Monday, May 30, 2011

Giornale Pugliese I: Rome

Among the greatest sites of Rome are the hordes of tourists ascending and descending the steps of the Colosseum and the Baths of Caracalla. The invasion conjures images of cockroaches, termites and particularly ants, which produce their own sophisticated colonies in the shadows of human civilization. There are sections of Rome adjacent to the major tourist destinations where Italian has become the second language and native speakers are required to hire interpreters if they wish to be understood. The tourists visiting Rome, particularly in the summer months, also resemble fungi, which suffocate and kill certain kinds of trees. It is said that tourism is the life blood of Rome, one of its few major industries in an age when the greats of Italian cinema—Fellini, Antonioni, De Sica and Pasolini—are long dead, and Cinecitta, the home of the great Italian studios, no longer produces classics for the world (La Cicciolinia notwithstanding). Rome has become like Brecht’s fictional city of Mahagonny, where “die achtung fur geld” is the overriding principle. Beauty once constituted the profound and incalculable wealth of Rome, but the city that once fell to the Visigoths is now being overrun by packs of digital-camera wielding hyenas, their mouths dripping with the entrails of their victim.

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