Mark is a guy from Michigan who lives in Switzerland. He's a photographer, occasional writer and trained research engineer. His free time is sometimes monopolized by mountain touring or travels. On occasion he attends and presents at BarCamps and blogging events.

Experiments in 3D Scanning with the Structure Sensor

I first got into 3D scanning with the Microsoft Kinect V1, but when I saw the Structure Sensor on Kickstarter, it seemed like the ideal tool to hack around with mobile 3D scanning. I’ve paired my Structure with an iPad-mini 2, and taken around the streets of Zurich, to the Detroit Institute of Arts, and experimented with full-body scanning, capturing things behind shop windows and statues in the museum.

I absolutely love the Structure sensor, it’s still the most mobile 3D scanner you can buy, and the open-source code nature means it’s possible to develop with it for custom applications. The example applications from Structure include a room scanner, which isn’t the most accurate way to create a scan but is a wonderful new way to record adventures in life. I got the Structure sensor along with a license for Skanect, which I can use with the Structure or my Kinect. The iPad will then send the scan data directly back to my laptop via wifi, which is so much easier than using a tethered Kinect. I now commonly pack along a Kinect or the Structure when doing photo shoots, and am wondering how hard it would be to replicate the RGB-D Toolkit function directly within the Structure and iPad, for a mobile 3D video camera, the mind is boggling at the possibilities.

Toy Warz: Monster High and Team Fortress 2

Every time I spend time in Michigan I pull out a bunch of toys from the basement and mix up them up with current toys. Over the last trip I focused on Monster High, mainly because the Scarah Screams action figure has a lot of elements reminiscent of the Matrix, and of course Monster High dolls have articulating arms and wrists, making them much easier to hold weapons than Barbie dolls. In addition, I found these awesome figures from what seems to be an excellent video game called Team Fortress 2. I was mainly interested in the weapons and picked up a flamethrower and mini-gun figure for their armaments.

Given their size, the mini Star Wars Hoth battle play set seemed like a nice landscape element to work with. In Photoshop I started to experiment with layering options found in open museum collections, which I found through the OpenGLAM website. Additionally, I found some archives of World War I images, which were rather low resolution but still worked well for compositing. The Toy Warz series now includes these key elements of children’s toys, war and art all in one project. The inclusion of realistic weapons from Monkey Depot to further blur the line between toys and realistic war images of aggression.

More of the Toy Warz series can be found on Flickr:

The B TeamPatrolCosmic Flame of ResistancePoems for the SavedWater Attack

Stencil Experiment: Samuel Beckett

DSC08474.jpgBuilding on my exploration of stencil art, I played around with a portrait of Samuel Beckett. I searched a bit on Google for images and found a number of reasonable ones that could be converted to stencils. Beckett has an excellent face, with defined lines, rim glasses, and wicked hair, making his portraits ideal for creating strong stencils.

I used my knowledge from the Alternative Berlin street art workshop with stuff I bought from the ACERECORDS online shop (they’re based in Basel). In particular, they have a heavy wax paper which is easy to cut with sharp edges. This Wax-O paper is soooo much better to work with than normal heavy weight paper that I tried in the past. It is also reusable and I’m going to use it for all my stencil work from now on.

I took my chosen portrait of Beckett (not sure who the original photographer was) and decomposed it in Photoshop by selecting colors and using that to mask and separate the image into positive and negative regions. Then I printed out the image on A4 paper and used that to cut out the stencil from the Wax-O paper. I decided to go with white and grey for the stencil.


Stencil Experiment: Dr. Boltzmann

Since I learned about stencil street art on my last trip to Berlin I’ve been tossing some project ideas around in my mind. One was sparked by the idea of exhibiting an art piece at the Berlin Tech Open Air, where I could have set up an installation in a fine abandoned building. The big concept for the installation revolved around integrating a stencil project with the duality between scientific controversy and the type of revolution themes that street art is built around. There would be an augmented reality app to integration with the installation, but the center piece would be using street art techniques to highlight figures and revolutionary or controversial ideas and figures from science history. One on my favorites is Ludwig Boltzmann. So I searched for some images of Dr. Boltzmann, went through some tutorials on stencil creation using Photoshop, and did a quick test. The project is growing and more of it is coming each week.

