Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Rome Journal: The Ruling Class

Where is the ruling class? Where are the Agnellis and their Lamborghinis? Many travelers come to Italy looking for a lost sense of glamour that probably never existed and which they gleaned from Fellini films of the 60s which they'd seen as impressionable teenagers. Where are the decadent Italian aristocrats out of central casting at Cine Citta? Perhaps you’ll find the insouciant aristocrat, the model for the role Gabriele Ferzetti played in L’Avventura, coming from a tryst at a fashionable Roman hotel or better yet one of the Aeolian Islands off Sicily where Lea Masari disappeared in that movie. During one UN General Assembly Berlusconi skipped off to Messegue di Melezzole Toscolano, a health spa in the Umbrian town of Terni. Marcello Mastroianni famously haunted the Via Veneto in La Dolce Vita. Movies La Grande Belezza still paint a picture of an extravagant lifestyle.The gesturing and devil-may-care quality evinced by Italians who at least don’t seem to give a hoot about anything which gets in the way of their pleasures gives the delusory impression of a tsunami of leisure time aspiration--belied by the reality of daily routine.The disenchantment of modern life with its intrinsic discountenancing of magic has affected Italy like everywhere else. "Hypocrite lecteur mon semblable mon frere"—that’s who you're likely to see coming at you on the Via del Corso, the street filled with fashionable shops and boutiques.

read The Great Beauty by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to the theme from La Dolce Vita by Nino Rota

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