The Slasher's Guide to Rome
By Emma Grant
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I love to travel, and I have found that more and more, I tend to view the world through slash-colored glasses when I do. On a recent trip to Rome, I decided that rather than just giggle privately at the slashiness I saw around me, I would write this travel guide in order to share it all with like-minded people.
So hence, The Slasher's Guide to Rome! Though this was written primarily for entertainment purposes, it is also a real travel guide. Everything I describe in here is real and is something I've actually seen myself. Traveling slashers looking for a laugh should absolutely feel free to print this out and use it as a supplement to their guidebooks. (See the references for guidebook recommendations.) I won't bother recommending restaurants or hotels, because your guidebook will do a better job. What I will do is tell you where to find things slashy at many of the city's sights.
Thanks to jedirita for looking over this for me.
A couple of disclaimers:
- This guide is intended to be irreverent, so Christians in general and Catholics in particular may find it offensive. Sincerely, no offense is intended, so please don't bother sending me hate mail about it. This is just for fun!
- I have no particular expertise in history, religion, art, or the Italian language. As such, I will most certainly get little details wrong. The opinions expressed herein are generally my own, though they've certainly been influenced by my guides, guidebooks, and personal experiences.
- The pictures in this guide were blatantly stolen from the internet, because they were better than the ones I took.
The statue in the cover picture is not actually in Rome, but in a museum in Munich, though it was discovered and restored in Rome by Bernini. (See Wiki article.) But I found it when looking for pictures, and it seemed most appropriate! ;-)
Help with updates! This guide is far from complete, as it just represents my own admittedly limited experience traveling in Rome . I want it to be as complete, useful, and accurate as possible, so if you have items to add or be corrected, please let me know (see the end of this guide for contact information). I will credit you for any items that are added to the guide, and I'll try to keep it updated as much as possible.
Museums & Galleries
The Vatican Museum
You might ask, WTF does the Vatican Museum have to offer slashers? Quite a lot, my friend. First of all, consider that religious art was the original fan art. (Think about it.) And on top of that, there are so frickin' many nude male statues about. Many of them, unfortunately, had their dicks knocks off during the 16 th century when the church got mega-conservative about male nudity. They put these sad little fig leaves over the wounded areas, and you basically have to use your imagination. But still, there are a lot of almost completely nude male figures to be seen here. If you have a chest, foot, ass, or even a back fetish, you will find things here to please. In particular, here are a few items of note:
- There are a lot of gorgeous Greek sculptures here. The idealized male forms are particularly stunning, and even Michelangelo was reportedly known to stare at them for hours, even stroking them on occasion. Of note is the famous Laocoön , which features a man and two boys being attacked by tentacles that wind between their legs in most interesting ways. I thought giant squid immediately upon seeing it, I must admit. Also, in the middle of one of the galleries stands a huge headless, legless, armless (but not ball-less) torso, also one of Michelangelo's faves.
- In the Etruscan room, there are lots of fun things, including a bowl with a depiction of a man and woman in bed. He is pissing while she plays a flute. Ancient watersports, if you squint.
- Check out the statue of Artemis whose chest is either covered with a bunch of small tits or testicles, depending on which book or tour guide you consult. Nothing says power like a woman with a lot of balls.
- The sarcophagi of Constantine and his wife (or perhaps his daughter, depending on your guidebook) are made of insanely expensive Egyptian purple marble. His is covered with dozens of erect penises, if you look closely. (My guide called them “phalluses”, which was kind of amusing.)
- Stand between those sarcophagi and look to your right for the statue of Bill Clinton. You can't miss it – he's even holding a “cigar”. Our tour guide told us that one of the guides he knows in town once took Chelsea Clinton and some friends on a tour of the Vatican Museum, and not realizing who she was, pointed out that statue and cracked a bunch of very naughty Clinton jokes. Oops.
The Sistene Chapel
Yes, part of the Vatican Museum , but it gets its own listing because it's just that special. Michelangelo  painted it, first of all. There are lots of gorgeous things to look at, such as the panel where Adam and Eve are being tempted by the serpent. Note that she's kneeling right before his naked crotch, as if the moment she takes a bite of that apple she's going to want to take a bite of something else. Even better, notice that Adam and Eve are both reaching for the fruit – not just Eve. But the main reason the Sistene Chapel gets the slashers' seal of approval is that not only is the ceiling stunning, but the last part completed, Judgment Day , at the front of the Chapel, is practically a monument to eroticism. Originally, every figure in that incredible fresco was nude. It's a stunning work, depicting skeletons putting their skins back on, an incredibly buff and angry Jesus surrounded by the saints floating above it all, and souls either rising to heaven or being cast into hell. As the story goes, one of the church authorities heavily criticized Michelangelo for painting so many nude figures in a chapel, and Michelangelo responded by painting the face of the man on a demon, with the ears of an ass and a snake sucking his dick. Now that's how to deal with a flame. After Michelangelo's death, another painter came along and covered all the man-bits, sadly. But don't miss the barely concealed fisting scene in the bottom right corner. Yes, you read that correctly – fisting .
