Saturday, October 27, 2007

Italy

ItalyEurope.


italy

Map of Italy


Rome and Rome alone.


For centuries Rome was the source of the cultural, historical and social fabric of the whole Europe. Italy as the epicenter of that great Empire; shares credit for all the dramatic and complicated historical events unrolled all through Europe. The history of Rome (it is the history of Italy as well) starts from the tribes settled on the banks of River Tiber during 2000 BC. When the Etruscan forces which took over the area and established a mini empire which covered adjoining seven hills beside the River Tiber (1300 BC), the ball was set to roll for the birth of an empire. Since then Rome had seen many emperors and conquerors as well as ‘barbarians’, many rivers of blood have flown and many heads rolled. By BC 146 Rome became invincible with the defeat of the Carthaginians in the Punic wars (a major empire at Tunis in the Mediterranean coast of Africa in BC 814; found by Phoenicians).


Julius Caesar, Pompey and Cleopatra.


Caesar’s era is the golden time in the history of the Roman Empire, a major part of the hemisphere came under the rule of the Roman Empire with the annexing of France and Egypt. While Caesar controlled the western forces, the Eastern side was controlled by Pompey; his general. Pompey tried to rule the lands he amazed and conspired with the Senate in ousting Caesar. Caesar was made of sterner stuff he bravely fought with the forces which stood with him (BC 49) and entire Italy came under him within 60 days. Pompey had to go exile and die there. It was on pursuit of Pompey; Caesar reached in Egypt and happened to get associated with Cleopatra.


Pope the Emperor!


italy travelVatican Rome image courtsey: liveinrome.com

When Christianity gained strength and became popular (after Emperor Constantine embracing Christianity), it was Rome it found as its center of power. It was the defeat of Augustus the concept of a ‘Roman Emperor, itself became history; in a sense that can be taken as the beginning of death of an empire. But Christianity could outlive Rome. The physical might of Romans gave way for the Spiritual might of the clergy. The dictates of the Pope were law (it still is for the millions of Christians spread over the world).


Italy’s past like a big budget movie.


italy mapItaly image courtsey: studylanguages.org

All the above are only history comparable to a big budget war movie with enormous sets and numerous characters, now that Italy has become a modern democratic nation and all these historical events associated with the Great Roman Empire have only the relevance of a rich mythology or food for some nostalgia. When India and Greece built their culture with rich imaginations of their forefathers, the Italians have made them with men of flesh and blood, a long series of historical events spanning many centuries; far stranger than any mythology!


Benito Mussolini –although a negative figure- is a factor that turned the course of Italian history. He started his life as a school teacher; later took up pen to gain ultimate power and succeeded when his party (Fascio de Compatemento) marched to Rome to capture power. His extreme nationalistic slogans could capture the ordinary people who were disillusioned with the after effects of the disastrous World War1. He led Italy to the World War 2 and the rest is history; as the adage goes! His end coincides with the end of World War 2, when while trying to escape to Switzerland; Mussolini along with wife Clara Pettachi was shot dead without trial. But the word ‘Fascism’ his pet word still lives!


Stats.


Italy is world’s seventh largest economy and a member of the European Union. It is a modern nation with 100% literate population, located in the Southern Europe, land area is 30, 1230 Sq KM and population is 58, 00, 0000. Population is mostly Roman Catholic (90%), but Protestants, Muslims, Jews contribute sizeable minorities. Italy is a Republic and its head of the state is the Prime Minister. Italy consists of the peninsular portion and two islands Sardinia, Cecily, along with two independent nations like Malta and the Vatican. Its coastline is 8500 KM long and there are major ports like Venice, Jenova, and Taranto etc.


Boundaries.


italy holidaysMap of italy courtsey: geology.com




Italy is protected by two great mountain ranges the Apennines and the Alps. When the Apennine stands tall as the backbone of this nation from its southern tip to the northern end where it joins with the Alps. These mountains give birth to major rivers like Po, Rhone, Adige, Tiber and Arnos etc. If Apennine is its backbone River Po is its life blood. These river beds hosted human population since time immemorial and served as the cradle of the ancient civilization prevailed there. Italy’s neighboring countries are France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia on the northern part from west to east. The southern part is surrounded by five seas like Liguria, Tyrrhenian, Mediterranean, Ionian and Adriatic seas.


Seas, mountains rivers and lakes!


These mountain ranges and rivers not just serve as a source of fresh water but add beauty to this nation, there are numerous lakes between these ranges which are virtual paradises for tourists. Lake Garda which lies between Lombardy and Venetia, Lake Maggiere, and Como etc are all adding charm to the scenic beauty of the mountain ranges. There are many mounts in these ranges like Mont Visio from where River Po emerges, Mont Blanc, Italy has its fare share in volcanoes also like Etna (is a live volcano)and Vesuvius (famous for its catastrophic outbursts, but asleep for the present) etc.


