2012

Mt. Vesuvius at Dawn

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Naples is a filthy, crime-ridden town. We were nearly mugged twice and ate dinner in a restaurant run by the mafia. Gun wielding couriers came in on motorbikes and dropped bundles of cash while we feasted on a delicious meal of octupus. We woke around 4:00 AM this morning to make the flight back to the United States from Naples and was treated to early morning surprise on the balcony. We stayed at the Hotel […]

2012

Il Duomo, Florence

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Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance and saw a concentration of master artists and thinkers all competing to create masterpieces. The Statue of David. Santa Maria del Fiore and all her wonders. Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise. Filloppo Brunelleschi discovered the use of perspective in drawings, marking a transformation in drawings and paintings. Yet, more people remember him for his ingenuous architectural solution to the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore. Built with compression and […]

2012

Storm Clouds over Piazza San Pietro

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I visited Piazza San Pietro in Vatican City on a late Tuesday afternoon in May. The area near St. Peter’s Basilica was cleared of people as they prepared seating for the Wednesday morning mass.  Rain had cleared many of the visitors from the area, providing a rare moment where the square seemed free of people. Piazza San Pietro is an immense space, and as with all Vatican architecture, leverages techniques to give the maximum aesthetic […]

2012

Constantine’s Triumphal Arch

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Emperor Constantine was one of the last great leaders of the Roman Empire. His triumphal arch here is situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill (in the foreground). The Palatine Hill is the historic birthplace of Rome, and was home to the palaces of the great families and emperors of the Roman empire including the massive Flavian palace and the more modest home of Caesar Augustus.  

2012

Ponte Vecchio over the Arno

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The gentle river Arno flows through Florence, Italy. Florence was first settled in 67 BC by Cassus, who established this as a community for retired Roman soldiers. The first bridge across the Arno was believed to have been built by the Romans at this point, the narrowest point of crossing on the Arno. This original bridge was constructed from stone and wood, and disappeared at some time around 1100. During the middle ages Florentines constructed […]

2012

Splash Mountain

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While riding Splash Mountain at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, the ride broke down and stranded us for 30 minutes. The photo here is the back side of the tree at the top of the ride, a view that very few people see (unless they’re stranded).