Swiss Trail Running – Alpstein

TrailRunningAlpstein-07378My head was exhausted and I needed an escape. My UX flows for lostinreality were past due and I was still working on organizing the overview for the Zurich Health Hackathon. I didn’t know where to start so I decided to skip out on everything and go trail running in the Alpstein in Switzerland. The Alpstein encompasses the massif around Mt. Santis, the high-point of the region, and according to tradition, the refuge of a mad weather man who had murdered his wife. The Santis region is dear to my heart, as it was the first Swiss region I started hiking in and could call my own, in so much as I could go there without a map and feel confident of knowing where I was headed.

I decided to start from Wildhaus, with the objective of summiting the Altmann, and then heading down to Schwendi. This is the perfect place for trail running in the mountains, which is essential for finishing races like the Sardona Ultra or marathon, which I dropped out of in 2013. The startup world has made my muscles weak, and I’ve made a commitment to myself this year of getting back into the mountain adventures which make living in Switzerland so different from anywhere else.

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 18.09.27Route

The route was pretty basic, start from Wildhaus, head up to the Zwingli Pass, then over towards the Rotstein Pass and head up Altmann. It was a beautiful day and I didn’t start running from Wildhaus until 3pm, which is rather late in the day, risking that I wouldn’t be able to make the last train in Schwende. As I eventually got lost and ended up in Brülisau, the deadline eventually became irrelevant.

I had just participated in an interview for a shot film on mobility in Switzerland, and I felt a certain desire to document this run. Being mobile for me is about choice, and retaining a sense of control and exercising choice in how you experience the world. Running over the Alpstein (or rather hiking quickly) gives you a true sense of how rugged the region is. Grass meadows and valleys define the foothills of Santis, the glaciers are mainly gone, but so early in the summer you still traverse bits of snow, and in between you might find cracked earth, more reminiscent in appears to a dry lakebed.


The word “daunting” fills your mind as you look up towards the Zwingli Pass, and you wonder if you’ll be moving slowly up it all day until the sunset. If you look back each pause, you’ll notice that the valley is gradually falling below you, and the mountain horizon begins to reveal itself. It is that horizon of hope and a view of an expansive world and future, that let my mind swim free of User Journeys and mobile app requirements, putting the larger picture into perspective. Once you rise above the details, it’s easier to focus again and systematically attack the problems at hand. When you’re out on a trail though, there’s nothing to do but head up, mind the weather, and make sure you don’t risk your life too much.



Cresting the ridge at the Chreialp the mountain panorama opened up to my eyes. The grass was starting to give way to the remnants of glacier formations showing up here and there at the higher elevations. The beautiful thing about the Alpstien though is that you’re still basically running over a gradual rounded field, the formations of neighbouring peaks are of to either side and clouds are just shadows adding layers over the green brush strokes and jutting rock slabs. Eventually I made my way to the Zwingli Pass Hutte, I had stayed there many years ago, it has a fantastic position overlooking the Churfirsten on the opposite side of the valley where I had started from. It was now late in the day, my assent had been slower than desired, and there was no chance to summit the Altmann as my water was getting low and it was after 6pm already. I instead headed down towards the lake of the Fahlenalp.

Descending the north-facing slopes is often fun trail running in this region of Switzerland because even in the early Summer you find long passages of snow. You just have to take large leaps and sort of shoe-ski down the slopes, which is faster than on rock and make me wish I had taken time to ski tour last season. Along the way I passed a family of Steinbocks, the mountain goats of the region and marmots sent high pierced warning signals through the air as I passed by, altering all the marmots in the vicinity to my presence. Eventually I was down at the Fahlenalp, where I could have taken a mattress to sleep for the evening, but there was plenty of light and I pushed on.


The Fahlenalp has a large alpine lake, parts of it recede depending on the water levels, and it forms a flat plane, now covered with blankets of yellow alpine flowers pushing up through the grass bed. The grass has that hopeful green like the intense hue that sustain Gatsby all thought years yearning for just another whips of Daisy. It is a golden corridor, and behind you stand the mountain gates, the fortress you just descended from, with militant towers on either side.

I had planned to catch the last train from Schwende at 21:10, but when I noticed that the signs only pointed towards Brülisau, I figured I should just head there instead. The sun was slowly falling into the distant horizon now, and eventually I stopped around Ruhsitz to watch the darkness embrace us. The fireball in the sky, so strong and relenting during the day was now a calm and gentle being. I stared longingly into her as she raised her warmth up towards my cheek, and touched my lips in a fading kiss before expiring.


