Saturday, September 29, 2012

Photos That Most Tourists To Italy Do Not Take

Yesterday I wrote an article on how the citizens of Italy are selling their gold to survive...  I did take other pictures during our trip (while my wife was taking pictures of Baroque churches, historical sites, etc.).  Hey, if you want pictures of The Vatican. the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Venice, etc., you can find those pictures in lots of places!

You can click on any of the images and see them better...

Ever hopeful that I can promote my creativity, I present the below picture "Still Life, Caserta":

Caserta is located inland from Naples, and it has a magnificent palace and grounds that the Italians claim rivals Versailles (near Paris, France).  Well, the estate IS very nice, but Versailles remains unrivalled.  There is a lovely picture of the gardens and palace in the background here:

The below photo may entertain any of my women readers.  Above the entrance to the Ladies Room in Caserta's train station is a sign saying that the area is under video surveillance...:

We saw several windmill farms while traveling about there.  In many (most?) of the windmill farms we passed I noted that many turbines were not spinning.  In some cases, there turbines spinning and many others that were not (which would rule out lack of wind at that moment).  I saw this so much that I wonder if Italy has wasted capital on these projects, "mal-investment", I really do not know.  This picture DID have some turbines spinning.  I never got close enough up to any windmill turbines to get a nice photo, this was taken on the train from Caserta to Bari:

You had to know these two pictures would be coming...  They are railroad car wheel bearings, SKF (world's largest bearing manufacturer) brand and the second RIV brand (RIV was taken over by SKF).  I asked my wife to put her hand in the second photo for scale.  From trains in and near Bari:

We stayed a couple of days in Taranto (SE Italy).  Hey, Taranto has it all!  Founded about 702 BC by the Greeks, they were taken over by the Romans about 272 BC, who stole all that gold from "Magna Grecia"'s richest city.  Now Taranto has it all in another way: an oil refinery, a cement plant, a steel mill and a fairly big port.  We also read that the citizens living in Taranto have a very high cancer rate (like Louisiana does.  Hey!  Blogger "George Washington" ought to dig around for that info).  While my wife was using HER camera to take pictures of the Old City, Greek ruins, etc., I was taking other photos...

Oil refinery, Taranto, Italy (sorry not a good photo):

Steel mill, Taranto, Italy (again, from far away):

Part of the port of Taranto, you can see (if you look closely) both steel slabs (I guesstimate about that the steel slabs were maybe 1 meter thick), you can also see rolled steel sheet in the back to the left.

Assuming these industrial facilities are running at a profit (a BIG IF), then Taranto is generating wealth.  I wonder who, though, is buying the steel, there is so much cheap steel worldwide now I gather...  We did not eat seafood in Taranto...

We rented a car in Bari and drove to various towns (including Taranto, Matera, Lecce, Brindisi and Gallipoli).  All of these towns and cities are in Apulia (SE Italy) except Matera which is just over the boundary in Basilicata.  From Taranto to Brindisi we drove along Highway 7, which follows the ancient and most famous of the Roman Empire's roads: the Appian Way (Via Appia).  The Via Appia ends in Brindisi, Italy, the Romans marked the end of their famous road with two columns.  Here is one of them, you'll see the other soon.  People who like history might enjoy the fact that the Roman poet/writer Virgil (who wrote The Aeneid) died within sight of the columns in 17 BC.

Oh!  Please excuse me for being a little touristy.  To make up for that, here is the part of the port of Brindisi where they import natural gas.  It comes in as liquid (LNG), the ships then warm it up into gas, and the Italians then store in the round vessels below:

Two of my favorite pictures of Brindisi!  Brindisi is the main port of entry for people coming from Greece, Turkey and Albania.

When I took the second picture, there was NOT a line of people waiting to buy their tickets to Vlore (Albania)...

Europeans do tractor-trailer rigs a little differently than we do here in the USA.  Here, the truck (tractor) has a  front axle with one wheel (tire) on each side, THAT is the same as in Europe.  But, here in America the trucks have TWO rear axles (providing power to the road) whereas the European trucks have only ONE rear axle for the truck (all with two tires each side).  Finally, here in the USA the rear-most TWO axles (two tires each side per axle) are bearing much of the weight of the trailer.  In Europe, there are THREE trailer axles with one tire each side.  Have a look:

I mentioned earlier about the "other column" that is now no longer in Brindisi.  Turns out that Lecce also has a claim to being the SE end of the Via Appia, so they wound up with the other column (now at the amphitheater there in Lecce, the Empire's second largest amphitheater).  Someone later on put Sant'Oronzo (St. Oronzo, also the name of the piazza) up on the column.

This last picture is a Police Report from Rome.  I was a crime victim, if you want the grubby details read it yourselves!  I censored out the personal info that the cops wanted...  The pickpockets on the Rome Metro are VERY GOOD...


Italy is a fascinating country with many marvels.  Yes!  There is history in every corner of the country.  But, we have been to Italy various times now, and I wanted to take OTHER kinds of pictures!  Once you have seen the main attractions (Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples) there are still many other interesting places to see.

Apulia is one of them.  There is often real value to be had when you get off the beaten path.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Robert, great photos!

    As a frequent visitor to Taranto I can tell you that ILVA (the steel plant) produces about 30% of the steel used in Italian industry, and definitely works at a profit - especially given the money its wealthy owner has saved by not implementing health and safety measures to reduce the appalling pollution in the area - but predictably the wealth does not seem to have trickled down to the workers and their families.
    There is currently a campaign to have it shut down as local people are fed up with the situation.

    However, parts of the city do have a certain charm, I hope you had a chance to walk around the more picturesque albeit delapidated "centro storico" on the island.


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