Vincent Price on Pisa’s Leaning Tower, artless Monaco, and romance in Nice

I Like What I Know (1959)In 1959, Vincent Price recounted his life-long passion for the art world in I Like What I Know. Here are some passaged from Price’s visual autobiography in which he looks back on leaving Italy for Monaco and Nice in August 1928…

‘We were nearing the end of Tour 22. The train sped through Pisa, where we could see the Leaving Tower lean, and through Genoa, where we could see boats that reminded us that before long, we’d be on one and on our way back home. And pleasantly enough, the tour gave us the seventh country in the form of that minute monarchy, Monaco. It represented the complete escape from the world of art. There’s none there… only the amazing ingenuity of man’s triumph over a hill, rising out of the sea. He had covered it completely with as mad an assortment of houses of pleasure and peace to be found anywhere on earth.’

‘Finally, two days in Nice, and then to Paris, the boat, and home. I spent those two days in Nice not in the pursuit of the beautiful (though she was very pretty), but in the study and exploration of the human body. Since I had dedicated myself to the world of art, I could hardly do better than to study seriously art’s greatest course of inspiration – the female form.’

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France | 16-17 August 1928

monte_carlo_1928DATE August 16th
PLACE Nice
Morning free. Went swimming & had lots of fun. Then to Monte Carlo after lunch & I won 100 francs. More fun. Had a date with Helen Ruth Loll and went dancing again. Monte Carlo was marvelous though it was very much out of season.

avignon_postcard_1928DATE August 17th
PLACE Nice to Avignon
Dull ride from here to there & arrived at Avignon at 3:00. We were rushed into a rubber neck bus & went to the Pope’s palace. Interesting, but tame to Rome. Rotten hotel & rotten dinner. Too tired to move afterwards. Saw the famous bridge of Avignon across the Rhone. Went through Marseillaise [1] going along the coast of the blue Mediterranean.

marseilles_1928

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

EDITOR’S NOTES
[1] Marseille not Marseillaise, which is of course the national anthem of France.

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.

Italy to France | 13-15 August 1928

The Holy Stairs 1928DATE August 13th
PLACE Rome
Free day so I went with a bunch to the Holy stairs in the afternoon (morning just loafing) and we all kneeled up them and kissed the place where Christ’s blood dropped. Then to St. Peter’s to kiss the foot, then to the hotel.

Pisa and Genoa 1928Columbus in GenoaDATE August 14th
PLACE Rome to Genoa via Pisa
Dull ride from Rome to Pisa & Genoa. Saw the Tower [•] & then went to Nice. where we stayed at the Ruhl a very good hotel. Marie & I went to Maxims club to dance & had lots of fund. Another day ended perfectly by steady dancing from 8 to 3.

[• Vincent added this later in his journal] Then to Genoa. August 15th The next morning we went to Columbus’ birth place [2] & a general tour of the city then left after lunch for Nice.

Hotel Ruhl, Nice 1928 PostcardThis 1928 home movie footage from the Oklahoma Historical Society, sections of which have been shown in previous posts, includes scenes of Genoa.

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 13_August

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

EDITOR’S NOTES
Pisa_1928[1] It was only in 1911 (the year of Vincent’s birth) that precise measurements of the Leaning Tower of Pisa’s inclination commenced using a theodolite. In 1928, the year that Vincent and Tour 22 visited the site in Italy, four level stations were being added around the tower’s plinth level to help monitor changes in the inclination of the structure.

COLUMBUS IN GENOA
Columbus birthplace in Genoa[2] Underneath the two towers on the Via Porta in Genoa is the alleged home of Christopher Columbus, although there is much speculation about the validity of this claim. The house was destroyed in 1684 by the French, but was later rebuilt.

 

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.