From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Frank Cawley
Long legged Italy
By Frank Cawley
24, Nov 2007 - 18:53

These are some pictures from a recent trip to Italy. I travelled arthritic-like from the heel to the heart of the country.  It's a beautiful place still warm and pleasant in November. 

These pictures are not in the order of my journey this one is taken in Rome where they have 2 metro lines. They couldn't build any more because every time they dig they find some new ancient ruin, just like the M3 in Meath. I believe that they recently found the remains of the she-wolf that was purported to have suckled and reared Romulus the founder of Rome. If they only travelled to the royal county i.e. Meath they would have been able to find real live examples of she-wolves.

It's more socially acceptable for someone to go for a coffee or ice cream at 11 clock at night than it is to force-feed yourself a dozen pots of larger.  Binge drinking in Italy is the second glass. 

This picture was taken in Taranto, which is a coastal city in Apulia, southern Italy. It is an important naval port and it's one of the main access points to Sicily, but far more interestingly it gets its names from the famous black hairy spider. They have a dance called the tarantula which legend has is the best way to flush the poison if you get bit by a hairy wolf spider. I danced the tarantula myself one night in rockin robbins in Carrick-on-Shannon after being bit by a hairy she-wolf from Meath. It took a long time for the poison to leave me. This bridge spans a canal that was used to protect the naval fleet in Taranto. They town itself is about the same size as Cork i.e. ~200k. It felt run down there was a lot of graffiti (which is normal in Italy) and it looked like the place had a lot of unemployed migrants waiting for an opportunity. The Easter week celebrations in Taranto are world-famous, they date back to medieval times and it would remind you more of a Klan convention than a reconstruction of the last week of Christ's life in the Middle East.

I always thought that Christianity would be the most important thing in an Italian's life; after all it's the seat of God's representative on Earth: el padre.  Catholicism as far as I can see comes third in the hierarchical order of things that are important to Italians. Second place could be a combination of any thing from fashion to looking good but the underlying idea is to try to be attractive.  The main religion though is without question football.

I was surprised at how far the Aer Lingus marketing team are willing to stretch their campaign in Italy. If you can read Italian and you are into what appears to be conservative politics maybe the web site on this pic can help you understand what this picture means.

Ostuni is a small town set on top of a hill on the Adriatic coast half way between Bari and Brindisi. It's full of small winding laneways. Everything that can move is white washed; the Italians call it the white town. The patron saint is St Oranzo who seems to have been a popular man around these parts. Every evening after siesta the town's squares and parks fill up with old men, something like the way the market square would have years ago or the area outside the brown cow on a Saturday morning. Ostuni reminded me of Newry, Co. Down, both towns report to have a train station, but no one tells you it's 4km away. It's as if Ryanair had something to do with building these railway stations.

If you do well in Rome and you’re a cardinal or a pope then you can use some of the Vatican bank's money to pay a world-renowned artist to paint a picture of you being helped up into heaven. And that's about as close to heaven as I think you're likely to get.

This picture was taken in a church museum in Lecce. We got a personal tour of the museum, and an apology for being charged €4. Did you ever turn up late for a date or maybe unintentionally insult a lady? Well one thing is for sure: you don't want to mess with this queen. All St John said was I think you’ve put on a little weight and the next thing someone loses the head….literally.

This is The Basilica of St John Lateran — in Italian, the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano — is the cathedral church of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome. This is the church where Cardinal Brady will say his first mass as a cardinal. I took a lot of photos in this church. It's definitely the most expensive church I have ever been in. I'd say you could buy a house in Wisteria Lane, aka Cottage Road Breaffy for the same price as one of the front doors in this place. I can't help but feel Jesus would definitely never visit this place if he ever decides to go to Rome.

Neptune driving down prices with a spear for Vodafone Italy

These dragons and gargoyles are holding up one of the many church roofs in Lecce. Lecce is a city situated in the south of Italy, in the region of Apulia. It is the capital of the province with the same name. Lecce is called "La Firenze del Sud" (The Florence of the South) because of the quantity of important Baroque monuments found there. The area where Lecce is located is called Salento, another important nearby town being Otranto. It is an important university town - the Galway of the region.

What ever you think about Padre Pio this is a legendary life size monument in some random church that I visited in Rome. They had a box where you could leave requests for Padre Pio. I asked if he can help Mayo win the All-Ireland in 2008. I'm just not too sure how strong my faith is in the Mayo team.

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