I ended up in Brülisau well after the last bus had left, and took a pizza in the Hotel Kroner before heading off to bed. On there terrace there was a dinner party of Swiss, elder Swiss from the region enjoying a fine dinner in the Alpstein. They were singing together in the local Schweiz-Deutsch language of the region, their voices carried across the valley, I had heard them on the descent into the village, I had followed the songs to the Hotel Kroner. There tempo was not unlike the title song from the the movie, the Grand Budapest Hotel, and every so often the cadence was accented with a powerful Yuuppp from one of the women. I wish I had had my audio recorder, and I wonder how long those songs will persist in the local culture. Then I had a short chat with local who had come in to order a Cafe Lutz, he told me he had been to Chicago once to show off Swiss cows from the region. I used my hand to illustrate Michigan (where I’m from) and the position of Chicago in Illinois. The next morning I ran to Weissbad and jumped on the train back towards Zurich just as I arrived.

The Language of Man II – Tangible Virtual Reality Art

I attended the opening of Language of Man II at the knoerle & baettig gallery in Winterthur and it sort of blew my mind. The opening featured Jay Shinn and Pard Morrison, their works focused on 3D imagery, realized in more traditional art mediums of painting and sculpture, rather than pure projection video art or a combination of the Oculus Rift or Kinect cameras (topics had been freely flowing through my mind lately).

LanguageOfMan_II-08406Jay Shinn

Jay’s works look simple, but I got a bit entranced with them and pulled into the perfection between virtual objects and…reality. Jay’s painting-projections are really more installations than paintings, he paints geometric forms on the walls, then projection is overlaid via a spot light from across the room. The projections add the perception of 3D depth to the 2D painting, so when you look at it, it feels like a 3D sculpture, or virtual object in a virtual reality (VR) world. It feels that way, but you’re still standing in grounded reality in the gallery. I loved these works on multiple levels.

With the killer graphics of console games, mobile devices, and the rise of VR goggles like the Occulus Rift, we’re moving (as a society) towards a world where the physical artefacts of our existence will be continually blurred. The mind does not differentiate from reality and fantasy on a biochemical level, it’s only when we pinch ourselves, and believe in the tactile response of our fingers connecting to our skin and the associated quick whisp of pain that we are assured of being awake and not asleep or immersed in a viral place. It makes me think of how people can get pulled into, and interact with elements in the virtual worlds more comfortably than the real one.

Too see how Jay creates his installations, check out the video below:

LanguageOfMan_II-08414Pard Morrison

The works from Pard mainly included sculptures (I’ll call them than), three-dimensional, the pieces are fired pigment on Aluminum, and remind me of the Space Invaders street art (and imitations) I saw while visiting the street art show at the Musée de La Poste back in Dec. 2012 (and from touring the city). The work from Pard seems to fit together perfectly with the projection paintings from Jay.

I like the space invader tiles (and the copies) since street art is generally sort of non-linear like graffiti or stencils, and then the space invader tiles are see on the walls all nicely ordered and perfect. Plus, they are little 3D sculptures, coming out of the city instead of feeling like ideas overlaid on walls. Lovecloud in particular was a tad mesmerising to look at. You have the feeling of chaotic forces of nature nicely ordered in 3D blocks. If you move in you see the brush strokes alongside the hard geometric lines that separate each colour square.


As an artist-scientist with a  background in photography and a passion for street art, I’m often jumping between different mediums. One day it’s the meaning behind data sets, another it’s skin pores on high-resolution portraits, the day after it might be a film project, or painting on large canvases. From the tech side I’ve been experimenting with virtual and augmented reality projects, the RGBD Toolkit, Kinect cameras, use cases for the Oculus Rift, or interactive sculptures with an embeded Arduino or maybe a robot with a Rasperry Pi.

At Language of Man II…I loved, simply loved forgetting all of that and focusing on the realism of Pard’s 3D perfect geometry clouds and Jay’s real-world 3D projections. The Language of Man II was a fabulous and unexpected immersion experience for me, pulling me out of my focus on 3D animation and projection art (sparked by visiting the SMK open-data hackathon), and opened up this perspective of the real virtual world. Whatever the true impact will be for my future is still unknown. But, that’s the wonderful thing about stepping into a modern art gallery in Winterthur like knoerle & baettig without expectations or preconceptions of what you’ll find there.

