A bunch of random pictures from my numerous transits through Italy.

I am currently in Canada and, after a week of catching up on my taxes, other administrative issues, enjoying time with my girlfriend and planning my next trip, I just realized I never posted any of my Italy photos. I figure it’s because in my mind, I did not travel to Italy, I merely went through Italy several times, always on my way to one of the region’s mini-countries, the Vatican, Monaco, Malta and San Marino. But I have quite a few pictures, so here’s a small sample.

I had low expectations about Pisa – especially its iconic leaning tower – but I must say, I was impressed. I could not believe a stone structure could remain standing with such an incline.

The same tower next to the Duomo, just to show I am not trying to trick you with optical illusions.

Of course, the tower is constantly being held up by an endless flow of well-meaning tourists.

I found it annoying; I wish they would fix it for good. 

A pleasant thing about the Piazza del Duomo, where the tower is located, is that police do not allow touts, salesmen of illegal counterfeit junk and other scammers on the grounds. Of course, that only means they’ll get you at the gate!

In much bigger Milan, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele; a little nicer than most shopping malls in Canada.I felt a little underdressed in my long-term traveler’s clothes, walking in this world-class fashion capital.

The Duomo, probably the main touristic attraction of Milan. Unlike Rome, Milan’s touristic attractions are very geographically concentrated. The result is that you feel like you are in a real Italian city when walking around, except in that very specific area, where it is complete chaos. The photo does not have enough resolution for you to see the sign, but the Duomo’s massive renovations are being partially financed by Blackberry. I’m not sure what to think…

Sunset over Ventimiglia. This small coastal city is where you stay if you want to visit Monaco without paying its outrageous hotel prices. Think of it as staying in New Jersey to visit Manhattan, except with a much bigger price difference, and a much easier transit (20 minutes by train, 3 euros). Even though it doesn’t feel like it, going to Monaco and back, you will cross 4 international borders (France, Monaco, France, Italy), so do bring your passport. French police boarded my train and grabbed several Pakistanis and a European guy who just hadn’t thought to carry proper ID.

When you come from a small town and discover The New World, you’re kind of a big deal. In Genoa.

And finally, a picture from a public toilet (Pisa airport), which completely captures my perception of Italy. The sink has automated dispensers of soap, water and air to dry your hand. It’s a cool modern design, looks nice and is original. Of course, as you are drying your hands, nobody can use the sink, so it’s completely inefficient. Italy!


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