Europe, Italy

La vita bella in Italy

No Comments 7 August 2010

La vita bella in Italy

Aside from several long layovers in Milan’s foggy airports, the Monkey has spent surprisingly little time in Italy, one of Europe’s most popular destinations. Here are a few photos from his 1996 visit to Italy, complete with leaning towers and pretty girls.

The Monkey has been to Italy many times, but unfortunately most visits were brief and involved getting stuck in Milan’s famously foggy Malpensa Airport on the way elsewhere. Still, in May of 1996 the Monkey made his way to Florence and Pisa for about ten days. At the time, the Monkey was not big on posing for photos, so for now there are only a few shots to peruse.

Perhaps it was because he was feeling emasculated after discovering that his name in Italian (La Scimmia) is feminine, or perhaps it was just the magic of Italy, or perhaps the free-flowing wine, but the Monkey did his best to make nice with the local ladies. A few mementoes of his forays into the Florentine nightlife are included here for your enjoyment. He also has a number of over-contrasty cityscape shots from the sunny days in Florence. The Monkey swears the style is straight out of Giorgio De Chirico, but the Monkey’s photographer has a mental note to bring his flash unit to Italy next time.

Until then, ciao Italia!

View over Florence, Italy
The Monkey enjoys a nearly cloudless day in Florence. The famous Duomo, or dome, of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is visible over his left shoulder. The grayish tower just to the right of the Duomo belongs to the Palazzo Vecchio, seat of the city government for centuries.

Beauties in Florence, Italy
The Monkey says “Ciao Belli” to two German friends in Florence. They were studying Italian there.

Beauties at a party in Florence, Italy
More Florence-based friends of the Monkey engaging in wine-laced hijinks. From left, a Swede (clutching la Scimmia), a German (also seen at left), a bodypainted U.S. girl, and a Peruvian. All were students in Florence.

Florence, Italy
The Monkey with Florence behind him from a different vantage point. He claims the lighting is De Chirico-esque; compare to the piece below. It may be chiaroscuro, but it’s still not very artistic, is it?

Chirico sample
A sample of a painting by Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978).

Campo dei Miracoli, Pisa, Italy
In Pisa, the Monkey stopped off to get his photo taken by the famous Leaning Tower. Construction on the structure, a bell tower for the Cathedral and other religious buildings in the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles) began in 1173, and in a way, it has never ended: work to stabilize the tower and its sinking foundation is still ongoing.

This Monkey adventure has been viewed 1536 times since the 2010 website relaunch.



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58,145,320 (2008)

Land area:

294,020 sq. km.


Rome (pop: 2,693,383; 2005)


In 2006, Italy ranked 18th in the UNDP Human Development Index and 7th in total GDP, with a per capita GDP of $31,495.95. Public debt accounts for 104 percent of total GDP, while no figure for the number of Italians beneath the poverty line is available.

Main language(s):


Monkey's name:

La Scimmia (La Sheem-yah)

Fun fact:

The 19th Century Genoese revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini, who struggled for most of his life to unite the disparate regions of the Italian peninsula into a republic, made himself a visual symbol of his cause: After a failed uprising against Austro-Hungarian occupation of northern regions of the would-be Italy, Mazzini decided he would wear all black clothing to mourn the oppression of his country. He continued to do so for years.

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