ITALIJA – ITALY – ITALIA

Fontana di Trevi

Fontana di Trevi

Krivi toranj u Pizi-The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Krivi toranj u Pizi-The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Nacionalni park Cinque Terre-Cinque Terre at Ligurian coast

Nacionalni park Cinque Terre-Cinque Terre at Ligurian coast

Pogled na Koloseum i Forum Romanum-A view of Colosseum and Forum Romanum

Pogled na Koloseum i Forum Romanum-A view of Colosseum and Forum Romanum

Plaza u Riminiju-A beach in Rimini

Plaza u Riminiju-A beach in Rimini

Pjaca del Kampo u Sijeni, Toskana-Piazza del Campo in Siena, Tuscany

Pjaca del Kampo u Sijeni, Toskana-Piazza del Campo in Siena, Tuscany

Pogled na Veneciju-A view of Venice

Pogled na Veneciju-A view of Venice

Spomenik Viktoru Emanuelu II u Rimu-Altare della Patria in Rome

Spomenik Viktoru Emanuelu II u Rimu-Altare della Patria in Rome

Tvrdjava Sant Andjelo u Rimu-Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome

Tvrdjava Sant Andjelo u Rimu-Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome

Ne bih mogao da nabrojim šta sve volim u Italiji ili šta je sve povezano sa ovom, tako posebnom zemljom evropskog juga. Spisak mojih poseta toj zemlji morao bi da počne od srednjoškolskih dana, kada je kupovina farmerki, za se koje tada odlazilo u Trst, bila statusni simbol moje generacije. Oni odvažniji išli su vozom čak do Udina. Italija je na taj način imala važnu ulogu u našem odrastanju i sazrevanju, dok je tek kasnije njena kultura postajala predmet interesovanja.

Inter-rail, mesečna karta za evropske železnice, bila je u to vreme najprihvatljivija mogućnost za obilazak svih krajeva Starog kontinenta, ali nam ni autostop nije bio nepoznat. Sve je tada bilo mirnije i, čini se, mnogo sigurnije. Osećali ste da sa ograničenom količinom novca možete puno videti i doživeti, ako samo malo okrenete prednosti: od italijanske mode, ka drugim vrednostima te zemlje. Vreća za spavanje takođe je bila nezaobilazni deo tadašnjeg prtljaga; u njoj sam proveo brojne noći po vozovima, staničnim peronima i lukama. Na dokovima kanala u Veneciji, ispred glavne železničke stanice, budio nas je dežurni policajac koji nogom, u cik zore, gura naša ukočena tela preko iznošenih vreća za spavanje, što se ne može nazvati najprijatnijim događajem. Zadovoljstvo koje sledi na Trgu svetog Marka ili u crkvi Santa Maria della Salute ipak čini da i to buđenje ostane u prijatnom sećanju. Za vožnju gondolom tada nije bilo para, ali zato četvrt veka kasnije, udobno smešten, posmatram gondolijera u prugastoj majici sa crvenom ešarpom i setno se prisećam minulih dana.

U malom iznajmljenom renou dve Australijanke provele su nas dvojicu studenata od juga do severa Italije. Rastali smo se u Firenci, jednom od najlepših gradova, na poznatom mostu Ponte Vecchio na reci Arno, pitajući se kako je mogućno da je tako veliki broj znamenitih Italijana rođen upravo u tom gradu. Sami smo nastavili obilazak Toskane. U Bolonji smo za samo nekoliko sati izbegli snažnu eksploziju bombe koja je bila podmetnuta na železničkoj stanici. Bilo je to vreme Crvenih brigada.

Na najstarijem univerzitetu na svetu, u Bolonji, studirao je u XVI veku i, potom, predavao anatomiju i medicinu čovek koji se smatra ocem plastične hirurgije, Gaspare Tagliacozzi.

