 100 stalls


I really went for the views across the harbour

I really went for the views across the harbour


like this one

like this one


and this

and this


and this one

and this one


and this

and this


and this one

and this one


small walled cultivated fields

small walled cultivated fields


on the road to Marsaxlokks

on the road to Marsaxlokks


This one´s for Carlos

This one´s for Carlos

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Malta Comments (0)

Valletta´s stunning Cathedral

My first trip to Valletta was on the morning of a warmish day. The bus only took about 15 minutes to drive through a mixture of old and modern suburbs to arrive at the central bus depot which was located at the gates of the city. The city was built in the 1560s on the orders of Jean de Valette, the Grandmaster of the Knights of St. John. He built a fortress of a city on a peninsular only 1km long by 600 metres wide. It doesn´t seem possible, when you are there, that so much city is squeezed into such a small space. It is a Tardis of a city. I kept to the main three wide streets which run the length of the peninsular from the main gate which is surrounded by huge fortifications known as bastions. The main streets were lined with the usual shops and arcades but on them were also grand baroque churches and palaces with the occasional modern buildings that were built to replace those destroyed during the WW2 bombing of Malta. It would have been foolish for me to attempt to walk up or down the many narrow streets which crossed the main three, and which ended up on the waterfront on either side. Inevitably at some point they got steepish, and it is a well known fact that I don´t do hills.. I passed several churches and eventually returned to the plain one with a biggish queue on the front steps. This turned out to be the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, built in the 1570s by the Knights of Saint John. It was 10 euros to enter, which I thought was a bit much for such a plain looking church. It turned out to be the best 10 euros I have spent in a long time. Nothing can prepare you for the golden ornate opulence of the inside. For the first 100 years it had a plain interior, but then in the 1660s the Grandmaster ordered the redecoration of the interior to rival the churches of Rome. The limestone walls and ceilings were carved and painted by a team of artists led by Mattia Preti, a knight and skilled artist. They turned the interior into a baroque masterpiece which has no equal. Several things stood out for me. The first was the elegance of the chapels on either side of the nave. Each was dedicated to a specific chapter or langue of Knights ( based on geography and language commonly spoken) Each chapel was a masterpiece in design and held the tombs of many Grandmasters. The second was the exquisitely painted barrel vaulted ceiling decorations. The third outstanding feature was the marble inlaid floor which was made up of tombstones describing the deeds and valour of the 375 or more Knights buried beneath them. The final bonus for me were two truly amazing paintings by Caravaggio ( who was once a Knight of the order). I have no photos of these simply because they were in a separate chapel where no photos were allowed. They were his painting of St. Jerome, and the large painting of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist. Both are brilliant works of art. I walked out of the Cathedral into what felt like an oven. It was painfully hot in the midday sun, although it was only supposed to be 32 degrees. I called it a day and went home for to try and cool down.

part of the city fortifications

part of the city fortifications


160 foot high bastion walls

160 foot high bastion walls


built in the 1580´s

built in the 1580´s


one of 3 main streets run from the city gates

one of 3 main streets run from the city gates


bisected by many narrower lanes

bisected by many narrower lanes


some go up

some go up


some go down to the water

some go down to the water


the plain outside of the Cathedral

the plain outside of the Cathedral


the baroque golden opulence inside

the baroque golden opulence inside


the barrel vaulted ceiling is beautifully painted

the barrel vaulted ceiling is beautifully painted


another view to the altar

another view to the altar


there are 4 chapels on each side of the nave

there are 4 chapels on each side of the nave


the canopied main altar

the canopied main altar


another view

another view


decoration was carved into the stone walls

decoration was carved into the stone walls


marble tombstones of 400 knights form the floor

marble tombstones of 400 knights form the floor


carvings then gilded or painted

carvings then gilded or painted


another example

another example


and another

and another


and another

and another


chapel ceiling

chapel ceiling


grandmaster´s tombs in chapels

grandmaster´s tombs in chapels


another chapel

another chapel


and another

and another


and another

and another


constantly making repairs

constantly making repairs


Wooden cross painted by Caravaggio

Wooden cross painted by Caravaggio


Bronze image of Christ

Bronze image of Christ

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Malta Comments (0)

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