The World’s Most Unique Nation

Tourists often travel to see things: scenery, art, architecture, the cities themselves. Many people sign themselves up for a tour, and in a few days pay whirlwind visits. They see Rome’s Coliseum and the Vatican, Florence’s Ponte Vecchio and Michelangelo’s David, and then they are bused to a rendezvous with a Venetian gondola, where for twenty-five minutes they glide through canals and under the Rialto bridge before they are shuttled back to an airport. They may go home with beautiful photos of some of the things they’ve seen, and the inevitable selfies in front of buildings whose purpose and history eludes them.
Too many people measure their experience in the number of vaguely-familiar famous places they went. The Leaning Tower of Pisa? Check. Trevi Fountain? Check.
Don’t be them.
The essence of Italy is measured in none of those, but rather in people. The people you may pass on any street, or see dining in the restaurants, are the flesh and blood of hundreds of generations of Italy. The descendants of Emperors and slaves, it was their lineage that served to create the world we live in today.
The language spoken by Roman citizens two thousand years ago is today the language of our law and medicine. We use it to organize our genus and species, our planets and stars. Romans invented concrete, arches, and domes. They created the world’s first planned cities, highways, and aqueduct systems, and the basis for much of our most beautiful architecture. They gave us the foot, the yard, the mile, and the names of our days and months.
Italy gave us the Renaissance, and produced Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Dante. Italians created some of the world’s most famous works of art, from Mona Lisa to David. Italians gave us the language of music, and created some of the world’s most loved concertos and operas, as well as the piano, viol, violin, and cello that made them possible.
The names of her beautiful cities and features are applied to our communities and resorts. The leading edges of global design in fashion, food, and automobiles are filled with Italian names.
How did one relatively small nation produce so much of what we rely upon today in our culture? How is it that it continues to produce such works?
In order to truly visit Italia, you must first appreciate what she offers us. You must learn to ask yourself the right questions, and seek the answers. Then you will go home with a true appreciation of what you have seen.

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