Rim, večni grad i glavni grad Italije, bio je centar Rimskog carstva, koje je oblikovalo svet. Napulj je centar italijanskog juga, čiji se stanovnici po mentatlitetu toliko razlikuju od onih sa severa zemlje, tako da se stiče utisak da se nalazite u nekoj drugoj državi, ako ne i kontinentu. Pored ostalog, i ta raznolikost čini Italiju posebnom, mada ne i uvek tako prijatnom. Mala nesmotrenost ostavljanja jedrilice bez nadzora u jednoj skrivenoj luci na Siciliji, bio je povod da se ona za trenutak isprazni. Trebalo je tada noću preći Jadransko more, ovoga puta čak i bez navigacionih uređaja. Uostalom, ni rimske galije ih nisu imale, a osvajale su svet.

Moja Italija je tako osvajala mene: decenijama, postepeno i uporno. Od severa do juga. Od studentskih dana na dokovima Venecije, do jednog od najstarijih i najlepših hotela u Milanu Principe di Savoia. On je jedan od simbola tog grada u kome sam, pre izvesnog vremena, razmišljao o svom daljem životu.

Iako sam prošao čitav svet, mislim da me život nikada nije odneo daleko od te zemlje.

Jun 2004.
___________________________________________________________

I cannot possibly count all the things I love about Italy, or everything that connects me to this special country in the South of Europe. The chronological list of my visits to this country would start at the time of my secondary school years, when buying a pair of jeans in Trieste was a generational  status symbol. Those more daring would go as far as Udine by train. Italy had an important role in our upbringing and maturing in this way, whereas its culture became an object of our interest only later.

A monthly Inter-rail ticket for the European train network was the most acceptable way of touring all corners of the Old Continent, but hitch-hiking was not unknown to us either. Everything was more peaceful then, and seemingly, safer. You felt that with a limited amount of money you could see and experience a lot, if you shifted your priorities only a little: from the Italian fashion to the other valuable things in this country. A sleeping bag was an essential part of our luggage; I spent many a night in it on trains, station platforms and ports. In front of the Central station in Venice, on piers above the canals, at the crack of dawn a policeman on duty would kick our stiffened bodies wrapped up in worn sleeping bags … not the most pleasant way to be woken up! However, the joy that you felt afterwards on the square of St Marco or in the church of Santa Maria della Salute, turned even that unpleasant stirring into a nice memory. At the time, I did not have the money for a gondola ride, but a quarter of a century later, I am comfortably seated in a gondola and watch the gondolier in a stripy t-shirt and red scarf, reminiscing with a feeling of nostalgia about those past times in Italy.

Two Australian women took us –the two students in a small rented Renault car, from the South to the North of Italy. We parted our ways in Firenze, one of the most beautiful cities, on the famous bridge Ponte Vecchio, on the river Arno, while wondering how it is possible that so many famous Italians were born here. We continued on to Tuscany on our own. In Bologna, we missed a powerful bomb explosion at the central station only by a few hours. It was the era of the Red Brigades.

Gaspare Tagliacozzi who is considered to be the father of plastic surgery, studied and then lectured  medicine and anatomy at the oldest university in the world – Bologna University, in the 16th century.

Rome, the eternal city, and capital of Italy, was the centre of the Roman Empire which has pretty much shaped our world. Naples is the centre of Southern Italy whose national mentality is so different from their Northern counterparts, that you almost believe you are in a different country, or even a different continent. Amongst other things this diversity makes Italy so unique, even though not always in a pleasant way. Leaving a sailing boat with no supervision in a small hidden port in Sicily immediately resulted in it being cleared of all our possessions. That night we were supposed to cross the Adriatic Sea, this time even without the navigation equipment! But come to think of it, the Roman galleons did not have them and yet they conquered the world.

That is how Italy conquered me, gradually and persistently over the decades. From the North to the South. From my student days on the piers of Venice to the one of the oldest and most beautiful hotels in Milan, Principe di Savoia. This is one of the symbols of Milan, a city where, a while ago I spent some time thinking about the next stage in my life.

Even though I have traveled the world, life never took me too far away from Italy.

June 2004

Leave a Reply