I dreamt of appearing in the Middle Ages’ Venice, to attend in the annual masquerade, then to turn back time, listening ancient philosophers’ forums, even without understanding anything, just wished to attend, communicate with the majesties of intellectuals of that times, feeling the breath of ancient civilization. Then I would like to move on the time, strolling along the narrow streets of Renaissance Florence. Then, again would like to move on the time, appearing in the Southern Italy, wishing to take interview from the famous mafia men, put on their vests, wearing hats and walking along the streets of Napoli or Palermo with the posture of self-confidence, to order pizza, being involved in this multicultural environment.
Italy taught me (surely, most of you) to take risk, passing alone some concrete road. It was my second trip alone but it’s quite another feeling, when you are not a participant of some project but just simple tourist, where YOU, and only YOU take responsibility for yourself.
My notes may not seem to be extraordinary for the well-informed man of 21th century as this multicultural country is achievable everywhere: beginning from the internet to the airport of “Fiumicino”. Though, each point of view perceives, feels it peculiarly, transforming the feeling of impression into pen. I try to write in the form of the first pronoun though most of you has/have had this feeling also, just without making some notes, as may be, you had considered this theme to be very circulated and standard. So, be patient.
So, my trip was begun from the town Tbilisi. Crossing the border between Armenia and Georgia, one may understand: “At last, there comes a time to become serious, careful and mature”. I was my teacher, friend and parent. Self-confidence! Traveling alone doesn’t give you another choice and exit than a chance to gain this essential feature, it was the best gift from travel days.
You change your language as soon as arriving to the airport and while changing the language, you become the part of a new culture, mentality, day by day, you find out that a lot of stereotypes are being broken. I have never been so much careful, watchful and awake. And though, having a headache, that was a result of inner pressure, I was confidently moving toward uncertainty, passing the checkpoint and showing my documents and suitcase to the strict and cold faces.
Tutte le strade portano a Roma!
Italy, as I have already mentioned, is multicultural country. Surely, you wouldn’t find second Italy at any corner of the world, where different periods, cultures, genres are gathered in one place. The first city, greeting me, was Pompei, one of the essential heritages of Roman Empire, attracted with it’s ancient and narrow streets. You walked along that streets, where millenniums ago a volcano, called Vesuvius, destroyed the whole city. The mountain raised in front of my eyes. It was so harmonious, that I couldn’t even imagine how this calm creature could be exploded one day and eliminate everyone, living in this ancient city. No one lived in the city but the walls, ruined pieces of Roman Empire reminded me about the existence of Pompeian people, even the portraits, protocols on the walls silently approved about the unique type of culture of the city. I was sitting on the stairs of ancient Roman theatre, trying to be fully engaged in the lost civilization. Nothing is eternal. Who would guess there were times in Roman culture that Great Emperors were sitting on the same stairs, watching Roman theatre and having rest after serial conquests and negotiations. And now it’s just an Italy and I was just a simple tourist and the stage kept silence. Naples was the second Italian city that greeted us.
I didn’t manage to meet with Mafiosi but tried pizza in it’s motherland. I really advice you to try it also. The taste is not compared with pizzas, made in the other corners of the world. Naples is a city of typical Italian atmosphere. People, living here are simple, hospitable and ardent.
If you want to appear in medieval times, visit also Siena, a small fortified city in the region Toscana. This is the only Italian city that medieval traditions are realized in every day life. For example, walking along the streets, I noticed engravings in the form of animals on the doors. I was informed that since medieval centuries, habitants of Siena have named the streets after animals: street of Turtle, street of Horse, Bird, etc. As soon as we arrived to the city, someone met us in the costume of medieval knight. The day, that we arrived, was a Feast of Palio dell’Assunta, which is celebrated in the beginning of August. It’s a horse race competition, held in Siena. The winner arranges hospitality and banquet, inviting all habitants of the city and foreigners. I was honored to be the part of the feast. Talking about Siena, one should mention about Florence as well. Surely, I was admired of the city. But the limited time didn’t allow me to feel the breath of Dante Alighieri, Raphael, Da Vinchi.
I was admired of the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, built in 1434 by the architecture Philippe Brunelleschi. I met also with the sculpture of David, by Michelangelo but our meeting lasted very short because of not being able to be fully engaged in the atmosphere as the whole city is noisy and crowded. Pay attention also on typical thematic shops (Shop of Renaissance, shop of Pinocchio).
