Sam Bowker: The Grand Tour Diary (2005 - 2006)

This is the archived journal of a 2005-2006 'Grand Tour' around the Eastern Mediterranean and along East Africa, written by Sam Bowker, whilst in search of his PhD topic.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Italy - Orvieto and Rome, Again

Dedicated to Laurence, who has missed out on St Francis Kitsch

Today has really been a travelling day, Perugia to Rome, broken with an excursion to Orvieto.

Why go to Orvieto? For the cathedral of course. That-s really the main claim to tourism for a lot of Italian towns (technically cities if they have a cathedral). It-s actually one of the best I have seen in Italy on the exterior - right up there with Florence. It-s covered in horizontal black and white stripes, creating a shimmering effect as you approach, much like the Siena Cathedral. The facade is seriously bejewelled. It has thousands of glimmering mosaic tesserae reflecting the sunlight, which as I arrived was at a steep angle and boldly contrasting the intricate surface textures. It was colourful, richly festooned (a word I don/t use often enough) with sculpture like Florence-s, and bore two magnificent chapels inside. One of these, the more famous, was by Signorelli. This chapel features a Last Judgement that was likely to have inspired Michelangelo, and it-s plain to see why, even though Michelangelo took a very different take on his composition.

I-m very pleased I took that little diversion, it really gave me something to write home about.

But on the most recent of recent events, I am writing from Rome again. Trevi Fountain definately works, huzzah! I seem to have, so far this evening, shaken off the -ghost of Anna- that followed me after she left when I was alone here. Let-s hope Rome renews itself to me this time... no offense Anna dearest! I-ll be focussing on the museums and galleries I didn-t want to bore Anna with over the next two or three days.


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