Archive for the ‘ things from the past ’ Category

Narnia Fumetto 8

Narnia is not only a matter of chronicles. It is the old name of a city exactly in Italy geographical centre. It is a beautiful little town on a hill and inside walls, with a distinct medieval appearance, and now it is called Narni. Fun fact: the coat of arms of the town is not a lion but a red griffon!

This is the 8th edition of Narni Fumetto, a nice convention about comics. And this one is the access to the town council inside a ancient stone building raised on the more ancient Roman forum of the town. In the atrium there was the games section of the convention.

I stayed two days with Andrea to playtest some new rules, to assist
him with free game session, to visit the town and the convention. In the background a well and along the wall some volumetric food measures carved in stone.

We tested some new ideas for BattleSworn future supplements. I think that it is better to work on the rules that Andrea have to complete, but in the meantime more games are in our minds.
In the background our friends of “La locanda dei giullari”, a live roleplay group. Very gorgeous girls inside!

On the table, to assist our creative efforts, another weird soft drink that resemble a more famous one: the Ben Cola!

Archery is another passion for Andrea. He diverted attention from games to assist people using his long bow.

The main comics area was inside a deconsacrated church now a cultural centre. You could find vendors, authors and some presentation.

A weird view. An altar transformed in a comic vendor stand. And some iconic images from cinema and comics are superimposed on saints on the walls.

The church is huge. Frescos remains on columns and cellars.

Accidentally blasphemy! The central figure is watching a comic on the upper shelf on the left. A Totem comic magazine with a sex scene just on the cover.

More accidentally blasphemy! A Crucifixion scene and on the left a soft sex scene on a comic named “the wait”.

There was another vendors space for comics and some games in another pavilion along the road. Wonderful food at bargain prices was sold at the convention and in shops in the town centre.

Cosplay is a vital component of comic conventions of the last 15 years. But I was amazed of the large wings of this chap. Not very handy to have a walk along the narrow streets of this town.

Sparkling colours add a tone to the white stone walls of the town.

Photo sessions around the town for cosplayers. Here they can use an unique location for their costumes.

A cosplay contest was held inside a theatre built in 1856 among medieval buildings. A real gem! Pity, I didn’t take a photo of the inside.

Gundam is always a classic. There is a young man inside. An heavy costume, movement is very demanding with it.

Well, two relaxing days while living a little but international comic convention. And more holidays will follow in the next days…


Holiday at Museums: Roman museum

We have so many Roman relics that we don’t know what do with them. Some years ago, someone thought to take some Roman statues closed in a warehouse and show them inside an old electric station. The zone is populated by abandoned industrial building of the first half of the 20th century. So it is a special view, Roman statues among industrial archaeology.

The power of industry, machines upon men, electricity that moves the world. Now a relic from the past.

The contrast is evident and intriguing. It was a good idea. Even because these statues were closed inside boxes.

A mosaic with an hunt. In these days I studied animals that fought in arenas. I still have to design the rules engine for these situations but I’m working on it.

Minerva is my preferred goddess. I studiedat the university called “Minerva”. On the back of the computer monitor in my room I have my degree with Minerva on it.

A sensual sphinx.

Husband and wife from another time, blocked on stone with a natural pose. Who were these two? Fantasies reach the mind, a story is created by their aspect. He is a rich and proud man with a place in society. She is a beautiful woman, younger than the husband, a little squeamish, the lady of the house. Or what else? They are dust now, but they seem so real…

So hot around, it is summer. And we were a little tired. We had a great holiday inside our city. And there are more things to see. Another time…


Holiday at Museums: Transport museum

San Paolo station was built some years after the WWI and it is crucial to connect the city to its part along the sea. Rome is a city along a river, but it has got a seaside too. Nowadays this station is one of the rail station of Rome, with an underground station and terminus of the sea light railway (that you can see on this photo).

Inside the station there is a little tramway museum. Every day I transit in this station but I haven’t the time to stop and visit it. Until this day about holiday at museums.

Before the opening of the underground line near my house, I used this tram to move towards the city centre. It was true until I was 9 years old but I can remember it as it was only a couple of years ago.

The exposition is without staff due to lack of money. So you cannot visit the internal with some historical photos about the past glories of this public transport service.

A little museum in a yard, with only trams from the ’50-’80. I haven’t got a car because I love public transports. Even who has built this little museum love them. Who don’t care about them are our rulers. They travel on big cars with chauffeur and a lot of bodyguards, all paid by our work.


Holiday at Museums: Army museum pt.2

In the yard outside the museum that you have saw on the previous post, you can find four tanks used by Italian Army.

M47 Patton with Italian colours. In the background a Roman wall. We are along the late Rome walls.

