Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Friday, September 13, 2013

Quotes Of The Day: Saving Italy

From Saving Italy. (Robert Edsel).

Letter to Commanders.

"Today we are fighting in a country which has contributed a great deal to our cultural inheritance, a country rich in monuments which by their creation helped and now in their old age illustrate the growth of the civilization which is ours. We are bound to respect those monuments so far as war allows..."  Dwight D. Eisenhower. p 67.

"We've been hitting targets around Florence for a long time, but we haven't actually hit in the city itself because approximately ten percent of the world's art treasures are located right here in Florence..."  Briefing commander. p 105.

A remarkable paragraph I came across years ago in a travel book contested that "60% of Europe's cultural masterpieces and 40% of the world's reside within Italy's borders."

It's an astounding figure indeed. I was never able to retrieve that quote but the above passage from the commander (indeed the book itself) is the closest I've come to finding it (to say nothing of glancing over Unesco's World Heritage Sites which Italy tops).

So if Florence held 10% is it out of the realm of possibility that other cultural centers like Rome, Naples and Venice and major cities like Milan can't come close or match Florence? Then come all the smaller but no less significant towns like Padua, Lucca, Urbino, Siena, Pompei, Verona, Bologna, Ravenna, Lecce, Como, Pisa and Assisi. To say nothing of the ancient villages and islands like Sicily, Murano and Torcello.

Together, these place make Italy a titan of cultural treasures unmatched in the world. The scope is indeed breathtaking and it's no wonder a band of American and British servicemen sought to protect what was left and undamaged by the war.

 I don't know if masterpieces destroyed over the years (the Nazis leveled the University of Naples, for example, a couple of times, while Monte Cassino was destroyed during the Allied invasion) factor into the figures. If not, then the depth of Italy's cultural heritage becomes all the more difficult to measure.

No comments:

Post a Comment