My First Street Art Experiment

BerlinStreetArtGraffiti and street art have been a small fascination of mine since I started touring cities in Europe. I generally prefer to seek out graffiti on the streets rather than jumping between restaurants and museums. In parallel, I began experimenting between portrait photography and painting (Gonzo Art), where I tried to combine the layering methods I use in Photoshop with the speedy and interactive way street art is created. On my last trip to Berlin I joined an Alternative Berlin Street Art Workshop to learn a bit more about creation techniques with my first stencil.

The day started with a little street tour near Alexander Platz, Ben (our excellent tour guide) walked us through a history of street art, the difference to that and graffiti, and the culture of groups like the 1up graffiti crew. Eventually we ended up on the far east side of Berlin, where one can still get affordable space in which to host a street art workshop, far away from the MUJI design store or Dunkin’ Donuts. The workshop was exactly what I needed, a basic intro to spraying and stencils, enough to make me dangerous. The process was straight-forward, much like many things are in life, once you understand the thinking behind it.


First, you need to cut out the stencil. We chose from a variety of images, from Pulp Fiction to Scarface and Woody Allen, and I settled on…a sexy nurse. The nurse was ideal, as she was near the top of the stack of possible choices and had nice basic lines, which were straight forward to cut out with the Exacto knife. If you choose an image with intricate lines (for example) you’ll spend hours trying to get the thing cut out. And as I found out, it’s much better to have larger features which using a paper stencil, because it will mask the spray paint much, much better than a stencil with very fine features.

Berlin 2014 Stencil Evolution-Paint

With my stencil cut out I moved on to the painting area. Our awesome workshop leader Ben showed us all the basics, and then we were free to experiment. We were supplied with a pre-cut canvas, about A4 in size to spray on. I like this medium a lot, similar to what I use when painting larger canvases using latex paints. I chose a bluish sort of colour pallet, and high-lighted the nurse’s cross in red. In the back of my mind there was some consistency with the geometric mask shapes I include in my Gonzo Art stuff. I documented the process in between each step, so you can see the evolution from basic canvas to finished piece. The stencil process is quite natural if you’re familiar with layers in Photoshop and basic masking techniques. If you don’t understand Photoshop, then I can recommend starting with a street art workshop to understand masking, and then the process with feel natural when you start using a Wacom tablet to mask and blend digital layers together.

My desire for the future is to use the stencil technique to transform some of my portrait photography into a type of street art print. This would entail starting with the digital image, then using Photoshop to separate different shadow, light, and colour regions, which would then be printed and cut out of a thicker plastic material for the stencil. Then I would use a large canvas, about one meter wide (or tall) and either the spray paint or the quick drying latex I like to work with to create the final art piece. This would give some rarity to the medium, something I was philosophising on with my Ignite Zurich talk, thinking how art exists in our digital internet age where everything is a copy of a copy of a copy.


SMK Danish Art + Toy Warz BYOB Remix



While attending the Open Data Days hackathon at the Copenhagen Business School, I joined the BYOB remixing event in collaboration with the National Gallery of Denmark, as well as working on an energy app for the Gatesense. The point was to use some of the artwork from SMK, and remix it into a new and strange, or perhaps comfortably abstract form. My Toy Warz project popped into my head at this point. The Toy Warz project is all about taking toys like Bratz or Barbie dolls, and mixing them up with weapons and imagery from war toys. I shoot the Toy Warz scenes in Michigan and then composite in layers in Photoshop for the final image. On past trips to the Detroit Institute of Arts, I had become accustomed to shooting images of landscapes to mix in with the Bratz dolls. So, it was actually a perfect that the SMK libraries would be used in the remix event.


SMK Remix

However, what I didn’t have was a lot of time to work on the project. At the Open Data Day I attended a workshop by Marieke Verbiesen (, a sort of uber-amazing animation and projection artist who was staying around Copenhagen for a little while. After running quickly through the SMK collection, I settled on The “Summer Spire” on the Chalk Cliffs of the Island Møn. Moonlight by Sødring, F and Zealand Landscape. Open Country in North Zealand by Johan Thomas Lundbye. They are both calm, beautiful landscapes, which mix quite well with the Blue Team action figure and crazy female creature beast (picked up in Ann Arbor, Michigan). With these two it was nice to give an increased juxtaposition between war, beauty, spring, and a cold-looking sea scene.

