September 06, 2012

The Land of Reawakening - II

You can read the first part here

Memory 4 – I was always a voracious reader and nothing would make me happier as a child than a good book; good food always came a close second. And while I was strongly a follower of the Brit Bard, having anglophile antecedents in school, a certain poet from Italy whose surname resembled Tamilian Surnames was always a favourite.

So when I stood in front of Dante’s House I realized how much I owed to the poets of the ages past, bards who sang of heaven and hell, life and death, hope and despair,

Memory 5 – 2 novels about Italy always fascinated me. Quo Vadis and The Last Days of Pompeii. So when I finally had the chance to visit Pomepii I never looked back. The city of ruins it is called but to me it looked more like an abandoned city - A city where people had just left their houses and would be back in a few moments. Pomepii stood, proud, defiant, dead.

Memory 6 – Pizzas were a staple diet in IIMB as we stayed up late to complete assignments and we thanked the Italians not just for teaching world football to defend but also for the pizzas. And thus it was a dream come true to stand on the road in Naples where Pizza Margharita was created in honour of their beloved queen in the three colours of the Italian Flag. So next time you don’t find the 3 colours on your pizza, do send it back as inauthentic.

Italy was much more than just these memories. It took me to an age where I always felt I belonged. In Milan, known for its High end Fashion, situated in one of the smallest churches imaginable sits Christ with his disciple having The Last Supper. You walk into the room with trepidation, wondering what lies awaiting you and then when you stand in front of Him, the rest of the world do not seem to matter anymore. This was an age where Light was shining across Europe. Knowledge was being unshackled from ages of darkness and from the play of light and darkness an artist emerged, who knew how to play with light – Caravaggio.

If ever you have a chance to visit Rome, forget everything else, forget the Colloseum, forget the fountains, forget even the pizzas, but ensure you visit Villa Bourghese. If there was one family who contributed as much to the Renaissance as much as they did to the intrigues of Italian and Papal Royalty, it must have been the Bourghese.

We were lucky to have the most fantastic guide to take us through the world’s greatest private art collection. The Baroque style of Bernini’s architecture comes alive in its rooms while the self portrait of Caravaggio and the play between beauty and decay in his pictures looks down upon you from its walls. You imagine what it would have been like to live beside the masterpieces looking down upon you. Baroque or the “in motion” style of art needs to be seen with one's own eyes. As we moved around the Bernini sculpture we could see how the world changes based on the perspective we were taking.

But your journey to understand Caravaggio does not stop with the riches of the Villa. You can walk out into the streets of Rome and with a little research you will know where to find David, where to look for a Bernini, where to find the 6 Caravaggio strewn across the city.

Take the walk in Rome and your Roman Holiday will be more than what you could have imagined.

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