Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Rome Journal: The Good Life?

In Boccaccio’s Decameron (1350), a group of Fiorentines take refuge outside Florence during the plague, passing the time by telling each other stories, literally “tales out of school”—many of a bawdy nature. Having survived the worst of the pandemic, Romans have now recaptured some of their famously carefree spirit and insouciance, but looking for a respite from fear a visitor may be disappointed to find anomalies of a sometimes disconcerting kind. While vaccination cards are no longer required in New York, they're still de regueur at both tourist sites and restaurants in Rome. Italy was hit very hard by the pandemic. The collective trauma, together with the shadow of war and a looming refugee crisis, has challenged La Dolce Vita (1960). Invulnerability and imperturbability may have characterized Fellini's commedia dell’arte. However, the Fontanone (the great fountain which sits majestically half way up the Gianicolo, overlooking Rome) still looks a bit forlorn in comparison to its heyday in The Great Beauty (2013) Mamma Roma (1962), Anna Magnani's over-the-top embodiment of Rome as an aging whore, is  uncharacteristically careful and held back. Just when you think you’ve stepped into a time warp, a lone ranger shows up, with her mouth rather than eyes hidden by a mask.

read "The Findings" by Francis Levy, Evergreen Review

and watch the animation of Erotomania

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