Friday, January 4, 2019

Rome Journal: Et Tu, Brute? Country

Pantheon at Night (photo: Francis Levy)
Rome is “Et tu, Brute?" territory. Of course the Largo di Torre Argentina is legendarily where it all took place. Lurking in front of the ancient dirty stone structures are conspirators waiting to stab you. Walking the cobblestoned streets of the Piazza della Rotonda towards the Pantheon, on a midwinter night shortly after the holidays, with Christmas lights still strung along all the adjacent streets, one is immediately stung by the play between light and dark. Beauty and festivity coexists with terror and in the shadows of the ancient structure under its famed Oculus treachery lurks. What a perfect location Orson Welles would have found if he had chosen Rome instead of Vienna for The Third Man. Rome exudes a garrulous joy, but sometimes it comes at you like a staggering drunk, seeing things and swinging wildly at imagined adversaries. Rome is also the perfect city for those people whose interpersonal relations are really conversations with themselves. Bravo Bravo, you hear it all the time and from the moment you get off a plane at Fiumicino and get hustled to pay twice the 48 Euros it would normally cost to ride into town in a city cab. Death in Venice?

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