SMK Toy Warz 1-

I had high aspirations of animating the whole scene in Adobe After Effects, but I was splitting my time with the art remixing and outlining the user flow for an Energy App which would give an energy profile of your life, lead in to gamification and see your energy impact on the world, blah, blah, etc.


Transmedia Zurich: World Building Basics and Prototyping

WorldBuildingFor the Transmedia Zurich Meetup in December I gave a presentation on World Building. A truly fascinating topic, that brings together all the elements of origin, evolution, science, and story in one go.

You see, stories usually take place…somewhere. The location of a character drives their actions, and can define how they evolve in the story. The world gives the boundaries which a character exists within and grows within. At the meetup we discussed the basics of building worlds, what if means for character development, and how to prototype them with Unity3D.

  • Why Transmedia: Push/Pull Consumption Trends
  • Character development and basic plot lines
  • Influence of Alex McDowell
  • Character Journey and origins
  • Building worlds with Unity3D


TransmediaZH_5th Meetup.012-001World Prototyping

The concept of world building brings together elements of origin, and how a world can logically exist based on the parameters or boundaries you give it. This is all important for defining a coherent story, because your characters need to exist within this world, it is where the characters are challenged, the space which the evolve within, and conflict arises.

TransmediaZH_5th Meetup.010-001Characters and Story

Worlds and characters are two symbiotic elements. Like the brain and the body, one can not exist without the other. Many stories and movies are either character or world driven. That means that conflict and character evolution occurs because of a situation they are place in (defined by the world) or their personality is the main focus, and it doesn’t greatly matter if the movie takes place in New York or on Mars.

TransmediaZH_5th Meetup.016-001Character Journey

I like taking inspiration from user experience (UX) development methodologies for transmedia projects. In UX you often create a diagram called a user or customer journey map. This maps out the interactions between a user and a product like a mobile app. If we extend this tool to world building, we have the Character Journey. This diagram maps out the interaction between the character and world, based on the physical layout or laws of the world you have designed. This logistical process helps figure out how the world or it’s origin influences the characters and therefore the conflicts which arise in your story.

TransmediaZH_5th Meetup.019-001World Prototyping

From the UX world people are all about app prototyping and visualisation for testing out ideas. So I figured there are good ways to do this for world building, and there are. I like playing around with Unity 3D as a world building and pro typing platform. Unity 3D lets you paint landscapes easily like working with Photoshop. Via the asset store you can add houses, trees, tanks, etc. In this way you can easily build up the concept for a city or whole world, and if you’re more advanced I guess you could add custom physics laws and map out the interaction of physical characters with the environment. I however, am happy paining a valley with a lake and adding some tanks with cow camouflage. I like to image how cool it would be to work on a story like a Tolkien adventure, and use Unity 3D to map out the Shire or the journey to the Misty mountains.

TransmediaZH_5th Meetup.018-001

If you’d like to know more about transmedia and world building, check out the Transmedia Zurich meetup group, check out the last presentations on the TransmediaZH webpage, or signup for the Transmedia Toolkit, which is still in development.

The Pirate Room: 5 Key Elements

Pirate Ideation Room

The Pirate Room is a place of reflection, of ideation, of brainstorming, of prototyping, of building. I built up a pirate room in my house because I found it essential to have a place to work. Not an office with a desk and computer, but with…purpose. A place for ideas to flow, to have space to move around, and to be able to record and work with ideas. A place to prototype, to draw and create in. Here are a few key attribute, elements if you will to include in your own ideation space.

Pirate Room Ideation1: A Pirate Flag

Well, actually a pirate flag is not essential, but a symbol of purpose is. The pirate flag represents the sense, the motivation of doing things differently, against the grain, a tad outside the bounds of society or the standard way of approaching any one product or idea space. It’s imagining an interactive screen instead of a computer, or removing the need for a  computer completely when designing a new smart watch. The flag is to remind me to think differently when approaching product ideas, pain points, thoughts of philosophy and everything else in between.

Pirate Room2: Whiteboards

As many as possible. If you walk into a Google office you’ll probably see more whiteboards than you can count. When I was in college I put contact paper over all the walls so I could write on them. Having multiple whiteboards means you can draw out ideas, cross reference with other concepts, build up quick wireframes, and diagrams, and discuss with the people around you. When you have something good take a picture drop into the ideation folder of your projects. The pirate flag is hanging by the boards reminding me to think different.

