Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Casa di Christopher Columbus

Another thing we went to see was the house of Christopher Columbus.  

It stood just the other side of the Porta Soprano from our hotel and was still in the process of being renovated, the top floor being largely non-existent. 

There really isn't much there to see.  We busily snapped pictures until the receptionist finished her phone call and noticed us doing this; she informed us that pictures were not allowed.  

I guess that, along with the dearth of things to see, caused me to think that if Casa di Dante was a high point, Casa di Columbus was a low.

Bill Bryson has lots to say about Columbus in his book At Home: 
Christopher Columbus is the best remembered of the early explorers but not the first...Columbus's real achievement was managing to cross the ocean successfully in both directions.  Though an accomplished enough mariner, he was not terribly good at a great deal else, especially geography, the skill that would seem most vital in an explorer.  It would be hard to name any figure in history who has achieved more lasting fame with less competence.  He spent large parts of eight years bouncing around Caribbean islands and coastal South American convinced that he was in the heart of the Orient and that Japan and China were at the edge of every sunset.  He never worked out that Cuba is an island and never once set foot on, or even suspected the existence of, the land mass to the north that everyone thinks he discovered:  the United States.  He filled his holds with valueless iron pyrite thinking it was gold and with what he confidently believed to be cinnamon and pepper.  The first was actually a worthless tree bark and the second were not true peppers but chilli peppers -- excellent when you have grasped the general idea of them, but a little eye-wateringly astonishing on first hearty chomp.

In any case, the main thing I took away was that the Columbus family were cloth weavers and merchants.  That, and it's not really worth paying  to go inside. 

As always, we enjoyed the warm evening, our last in Italy.  

It is definitely a sidewalk cafe society that Northern England can only dream about - unless you're a smoker, 

in which case you're doomed to spend your life out of doors, year round.  


I'm not leaving Italy altogether, mind, there is still a lot to show you.  

However, I find that after a couple of weeks on the road I'm ready to enjoy the comforts of my own home, to eat familiar food again, to know what the toilet facilities will be like...

Do you get homesick after a few weeks on holiday?


Rick Stone said...

Get homesick? Nope. It's now a let down when it is time to return to this house that is made of sticks. Much better when out on the road in the house that is on wheels.

Jo said...

Here is the other side of it. I am ready to get home and have some leg room. Bud is ready to get home to the doggie door where he can go out any time.

Shelley said...

Joanne - Yep, I figure as much.