If an Italian architecture Bonanno Pisano wouldn’t make mistake in the construction of Pisa tower, may be not so much tourists would be attracted by the city. The cheapest souvenirs are found here.
At the evening, the reflection of sunset was spread on the city of shrew women’s trail. Very literary description, really? Let me explain. The actions of the tale “The taming of the shrew”, by Shakespeare were realized in the Italian small city, near to Verona, Padua. It was marvelous scene to follow how the last glimpses of the sun were slithering across the river of the city and passing through the statues, spread along the whole city. Walking along the streets of Padua, I felt calm. I didn’t hurry. Not so much tourists were seen. It seemed to me that Padua was the only calm, not crowded place in Italy. The city was full of interesting facts. How I couldn’t know that Galileo Galilei was a lecturer of the University of Padua or the most interesting place for traveler is the Cathedral of Saint Antonius, which seems to be first of all a museum, covered with golden walls. The elegance was transformed into silence, which gave mysterious peace to the church. Anyway, it is forbidden to take photographs in Italian cathedrals, churches and one should put on suitable clothes to be allowed to enter for praying.
The second stop would be Venice. I was so tired of gotten impression that my eyes were closed as soon as I reached to the hotel.
“The city on water” met me at the channel. That was my first public transformation on water. Venice has attracted millions of tourists. There were more tourists than habitants in this unique type of city. Saying Venice, one associates it with 1. Gondolas, 2. San Marco Palace 3. Old architecture, constructed on water. It played a key role in the relations between Byzantium and Western world in the field of trade, printing. Today, Byzantine culture is felt in the San Marcus Palace. Enjoying the beauty of San Marcus, I suddenly found out the temple of San Marcus, constructed in the 9th century. As a representative of ancient architecture, walls were decorated with mosaic drawings in Byzantine style. As one of the mosaic portraits witnessed, in 829 two Venetian traders brought the relics of Saint Marcus here. I was impressed by the mosaic drawing “The blessing of 7th day”. The temple was not a place for crowded tourists. It seemed to me that this is a hidden place to escape from the chaotic noise from the world. It is impossible to describe the inner peace and harmony that I felt in this byzantine saint place.
The second discovery was Venetian mask maker. This type of art, according to Venetians, is going to be rare and rare. Everyone knew the address of Franco Sycamore. His family, grandparents have made venetian masks for the aristocrats of the city for centuries. Now the turn is for the young master.
As a representative of artistic world, he was very taciturn and didn’t feel necessity to present and praise himself, he modestly preferred to show me his hand work. I silently followed how the fingers of the master worked fluently, how the fire transfers into glass, and glass into Mask. These original glass Masks start from 100 euros. Each type of Mask has its symbol. For example, a Mask with long and sharp noise is made for the doctors.
So, Venice is the most romantic and unique city and there is no conception “Modern Venice”. We, as representative of 21th century, are engaged in this unchangeable culture and time. Time is fixed here. You temporally become a carrier of concrete time and culture in the everlasting Venice.
The next stop was the Republic of San Marino, the state of knights. The architectural construction of San Marino was similar to Siena with its medieval narrow streets. When we arrived, no one met us. No shops, no restaurants working. It turns out that Italians celebrated Ferragosto, Italian holiday celebrated for 3 days, beginning from 15th August. The origin of the holiday comes from the Roman Empire, introduced by emperor Augustus and the holiday is dedicated to him (Feriae Augusti). During these three days Italians and Sanmarinese had a rest. No one worked. So, it was hard to find restaurants, shops, cafes open. I have attended in some feasts with national costumes, folk songs and dances.
Rome and Vatican city-state impressed me much as the most of my holidays I spent in Rome. Rome is very multicultural environment. It contains the history of the Earth: from the roots of Western civilization, to Modern construction. Paganism, Christianity, modern culture are gathered in this city. Romanians were very hospitable. They showed, explained me everything in minute details so that I felt confident.I was admired of people. When you walk along the streets and 70 years old woman may smile and tell you, a simple stranger: “Buongio’rno!” with typical Italian accent.
Well, I guess, you may get tired of reading this long note. So, the continuation will be in the next topic, which would be about intercultural shock that I lived during my holidays.
Grazie for your patience 🙂
#Italy #traveldiary #Arividerci #Roma