River Po the great


Italy has 8500 KM long coast line which lies Caressed by five seas, while the Apennines Mountain ranges is its back-bone; River Po one of the three great rivers of Europe -the others Rhine and Rhone-is Italy’s Juvenile. The Apennines that stretches up to the southern tip of the nation; joins with the Great Alps of Europe in the north and Italy comfortable nestles in the semi-circle formed by these two mountain ranges. River Po that originates from the Mont Visio peak of the Alps is joined by many small rivers from the Alps and it flows to a distance of 652KM non stop to the Adriatic Sea enriching the whole northern part of Italy.


Other rivers.


Tiber (length 406 KM) which passes through important places like Rome, Vatican and Florence etc is considered more divine as it is watercourse of the Holy City. Tiber is to Italy as Thames is to Britain –liquid history! As most of its historical events have taken place on its banks. It originates from the Apennine Mountains at Tuscany. Arno a major river that touches Pisa is 241 KM in length. It falls in to the Tyrrhenian Sea.


River Adige is the second longest after Po which starts from Lake Resia (between Austria and Switzerland flows eastward and fall in to the Adriatic. Being a mountain river it often causes severe floods and the underground tunnel built to connect it with Lake Garda is meant to tame its severe volatility.


Lake Garda.


It is the largest lake (surface area 367 sq KM, maximum depth356 mtrs, length 52 km and width 17 km) in Italy located between Venice and Milan in the Alpine Region. This lake; a major tourist destination is believed to be formed of ancient glacier, Italy has done everything to harness the tourist potential of this lake and this area has turned out to be a one stop shop for entertainment for the pleasure seekers and it is dotted with numerous bars, spas, hotels. There are 5 islands in this lake and Isola del Garda is the biggest of them.


Lake Resia; for whom the bell tolls.


It is an artificial lake located near the Resia Pass near Bolzano- Bozen; is the largest in Alto Adige; made to control flash floods; numerous rivulets join this lake where as Adige is the only outlet. The construction of this dam has caused the submergence of an ancient town that prevailed in the 14th century. The upper portion of a church tower (Campanile) is still visible to the viewers and during winter; when the river water freezes one can walk to the tower! There are many people who still hear the toll of the church bells during the dark and desolate hours of night!


Resia Pass is the ancient mountain-pass of about 1504 M in length that connects Italy with Austria very near to Switzerland, this pass connected the people lived in the Adige Valley and the those of the Valley of Inn.


Lake Maggiore is the second largest lake in Italy but comes first in its scenic beauty; there are ferry services that run between Italy and Switzerland; which is a big hit among tourists. This lake offers a sunny microclimate that is most enjoyable to the visitors. The best time to visit is between April to October. If lucky visitors can have the enchanting vision of Monte Rossa coming out of the clouds and revealing its scenic charm shining like silver in the early hours of the day.


Lake Como located in Lombardy Italy is one of the deepest lakes in Europe and it is fed as well as drained by the Adda River. It is a ‘Y’ shaped Glacier Lake and serves as the source of River Lambro. Como is the most favorite destination of almost all celebrities in the world and the villas that dot its banks are the most expensive locations in the world. In glitz this location easily outpaces all other tourist places in Italy; as its client list extents from Arnold to Gorbachev.


All great men.


Michelangelo (La Pieta, David etc), Galileo Galilei (great physicist), Dante (Devine Comedy), Leonardo da Vinci (the greatest genius ever born, painter sculptor as well as inventor creator of ‘Mona Lisa’, Last Supper etc), Boccaccio (author of De Cameron), Carlo Collodi (Pinocchio), Raphael (painter), Amerigo Vespucci, Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo are all sailors par excellent, the list of great men from Italy is too long to be written in article like this. It can be put in a nutshell “Roman from Rome” meaning Rome being so great a Roman can’t be less great.


When at Rome do as the Romans.


italy vacationsItaly Rome Colosseum image courtsey: solarnavigator.net

Florence –the city of flowers and birth place of Dante, Michelangelo and Boccaccio, Venice the city that floats on scenic waters and were the ‘Venetian glasses’ are made, Pisa that hosts the leaning tower from where Galileo dropped a feather and a coin to test gravity, Turin –the Fiat city; also known for the shroud, there are much more in Italy.


“If you ever wish to see a single city go and see Rome” as ‘all roads lead to Rome’, the city of seven hills’ or the ‘eternal city’ that ‘was not built in a day’, All sayings about Rome shows how much influence this ancient city has on human culture, where ancient monuments rub shoulders with the latest high tech structures.


1 comment:

stevenwagbo said...

Hi Biby cletus your pictures in the blog is fine did you visit Rome? recently bye.

Google