Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Part 9: Firenze, Padova, Verona e Venezia

2pm Barberini, local time

It's been a welcome change to get in some European countryside as Rome can become a little bit too much too soon.

Firenze - Florence

David, living at the Galleria dell'Accademia, is well worth the 1.25hr queue. As I stand in awe of him, I feel guilty looking away for a few moments to jot down my thoughts, as though each second I'm not looking at him I'm doing an injustice to his majesty. Truly, Michelangelo was a man who appreciated the male form better than any other homosexual before or since.

I am struck by the size of his hands and feet, and specifically his fingers. Even for a bloke of over 5 metres tall they seem disproportionately huge.

Seeing his flaccid member in all its glory makes for a nice change from the eunuch figures of the Sistine Chapel (all the *bits* were sawn off there?)

I'm sure I'll burn in hell for saying this, but D has this gay look in his eye. A combination of "I know I'm hot shit" with a delicate sensitivity, even a vulnerability, as though the victory against Goliath still hasn't quite vindicated his own sense of self-worth.

He sure would look hot in a pair of Diesel low-riders.

To paraphrase one of our great female lyricists: He's not a boy, not yet a man. Is he the beauty of youth immortalised forever?

As I sat near the peak of the Giardino di Biboli, with a panorama of Florence almost equalling that of Barcelona from the Parc Guell, I wonder if the view would have been so different 500 years ago. This is a city frozen in time. Church bells ring in the distance to remind me you're never too far from the Big Man in this country. I know appreciate why people have such strong faith in the Catholic Church. The art, architecture and churches I have seen in the last few days are so incomprehendingly magnificent that could fairly conclude God were using man as a technical vessel for His will, whether it be Michelangelo's ceiling in the Sistine Chapel or his David or Boticcelli's Birth of Venus, there is certainly a suggestion of inspiration greater than mortal humanity.

This is not my road to Demascus; I remain a humanist and I'm still yet to be convinced of the presence of God. But maybe after living a few years in Italy I could see the light and be saved after all...


Adrian and I arrived here Monday with me knowing a maximum of 8 Italian words and our hosts, A's aunt and uncle, knowing even less English. Here I discovered another universal language: food. A's zia assaulted us remorselessly with the best schnitzels, pasta, lamb and tiramisu I've ever eaten in my life.

It is both alienating and liberating to be surrounded by a language that is incomprehensible to me. A was understandably reluctant to be always translating so I largely communicated with his lovely family through lots of "si"s, "gracie"s and "bella"s coupled with the odd mime. But when food so heavenly was served there was no need for dialogue.

Padova itself is a pleasant, non-tourist northern Italian town but my only real experience there was to buy a last-minute thank-you bottle of vino for my hosts.


Due to delays in our travels we only managed a couple of hours in fair Verona, but I did get in some shots of the casa de Giulietta, the legendary Romeo and Juliet balcony and me guaranteeing the longevity of a good sex life by touching Juliet's bosom (unfortunately I couldn't take a full-fledged nose dive).

Verona is an enchanting village, although sadly following the path of so many towns in this region and losing its unique charm as locals flee in fear from the extortionate prices local shopkeepers charge as the tourists (guilty as charged) keep flooding in.


With gondola rides starting at 60 Euros that dream quickly dissipated, but we did get in a lot of meandering around the canals as well as fighting off millions of pigeons in the Piazza San Marco. We'd had a little rain beforehand so the infamous Venice hot weather stink was absent.

A took me off the beaten tourist track across the waterways to an adorable little hamlet called Buramo - like Venice with the canals but much smaller and without shitloads of Americans or overpriced boutiques.

I had a moment's pause to reflect that this was the remotest, furthest place I have ever been from home. If I ever do rob a bank or assassinate Howard or some other minor crime, I think this is where I'd relocate.

Early flight to Paris tomorrow morning, so arrevaderche (?) Roma. It's been sweet to stay in one place longer than a week although my body doesn't quite seem fully recuperated - maybe at 90% operation.

I have a date with a beautiful young man called Francesco with whom I played at the Gay Village a few nights ago. I've said it before and I'll say it again: The only thing yummier than authentic Italian cuisine is an authentic Italian man.

Ciao xo


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