Quirky Travel Journal Questions
May 15, 2012 10:34 AM   Subscribe

Quirky travel journal questions - Italian Edition.

We are taking a family tour of Italy. Package tour; 3 days each in Venice, Rome and Italy. The 8 of us range in age from 14-70. I'm putting together a little travel journal for each person with some blank pages and lists like regional specialties, a gelato flavor translator and questions like "what was the best/worst thing you saw/ate/smelled today?"

I'd like to add more specific quirky questions such as: How many paintings of St. Sebastian did you see today? Which was the goriest? But that is the only question like that I can think of, never having been to Italy myself. What other odd question(s) should I ask?
posted by sarajane to Travel & Transportation around Italy (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What was the best outfit you saw a random person on the street wearing?
posted by Rock Steady at 10:44 AM on May 15, 2012

Duh: Venice, Florence and Rome.
posted by sarajane at 11:35 AM on May 15, 2012

From my sister: You can track how many winged lions you see in Venice and how many SPQR or wolf of Roma inscriptions in Rome. Also where you saw a building that combines more than one time period.

Also something she taught me to do that I've loved ever since - encourage everyone to sketch little vignettes of things they see around, even if they're not great artists. I adore looking back through my travel journal and seeing my terrible drawing of the embassy in Dublin or my contraption to keep a door closed when I couldn't get it to lock.
posted by brilliantine at 11:41 AM on May 15, 2012

I always like spotting the bees (the Barberini family crest, which made its way onto all the statuary commissioned by Pope Urban XIII) on statuary in Rome.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:48 AM on May 15, 2012

Also, others may disagree with me, but I find most of the babies (depicting infant Jesus, etc) in Italian Renaissance painting to be hilariously ugly, so if you're going to museums I'd ask "what was the ugliest painted baby you saw?"
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:50 AM on May 15, 2012

What an awesome idea! Some thoughts:

1) Running tally of how many churches/temples you've seen; possibility for looking for most obscure St. name or picture (or goriest death, if you're going to St. Stefano Rotundo in Rome...)

2) Favorite pizza a taglio combo

3) Best mask (for sale all over Venice and in some specialty shops in Florence and Rome)

4) Most unexpected food (e.g. horse and lemon cream pizza)

5) On preview, the idea about the Barberini bee is awesome; you could look up some of the other crests visible in the different cities or even just keep track of the number of papal keys

6) Best Venus pose (works best if you are spending a lot of time in art museums)

7)I take pictures of the oddest monsters in paintings or oddest combinations of "animals the artist had only heard about" like an ostrich with lion feet, or, frankly, any of Michaelangelo's women...

8) On that note, I love Mark Twain's paragraph on him, which finishes like this:

"I never felt so fervently thankful, so soothed, so tranquil, so filled with a blessed peace, as I did yesterday when I learned that Michael Angelo was dead."

The Innocents Abroad is filled with, ahem, old-fashioned ideas about a number of things, but a lot of it is very funny and quite interesting to read while in Italy.

9) Most unexpected reuse of a classical column or inscription

10) Best tiny pastry (many pasticcerie will sell mini-versions of their sweets, and if you don't have allergies, it's wonderful to just pick a bunch and try to figure out what they are later.)
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:56 AM on May 15, 2012

...and maybe 11) favorite fountain or statue? Mine is a tucked away fountain with little bronze turtles, but then there's "Minerva's Chick," the talking statues, all of the corner Mary shrines...and playing Hunt the Obelisk in Rome, though this doesn't work for Florence or Venice
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:02 PM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

For art museums; if you could take home only one painting (or sculpture or other objet d'art), which one would it be?
posted by kaybdc at 12:19 PM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

AWESOME! These are all perfect - the ugliest painted baby nearly made me spit iced tea on my monitor. Thank you all so much!
posted by sarajane at 1:11 PM on May 15, 2012

- Rome (and perhaps Florence) how many original Fiat 500's spotted? how many Smart (in Rome)?

- Venice: weirdest/bulgingest tramezzino?

- Florence: how many (or oldest) flood-markers, or ancient no-littering plaques?

- favourite sun-dial of the day (more of those around than you'd expect)?

- favourite regional vegetable/fruit at the local market (Venice, Florence, Rome)?

- favourite local bread shape?
posted by progosk at 3:01 PM on May 15, 2012

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