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Historical Notes on Italy

A Travel Memoir

Rome was an empire, a republic, and a democracy.

What do people mean when they say you care too much about the past? That criticism laid in the back of my mind. I should think about the present, but the present slips away. I don’t think time was what monks had in mind when they suggested one stay in the present. Time is a human construct.

“The Romans loved blood. Even today, the romans are bad. Do you see the way they drive?” Our tour guide exclaimed, as we circled the area outside the colosseum. She wasn’t going in with us, and we arrived early, with tickets, so the line was shorter. The line for people without tickets was much longer.

She felt like we didn’t want to hear how one of the victims died, Bartholomew. I wondered if the Bartholomew massacre in France was named after him. Maybe not. But he was a Christian who was impaled.

Julius Caesar though, was stabbed last by his adopted son, Brutus. He was hungry to build an empire. Later in life, his mind was less cognizant. Yet in succession, Octavian was pivotal in the history of Rome.

Romulus didn’t share power with Remus. Tiber River seemed named after Tiberius, who was quite sexual and malevolent, and violently sexual.

Pope Gregory XVIII changed the calendar from Julian to Gregorian.

The collegium was preserved by occupation under the papacy, which is now the Vatican City stage since agreement under the Latrine Treaty with Mussolini.

Venice

The streets are narrow like hallways. We watched demonstrations of leather and glass production. They also have silver and paper.

We took a gondola ride at sunset. Then my sister and I had dinner with friends from Australia. When coming across a store, I thought the spelling was of the god of knowledge, Hermès.

There was the opera house that set on fire but was rebuilt between 2001 and 2015. We ran into a competition between saviors and pigeons, which our tour guide dodged immediately before continuing. Also were people riding carts driven by horses.

Florence

Galileo sketched plenty of blueprints for modern inventions, like the bike and thermometer.

Medici family ruled the city of fertile land known for Florentine steak, and made it an independent city.

This was also where Michelangelo’s "David" statue was, near the Duomo, and the only bridge that the Nazis didn’t burn in Italy.

There was also a statue of Dante, who wrote about seven levels of Hell, which was known to be cold before we now see it as hot. Also the place of the philosopher and historian, Machiavelli, whose work on advice to princes may or may not be satirical.


Pompeii


Note to self: look into narrative of Pliny the Elder. 



Trapped in time, the inability to react to escape, a split second a heartbeat elapses into an eternal abyss. 
When nature takes a picture of you, does it steal our sense of things, our stability, our confidence and arrogance?

Someone made a comment once on discussing the film, the seventh seal, wondering if death is the ultimate equalizer of knowledge. Could it be that death says knowledge is the root of our volatility. While it is, no doubt, good, we don't have ideologies without gaining knowledge.

Can knowledge be subjective?
 When we capture life in an unnatural way, we call it evil (via bombs), but when it’s in a natural way, what we are left with is not words.
 Expressions of panic, filtered with ash, filled again with plaster after the skin degraded. If taken out of context, we’d give the postures different meanings, different implications, possibly. When you leave the context, try to understand things that don't make sense, previous accusations or assumptions. 
Travel can make you, hopefully, more empathetic and reflective.




The Alps by Lake Sermione inspired foreigners like Virginia Wolf, Ernest Hemingway, and Napoleon.


P.S. The guy behind the making of Italy, Garibaldi, was a Freemason.

Pictures giving context

Trevi Fountain

Pompeii

Largest nativity scene in the world 

Lake Sermione

Duomo (Florence)

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