Michelangelo's critic in The Last Judgment
Doria Pamphilj Gallery
Caravaggio was second only to Michelangelo as a Biblical fan artist. Carravaggio's works were so controversial they were frequently almost banned from the places he created them for. In works featured in this gallery, he drew the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdelene from the same model (a local prostitute) and in the exact same pose. He liked to put his characters in contemporary dress, creating cool Bible AUs that sucked the viewer in with their current feel. And seriously, he invented the idea of Chiaroscuro, from which the infamous RPS RPG took its name. So yeah, slashers should totally give him props. In addition to that, there's serious Bible fan art all over this museum, and even one picture depicting the climactic scene from a popular romantic novel of the time. (You get an audioguide with your admission fee that will tell you about the special paintings in the place.) There are literally dozens of portraits of Mary Magdelene, who seems to be a favorite subject of 16 th and 17 th century artists. Perhaps because it gave them an opportunity to ask a local rentgirl to pose for them. You gotta know they got some head out of it.
Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo
This museum is near Termini and off the beaten tourist path, but worth a visit for the sheer number of ancient treasures it holds. Note that this is a museum where many penises remain intact. Three sculptures are particularly notable for slashers.
- An ancient Roman statue of a reclining Hermaphrodite, complete with a curvy female body and breasts, and a cock and balls. It's fun to watch other tourists do a double take at this one.
- A trio of busts featuring the emperor Hadrian, his wife, and his very young boyfriend, Antinous . Seriously, the bust of the kid looks to be no more than 12. But if Rick Steves is to be believed, this was Hadrian's lover for several years, and second only to his wife as the love of his life. Talk about your ancient chan.
- An intact Roman copy of the Greek classic Discus Thrower with his incredibly muscled torso. And yeah, I mean intact .
You have to make a reservation a day in advance to visit this museum, but it's full of incredible treasures. The reservation system keeps the crowds to a minimum, which is a refreshing change from the Vatican Museum . Some highlights:
- Bernini's Apollo and Daphne is unbelievably beautiful. This is great non-con fan art of an ancient myth, and though there aren't any bits to be seen, Bernini knew a thing or two about sculpting the human body.
- Yet another gorgeous example of Bernini's affinity for non-con can be found in The Rape of Proserpine , which shows a big burly Pluto hauling off a struggling and terrified Proserpine. His fingers dig into her marble flesh most delightfully.
- Canova somehow managed to convince Napolean's sister (Paolina Borghese) to pose nude for his sculpture of Venus reclining. It apparently caused a huge scandal when it was unveiled. Of course, her life was far more scandalous then this single sculpture would indicate: she apparently had a long line of lovers and liked to use her servants as footstools.
- Corregio's painting Danaë shows the god Zeus having sex god-style with the human Danaë via a shower of gold trickling between her thighs. Cupid is standing before her trying to convince her to spread her legs a little wider, and the look on her face indicates she's enjoying it.
- There is another reclining Hermaphrodite sculpture here, female above and male below. The Romans really seemed to have liked that sort of thing.
Gesú: To the left of the altar on the left, there is a gorgeous sculpture featuring a seriously masochistic nun whipping protestants. She looks like she's enjoying herself, too.
Santa Maria Sopra Minerva: This is a gorgeous gothic church, but a highlight is Michelangelo's Christ the Redeemer sculpture by the altar on the left. This was a truly unique depiction of Christ for its time, and completely typical of the artist in its appreciation for the male form. This is seriously a buff Jesus, even, dare I say, hot . Alas, the important bits have been since covered by a fig leaf, but Michelangelo's work is still something to admire.
St. Peter's Basilica: This is the home of Michelangelo's glorious Pietá , which you have to see for the sheer beauty of it. There's a bit of an incestuous quality to it, too, though – an extremely young-looking Mary cradles the body of her dead son in her lap and looks down at him serenely, love shining in her eyes. Jesus' body is carved with exquisite attention to detail, in true Michelangelo style. Unfortunately, the statue is kept behind bulletproof glass after a lunatic attacked it with a hammer in the early 80s. Come to think of it, you might be better off buying a book about it.
Pieta (Photo courtesy of littlesnitch)
Santa Maria Della Vittoria : This church houses one of Bernini's best known works, The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa . The story of Saint Theresa, a 16 th century Spanish nun, is that she was reportedly stabbed with God's love by an angel bearing a spear. She described her experience in very erotic terms, though: “The pain was so severe that it made me utter several moans. The sweetness caused by this intense pain is so extreme that one cannot possibly wish it to cease” . Uh huh. I think we all know what she's really talking about. Anyway, Bernini's sculpture captures her spiritual orgasm in such great detail that it's hard to fathom this sculpture being in a church. It was, in fact, quite controversial when first unveiled for its clear eroticism.
