Italian Dogs, Cats (and a Horse)

1 egyptian cat
Today is a short break from our sightseeing to take a look at the cats and dogs (and one horse) in Italy.

To my pleasure, Italians love their dogs.

I’ve been in places where I’ve cried at the treatment of the animals, but Italy was awash with happy dogs. And cats, don’t forget the cats. Some living, some carved or woven or even cut out of colored stone.

My mother could never travel without taking pictures of every toddler she saw. I tend to be the same towards dogs, although I was a cat person until I married. Still love them – I guess I’m bi where pets are concerned, although we have two dogs, no cats right now. I draw the line at snakes or gerbils or even birds.

The first cat was in the Vatican museum. She’s from Egypt and a haughty little thing.

1 pompeii dog The dog I encountered in the Pompeii ruins was a cutie, but hungry. I told him I had a cracker in my purse, but oops. I don’t remember eating it! Poor thing couldn’t believe it, staring his dismay down the street.
1 howling dogs One of my favorite Roman sculptures was of howling dogs. Or maybe they are about to be fed. I knew the Romans could sculpt realistic faces, but the dogs really tickled me.

Then there was the cat following a bird on a piazza filled with restaurants. The bird pecking at crumbs for dinner; the cat hoping for the bird. I watched it slink and crouch, getting ever closer, but finally the bird was scared away by Italians enjoying a passagiata (walk).
1 bird prey
I saw a dog standing on a stump in the Borghese park, evidently surveying his territory and one wet from a swim in the sea. Surprisingly, there were several dogs in churches, one little guy curled up on the cool marble, sound asleep. I also saw a big dog tucked onto a moto, but was so surprised, I missed the shot. And it wasn’t all dogs and cats, at least in Rome.

1 romulusIf you consider the wolf as a dog, Rome’s history contains one of the most famous dogs of all (after Lassie of course). Without that she-wolf, Romulus and Remus would have perished and there’d have been no Rome…

In a parking lot, a cat was enjoying a snooze on a lavender car. When I returned, it had moved to a blue car and was awake.
1 cat sleeping1 car catIn the same town, Casperia, a dog with baleful eyes captured my heart.
1 chained dogPrecedent exists for the modern Italians and their dogs. A favorite subject during the Renaissance they were set in precious stone (chasing a bear) on the face of a cabinet, carved on the edge of a church, or worrying a bone in the corner of a tapestry.

I want to close with my favorite animal shot of the trip. I couldn’t see what captured the attention of the cat. Maybe after the rain, she just wanted to be let into her apartment, but she’s a beauty. Maybe we should get a cat!
Next week we travel on to Florence.

1 rain cat


  1. Julie Hayhurst says:

    Gotta love the animals… thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Cat Lazaroff says:

    Beautiful cat photo at the end, Terri! I was surprised at how social our cat, Brutus, was being towards the end of our meeting last Saturday. Hopefully we can coax him down to say hello again when you’re back in town!

    He’s currently curled up staying warm on our bed, ignoring the 6 inches of snow that fell here yesterday. 🙂


  3. I love that last photo. Beautiful! It makes me feel like I’m there too in a way that the usual vacation photos just don’t. I also really like those howling dogs. Would look great by my fireplace 🙂

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