We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Ancient and modern

Here, via the Flickr blog, is this charming photo (click on that to see it as big as you want), which combines an ancient agricultural procedure with some much more modern civil engineering, somewhere near Treviso, in north east Italy:


Ideal circumstances, all here will surely agree, for a James Bond car chase. Goldeneye, which was shown on ITV2 last night and is on ITV2 again tonight, has a car chase early on, on just such a road. No sheep are involved, but there are cyclists. Bond didn’t drive into them, like this, but he did drive past them and they all fell over.

Sadly, I think that the above road is probably too narrow for cars, and is actually a bespoke sheep track. I guess that sheep, in Italy, are objects of political worship, much as cyclists are here.

24 comments to Ancient and modern

  • Petronius

    I presume the different tunnels are for different forms of traffic, with the upper one reserved for High-Occupancy Sheep, and the lower for Commercial Sheep.

  • RAB

    I like the Libertarian sheep grazing on the verge, as if to say…

    We’ll be along in our own good goddam time thank you so much! and stuff your sheepdog where the sun dont shine!

    Well to my eyes, the road looks easily negotiable to cars. It also looks like a one way system, very popular in Italy.

    Surely that cant just be for sheep? Way to expensive. We in Wales let the canny little buggers roam where they may and still cant make them pay. Ask any Welsh hill farmer.

  • Aren’t the sheep the ones who should be expecting to be paid, RAB? Ask any Welsh (or any other, for that matter) hill farmer;-P

    Oh, and one-way road was my thought too.

  • RAB

    Aren’t the sheep the ones who should be expecting to be paid, RAB?

    Well Welsh ones certainly would expect to be Alisa, but they are much smarter than the Merinos in the picture.

    If there were any Welsh sheep in that flock, they would have been standing by the tunnel mouths and demanding £5.50 entrance fee (the price it costs to enter Wales over the Severn Bridges).

    We love our sheep in Wales, and this interbreeding has led to many of our wooly friends becoming shopkeepers, policemen, football and rugby coaches, politicians, even Entreprenneurs Baa none! (see the Celtic Manor).

    I just dont know what has come over you lately Alisa, but you are getting very lewd ! 😉

  • Phil B

    I thought it was a Spencer Tunnick effort at first glance …

  • guy herbert

    It’s a military road built by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, so an entirely different sort of sheep and subsidy.

    It is open to traffic. Eeg.

  • Taffy's Mate

    The one at the front on the right looks pretty cute. Give me a star filled sky on a moonlit night, my wellies and a decent cliff and we’d be rocking and rolling.


  • You may have a point there, RAB – consequently, I will resist the urge to ask Taffy’s Mate what exactly does he need his wellies for in that particular circumstance…

  • JadedLibertarian

    It has not been my experience that cyclists are an object of political worship in this country. Rather they are a component of a trendy green agenda, by guardianistas who never cycle in various town halls up and down the country. It is part of our government culture to pay lip service to cycling, out of some misplaced desire to be continental. However, what is created is nothing like what the cyclists in the Netherlands enjoy.

    Most of the infrastructure in this country is downright dangerous, or so stupid as to be verging on the amusing (if it weren’t so sad).

    For some of the more egregious check out this link:


    Not that I am a fan of massive statist governments, but I envy the Netherlands. They too are a high tax, authoritarian society – but then their public services, roads and cycling infrastructure are second to none. We are also a high tax authoritarian society, but get nothing to show for it save a proliferation of highly paid groupthinkers at town hall.

  • Phil: these sheep certainly beat Tunnick’s models in the sense-of-decorum, or just plain-common-sense department. But then so does almost anything that moves…

  • ian

    As far as I can tell from this (Link)these tunnels are all the same one way road, controlled by traffic lights.

  • JohnK

    It’s good to see that the billions we send the EU every year are being well spent. How did we ever manage without it?

  • pete

    Cars, not bikes, are worshipped in the UK.

    Look how the faithful polish and pamper them, and adorn them with leather, walnut and chrome. See how tenderly they clean them on a Sunday morning so they’ll look smart in the coming week’s traffic jams.

    Even our government funded broadcaster joins in, spending millions to give the nation’s boy racers their fix of dreary, advert covered, processional car racing and public schoolboy jolly japes in expensive cars.

  • Philip Scott Thomas

    German Wikipedia has an article on the pass. I don’t read German, so I let Google translate it for me. It seems the pass has a height restriction of 3.20 feet. I suppose the sheep would meet that, more or less. Perhaps Italian shepherds are all midgets.

  • Laird

    “Es besteht eine Geschwindigkeitsbeschränkung auf 30 km/h und eine Höhenbegrenzung auf 3,20 Meter, nachdem immer wieder Busse in den Tunnels steckengeblieben waren.”

    Um, Philip, that’s 3.20 meters. That’s about 10.5 feet. Should work even for tall midgets.

  • RAB

    Is this where they shot those scenes for the Italian Job, by the way, or was that the Amalfi coast?

    ‘Ang on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea.
    See them sheep coming up behind us, Camp Henry you open the door and entice them on board then we can…

    Alas Alisa, I know only too well what the wellies refer to.

  • Ignorance has never seemed so blissful, RAB. And yes, I know I started it.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Wouldn’t a drovers’ road have an, um, browner surface?

  • Philip Scott Thomas

    Um, Philip, that’s 3.20 meters.

    Yes, Laird, I know that. And you know that. Google Translate, however, apparently doesn’t know that. That’s why it was funny. For a given value of funny, anyway.

  • What modern Olympic games are there that we have currently that the Ancient Olympic games had? If you could give me links to facts of the game(s) (ancient and modern,) that’d help.

  • Paul Marks

    Italy is a remarkable country.

    Rome – a city with working buildings from every century (including the 21st – but all the way back to the Roman Empire) but which fits together in both looks and function (in spite of all its problems) there are even working farms in the heart of the city (because some landowners choose not to sell their farms for development – family tradition is strong).

    Most of Italy is like this – at least north of Rome. For all its problems it works (and not just economically) – it is the represenative of civilization that looked like it was going to be destroyed many times (the fall of the Roman Empire was only one such occassion) but never actually totally fell – it always picked itself up again.

    However, the great dark clowd is the lack of children – the Italians are not replacing themsleves, and the cities are starting to get occupied not by a ruling class of Goths (or whatever) but by a whole new population that has nothing but hatred for the traditions of the civilization they have come to (the same is true in Germany and so many other nations).

    However, even this may solve itself.

    When the Welfare States go bankrupt (not long now) people will understand that children are their only true means of support in old age. So the time of returning to big Catholic families may come.

  • Jackthesmilingsheep

    …but you shag one sheep.

  • You really hit the old nail on the head with this article. I don’t usually spend a lot of time online reading blogs or article unless the are about football or cycling. So this was a unexpected bonus to come across this post.

  • Samual

    Yeah i agree with you all. and in my opinion i would like to say that its a really different kind of post, very less we are getting such a kind of post, thanks for posting…
    Heavy duty trucks