M4 Sherman with Italian colours. Probably it was a tank used against Italy during the WWII, adopted by our new Army after the war. Too heavy and old to return to the USA. Moreover there was the Cold War and tanks have to be ready against Russians…

M13/40 (similar to M14/41 and M15/42) was the main Italian medium tank of the war. Inferior to Allied tanks, it gave however a lot of problems to its adversaries. Following some photos to have a better view of the tank. Some models are now available in a scale comparable to 28mm miniatures. If you want to add details to them, this could be a photo resource.

The other common tank for Italians in the WWII, from the CV33 – CV35 series, aka L3-33 – L3-35. Tank is not the right word. It is knew as “sardine box”. It was a tankette developed by the Carden-Loyd Mk VI. But operatively used as a tank, with only two machine-gun against real tanks.

After we visit a near church founded by the mother of emperor Constantine I. Not really a Roman building nowadays. However you can find inside a wood piece from the original Christ’s cross and a couple of its nails. If you believe in relics…


Holiday at Museums: Army museum pt.1

When you live in a place, you never go to visit your local museums. They are too much easy to reach. So you think that you can visit them when you want, tomorrow maybe. And years pass away. Living in Rome I have a lot of things to see, and I saw a lot of things. But something is always left for another time. So, I took a day holiday to visit three obscure museum in my city. I think that they can be interesting even for you. This day is divided in 4 posts. This is the first.

In Rome there are some military museums but they are difficult to reach due to locations, timetables and lack of informations. This time I went to the Army museum, that collect even pieces from other minor Army museums. I think it is the best Army museum in Rome, maybe in Italy. To introduce this museum I’m showing the internal shrine. To remember that people fight and die in war.

And now a total different visual code, the war as comic book heroism. The paratroopers are Italian ones, the part of Folgore that fought with the Allies after the 8th of September 1943.

In the hands of the paratroopers there were MABs. Here a rack with its family. Under a glass, pity!

Here some Beretta pistols, always under glass. The light conditions were terrible, so I can give you only photos with ugly colours. These pistols were the standard ones for the Italians in the WWII.

More weapons. An Italian flame thrower.

The English antitank PIAT. These weapons were freely available around and without surveillance, but I hadn’t the courage to embrace them. Indeed, these are a little heavy too.

A Solothurn rifle used at the start of WWII as antitank weapon. Look at the radiator elements to obtain an approximation of the real dimensions. It is more than 50kg heavy and the projectile is enormous. Remember, is a rifle.

An extension for a rifle used inside a trench.

The example of a trench. Without mud. It reminds to me the trench of the Imperial War Museum in London. That one is more educative and modern respect to this one. However our museum has dignity, but it is based on outdated conceptions. I wish something more organised and presented. Materials are really great, but they are poorly showed. There is love for the matter, but love is not enough. And the lack of money is evident, from broken showcases to inadequate rooms. It is the doom of the Italian Army to have great excellences treated without the rightful respect.

I showed only weapons but there are a lot of other materials as uniforms and relics. The saddest things are the flags. These in the photo are part of the Askari group collection, the indigenous troops that fought for Italian Empire. Men that are now forgot by Italy and their native countries. Moreover, you can find buried Italian flags to spare their capture by the enemy, Italian flags cut in small pieces to preserve them carried on prisoners, Italian flags ripped to shreds by years and aligned as tombs in a war cemetery. It was the saddest image, the end of glory…

For us, players of little soldiers, something very thrilling. A diorama on Waterloo. Lights are scarce, this is only a portion of the scene, but you can appreciate it indeed. And on the next post: tanks.



This time only an holiday report, there aren’t miniatures here. But only a three days trip in Turin, a city in the north of Italy.

I begin with this cupola, the symbol of the city. When I went here some 15 years ago, it was only an empty building, after it was converted in a cinema museum. Under there is a photo of the elevator inside the cupola while it is going towards the roof terrace. It is realised all in clear glass, so you can have vertigo symptoms. And you pay 4 euro for this too.

Canyons made of bricks, in a raining night, with lights from the streets. After the trip to the roof.

My friend tied up with a 19th century 3D peep show experience in the cinema museum.

The Po river full of water. It is the biggest river in Italy. At the deep end of the photo you can see the Mole Antonelliana cupola.

Turin under the rain. The castle inside the city and the cupola again. It is like the Eiffel tower in Paris, in every photo you have to have the symbol of Turin.

The monumental door from Julia Augusta Taurinorum, a piece of the Roman ancient times.

Black stones from Egypt in the famous Egyptian museum of Turin. Pity, it is in refurbishment so I could have only a partial vision of the collections.

We had a fantastic experience in Pietro Micca museum because of a guided visit, thanks to a retired official. We lived the moments of the 1776 French siege of Turin, looking to weapons and models of the fortifications. After we walked for 300meters under the citadel walls inside underground galleries that are 31km long!

The main event in the city was the biggest fair in Italy about books. It is held inside an old car factory. Cars were the motor of Turin development, and decline, in the 20th century.