Pirate Ideation Room3: Art

Yes, art. My pirate room has one orange wall and on that wall is my Gonzo Art. I painted these during 1 Day of Art Copenhagen and makes me think of non-linearity and abstraction. The paintings evolved from my work with Photoshop and a desire to get a way from digital imaging and computers as a method of creation. Art is organic, and grounding and that’s important when your mind is getting lost in the sea of digital and internet products and prototyping out ideas for new markets.

Prototyping Kit4: Prototyping Tools

Ideas are worthless little things taking up space in your brain. It’s only when you start to build things and make them at least somewhat tangible that you can really start to play around and evolve product concepts. Paper prototyping allows you to build out representations of your ideas, hold them, test them, etc. I like to draw, it takes time and in that time you re-evaluate what you’re doing and what the purpose of the product is. I like large pieces of paper for these thing, A3 / A2 size is nice as you can make idea diagrams, put down post-it notes, draw out user interfaces, etc. Then on the iPad or computer I can build up interactive prototypes with apps like AppCooker.

Pirate Ideation Room5: Flying Monkeys

YES!!!! Flying monkeys are essential. Or rather, a sense of humor and an appreciation for the absurd is healthy anytime you’re trying to create something new or cleverly repackaged. I have two types of flying monkeys, one is from McFarlane Toys. They are part of the series Twisted Land of Oz. They are a twisted re-imagination of the characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. They remind me that innocent things are easily re-created as monsters, and the same is true of innovations. The context of an idea determines the purpose and the expression of the idea. The other one is a plush monkey doll with elastic rubber arms that can fly across a room and emit a high-pitched monkey scream while in flight. Why? Cause fun is essential in life and during creation. Never forget to laugh. A serious world is a boring world, and this is a Pirate Room.

The Pierogi Project: Test 1

Pierogi Project-06155It’s always interesting to spend Christmas in Michigan. Generally I take on some sort of self-archeology project, like digging through my old toys and building up the Toy Warz photo series, but this year I’m revisiting the Pierogi Project, a documentation of how my mom makes Pierogi. Pierogi are these fantastic potato based dumplings, with origins in Easter Europe (so far as this project is currently concerned). As food is a way to document and preserve culture, in my older years I find it more and more interesting to bring this heritage into the digital conservatory realm.

04 Preparing Pierogi.Still003Pierogi are my near-favorite food from my family, more or less tied with platzki as the tastiest food from my childhood. Now, there’s no fixed recipe for pierogi, I had asked my mom, but she learned the recipe from her Ukrainian mother-in-law. I learned how to make platzki from my Polish grandmother, but to expand the joy of this simple food, I decided to start a project to document how to make them, both for myself, and to share our cultural heritage with anyone else who is interested.

04 Preparing Pierogi.Still002Back in 2010 or so, I shot still images of my mom preparing pierogi and recorded audio of her describing the process. Since I’m now working on cooking videos with the Laughing Lemon in Switzerland, it seemed natural to shoot a little documentary of my mom preparing the pierogi, which is the critical part of the recipe. Here is the test so far.

For filming I used my Sony NEX6 with Rokinon cine lenses, shooting in the natural lighting of the kitchen. For audio I had a Sennheiser MKE 600 shotgun mic with a Zoom H4n for recording. The Manfrotto fluid base monopod was great for shooting from up high and the Rhino gear 4 foot slider was great for getting linear tracking shots in the kitchen and dinning rooms.

The City Whispers – Rome Graffiti

SONY DSCA gladiator on his way to work with a trolly bag, a Bratz doll posing on a pay phone, and pigtailed silhouette dropping a Swastika into a track can. Those are the images floating through my mind when I think of Rome in the August of 2009.

I was in the city to photograph a wedding, and spent the free mornings soaking in the street imagery, because once the sun rises high in the afternoon sky, the only think to do in Rome in August is relax in your air conditioned room at the Italian military hotel and enjoy a sweet fresh nectarine. All the locals have forsaken the heat of the city and you’ll only see small hordes of Asian tourists with a few pockets of Americans and other random travelers weaving through the streets, wondering why they decided to visit Rome in this unendurable heat. The nights however, are amazing.