Sant' Agnese in Agone: This church is located in Piazza Navonna and contains, as so many Roman churches do, a relic. The relic here is the skull of Saint Agnes, and you can actually see it. What's interesting about her story for slashers is that she was martyred at the tender age of 13. She refused to renounce her Christianity and marry the son of some wealthy pagan, and so she was sent to a brothel. When being forced to be a prostitute didn't break her spirit, she was stripped naked in public and tortured to death. That sounds remarkably like a fic I read once… The church was built on the site where she was killed, in the stadium of Emperor Domitian, the shape of which is still preserved by the Piazza today.
The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa
Other sites of interest
Caligula's Palace is part of the ruins on Palatine Hill. He was pretty much the fanon Lucius Malfoy of his day: oversexed, kink-loving (including incest), omnisexual, vindictive, power-hungry, and apparently got whatever (and whoever) he wanted.
Piazza Navona : On the southern end is the Fontana del Moro, a fountain featuring a man astride a large fish. I mean, seriously astride that fish. You don't have to squint very hard for the bestiality angle. Tellingly, it's also called the Fontana dell' Acqua Felice – the Fountain of the Happy Water. On the northern end, there's another fountain of Poseidon (Fontana di Nettuno) battling a giant squid-like sea creature, whose tentacles are wrapped around his massive thighs. Poseidon is straddling the squid's head, and its eyes are looking up at his dangly bits with definite interest.
Piazza Repubblica features a more modern erotic fountain, the Fontana della Naiadi. It features scantily clad women suggestively entwined with various tentacled creatures. This city has a thing for tentacle sex, I swear.
Phallic symbols abound in Rome . There are 13 genuine Egyptian obelisks in the city, and according to one of my guidebooks, only three remain in all of Egypt . Combined with the various columns and towers, you get the sense that the city around you has a constant hard-on – not to mention that homeless junkie wanking in the park. Check out the Column of Marcus Aurelius and the massive obelisk in the Piazza del Popolo, and you'll start to understand where the notion that size matters came from.
Sicilia al Tappo: Okay, I said I wasn't going to recommend any restaurants, and I'm not necessarily recommending this one, though it's good. But if you're in Trastevere and walking up Via Garibaldi, you might consider stopping off at this restaurant (at number 68) for an evening drink. Then make sure you take the time to go to the bathroom, down by the bar in the back. The walls there are covered with black and white pictures of teenage boys, every one of whom is completely naked, incredibly well-hung, and semi-erect. Some photos contain one boy posing for the photographer while others contain several boys, and most of the poses are fairly homoerotic. It's the sort of photo collection you wouldn't want sitting on your hard drive, if you know what I mean.
Area Sacra dell'Argentina: Located in the Largo di Torre Argentina , this is the ancient site of several old temples, including one of the spots where Julius Caesar was reportedly assassinated. (Information on where exactly that occurred seems to be conflicting.) What makes it interesting to slashers , though, is that it's the home of a huge colony of feral cats. There is even a cat sanctuary there, which you can visit on request. Aw, kitties!
Fontana di Nettuno
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Please send corrections and additions to email@example.com .
 Michelangelo should be declared the patron saint of slashers, IMNSHO. He was probably insane, a genius, completely obsessive, and an undisputed master of the male form. His sexual orientation has been widely disputed, but it's clear that he had some serious kinks. He also had the balls to tell a Pope where to stuff his monument. I have nothing but respect for the man.
 See Rick Steves's book for a good account. He writes that when Antinous drowned in a river during one of their frequent travels together, Hadrian wept and mourned quite publicly. As a result, statues of Antinous suddenly began to appear all over Rome , perhaps in a gesture of public support.
 From Fodor's Exploring Rome , p. 161, 6 th edition.
 According to this poll, slashers tend to be cat people. ;-)
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Rick Steves' Rome , by Rick Steves and Gene Openshaw. (I reference the 2006 edition.) The style of this book is snarky and irreverent, and it gives you a lot of behind-the-scenes information. And he uses the word “spank” a lot. Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing. www.ricksteves.com
Eyewitness Travel Guides: Rome . (I reference the 2005 edition) Truly encyclopedic and probably the most complete guide out there. The bus maps are out of date, and in some cases, so are the opening hours of sights, but anything worth seeing is listed here. Published by Dorling Kindersley, London .
Fodor's Exploring Rome , 6 th edition. A bit dry, but thorough and full of history. If you're geeky like me, you'll love it. Published by Fodor's Travel Publications. www.fodors.com