I prefer the smaller fair in Rome about small editors because you can find some unknown gems. However even dimensions are important, so this fair is a must see. I bought only two books (60 euro…), one on a Gothic manuscript and another one on sacral and ritual aspects of Bisanzio’s hippodrome.

Me together with a green cow-man… Well, it is a bull, like the totemic animal of Turin, city which name means “city of bulls” indeed.

The new underground made for the winter Olympic games of 2006. It is pretty small inside the wagons, like a tram. But stations are big.

The new train station of Porta Susa. It is still in the making. We arrived and left here.


Dadi.Com 2013: the report

At last! I’m so busy these days that I couldn’t write about this great convention. Here we go.

San Marino is a small republic inside Italy. It dominates a fortified mountain so with natural and artificial defences they obtained a form of independence along centuries. Moreover it is only a mountain, a not so important land to conquer. It was ever used as free port, so its existence was a safeguard to balance of power and economical interests in the area.

Today San Marino is a tourist trap inside real medieval walls and houses. Very beautiful indeed. You can find tourists shops, stamps and money minted only for collectors, an amazing view, some fake museums (wax museum, curiosity museum, torture museum, vampires museum,…), weapons sold almost freely, castles, money recycling in local banks, Russian female shopping assistants. However it is worth a visit.

Under the main city there is a luxury hotel where our games convention was held. Huge spaces and great treatment. I never stayed in a place so beautiful. It is too much for our wargamers habits!!! Because we were out of season, we pay for this hotel an extreme bargain price. A paradise…

The convention was held in a two storey hall. In the photo you can see less than a half storey, so think about the rest! There is a cinema inside too. At the first floor we had the boardgame convention, at the second floor the wargame section. Dadi.Com is a convention funded by Lorenzo Sartori in Crema, his city at the north of Italy, but since 2011 it is held inside another convention in San Marino, because of higher money necessity to run it in the original place. More images on Dadi & Piombo website. And these are the pages on the convention Dadi.Com, while these ones are for the San Marino Game Convention.

The location was great but the public was scarce. San Marino is out of main routes, moreover the economical crisis cut trips of wargaming people. We had the place, we had Italian vendors, we had 2 UK and 1 German vendors, we had great wargame tables. But we had only some local visitors and too few grognards too. So we had fun but there weren’t the numbers to foster this convention. This was my first time in San Marino, I like it very much, but other people said me about the loss in participation.

I’m in a hurry so I can’t describe everything that I saw in this trip in San Marino inside this two day convention. I can only briefly speak about what I loved of it.

Manorhouse is an Italian maker of buildings. Here a rather passable scene made by their products…

The big game was this Peach Orchard wargame. I’m not into ACW but the spectacle was great.

Instead here we are in Castelfidardo 1860, an Italian affair…

What I like most was this game by Bizio, an house rules version of Starfight by Beer & Pretzel Games. I found this game very easy to understand and with interesting play mechanisms. No sheet necessity, all is done with dices! Brilliant rules, a smooth mastering by Bizio, a lot of fun. A space (naval) game with the right ideas to play it speedily. A must have! Look at the miniatures: they were made by a friend of Bizio with every kind of materials.

My battle against Diego. I lead a Klingon vessel against a Federation ship. My vessel was weaker than that feeble human scum warship but my heroic aptitude win the day!

Follow the next week…


Roman armours in museum

Post number 300! A morning in one of the museums of Rome. This one is a little underrated because we have so many archaeological remains that waste them. I visited it when I was a child. It is the Museo delle Mura (wall museum), built inside a city door of the late Roman walls. This is now called Porta San Sebastiano, and it is the door where start the Via Appia from Rome.

The opportunity to visit it was a temporary exhibition about Roman armours and helms. The materials are supplied by Archeos, an almost local reenactment and research group. So we haven’t real archaeological pieces but reproductions. It is good to see these things in a natural size shape to understand better what you can see only on books or monuments. My only remark is on some realisation are not so exact, as late Roman helm or other things for gladiators. But these are particulars. Enjoy the spectacle indeed.

Classical imperial helms and lorica segmentata.

Late Romans are a historical period not so represented in actual iconography. Trajan times are used as standard for all the Roman history. But what we generally know about Trajan is his column, while we have evidences about something different even for his epoch.

An armour for commanders. Vitreous materials could be used instead of gems for the helm. A way to save…

The kind of standard dress for foot soldiers. But this one is for a high rank soldier. Watch the crest and the richness of the vest.

On the left a secutor armour. I love this close helm. Near an arbelas, the weapon of the scissor.
On the right a middle Roman armour with a chest protector composed of rhomboidal plates.

The classical duel: on the left a myrmillo, on the right a thraex! In the middle, myself.

Some short graeves, a parmula, a sice supina and a falx.

A highly decorated myrmillo helm. Someone claim that this kind of helms were used only during the pompa magna, the presentation of gladiators to public before the fight. But if they are build to be used for a fight, then they were used for fights. None build a strong helm only for a parade. It is so simple. This is the helm of a champion.