Meily De Leon: Grand Tour Redux 2019

First Glance

The anxious and nerve-racking nature of being alone would have been enough to deter me from such a trip, especially thousands of miles away from the societal norms you have known your entire life. An abrupt change of scenery is all it takes to realize how small your world truly is. As a result, the first week abroad was comparable to a moving train with no brakes, surrounded by people but the lingering feeling of solitude remained. By the second week the fear subsided significantly and by the third it had virtually disappeared. Near the Closing of the trip, the final hike I went on in Cinque Terre from the Sanctuary of Soviore to Levanto confirmed the realization that I was comfortable being alone in my thoughts away from the influence or dependency of the comfort of others. Ultimately, the trip was a learning experience that has impacted me profoundly and allowed me to mature not only as a student, but also as an individual in the face of adversity. Culture shock is a very real occurrence that once seemed preposterous due to the overconfident nature I had with living in Miami. While it is true that Miami is frequented and home to a diverse cultural spectrum, we tend to surround ourselves with comfort therefore cushioning the blow.

Roma: Termini

The Termini train station resembled a mall more closely, called the recreational “Coin” shopping mall found in Rome. The warnings of pickpockets kept me cautious and alert with each visit. Ironically, until I found myself back in the same train station with all of my belongings idly strolling searching for souvenirs. It was an unfamiliar place, yet it felt comforting due to the fact that it resembled Dadeland mall’s layout. Fortunately, I was not a victim of Pickpocketing or if I was I did not lose anything valuable enough to notice. In comparison to the Ancient Roman Ruins, a short distance from the station, Termini is a hub of commercialization and economic prosperity. The sudden transition from traditional culture to modern culture is the result of the incorporation of both globalization and western culture. Consumerism moves away from the traditional significance of the city of Rome and it is a luxury that overshadows history. Technology is an important aspect of the modern world and also the rival to the ancient as seen through the newer generations of children who have progressively shorter attention spans. On the contrary, Italians have demonstrated prowess at integrating the old with the new, for example the McDonald’s banner pictured below states the word Forum on it; which could serve to promote visits to the forum or consider Termini as a modern Forum of sorts; By definition is a large safe space that contains the major conveniences of a civilization, including the exchange of political ideas. Today, the station does not precisely mirror the purpose of the Roman Forum. Instead it serves as a communal center where one could not only enjoy leisure time, but also have all possible amenities readily accessible. Thus, the concept of a forum is used throughout the globe and the sense of familiarity I had within the Termini train station was no coincidence; This invention of Roman origin leads us back to the idea that “We are all Roman.”

The tourist crowded Termini Train Station

Firenze: Oltrarno

At first glance it appears to be a woman who has decapitated a man, but upon research it is a biblical tale that elucidates the righteousness involved when breaking free of oppression, in this case her lover’s grasp.

According to several sources, the Oltrarno district was established around the year 1333 when the finalization of the walls indicated a new neighborhood. The Pitti palace captivated me the moment I caught glimpse of it, this was during the class break for the best gelato in Pitti. Luca Pitti chose to build the Palazzo, in order to compete against the wealthy Medici’s. Ultimately resulting in bankruptcy of Luca Pitti, the palace was sold to the Medicis who then requested to expand the building structurally with Vasari’s expertise.

Later that same week I purchased an entry ticket to the immense palace, which was commissioned for construction by Luca Pitti, to my surprise the mansion was filled to the brim with paintings and sculptures focusing on women and their involvement in society. Originally, I had assumed the artwork to be more recent and was unaware that exclusive paintings by Raphael resided there; amongst other pertinent artists such as Caravaggio. The famous artist attached to the artwork becomes irrelevant rather admiring the quality of the work is satisfying. It was actually the first museum, thus far, that contained such an emphasis on the female perspective and evoked various conflicting emotions within me. The manner in which most women were bare was a norm for the era, honestly speaking there were various sculptures that depicted women carrying children celebrating motherhood and those were wonderful. The feminist movement is not the simple act of striving to do what differing societies deem as a “man’s job”, it is also supporting women who do want to remain under societal roles and raise a family over studying. There were paintings depicting mothers and daughters reading books in a library setting and others where women were being forced to perform sexual acts. The spectrum was wide and offense should not ever be taken to those portrayals of women because they depict a historical truth. Although, it is possible that some of those paintings were done by men with a mentality that encompassed inferiority of women ( which I strongly disagree with). Overall, it was quite fascinating. Utterly mesmerizing to walk through the palace attempting to dissect the meanings behind paintings that caught my attention, and it was equally as rewarding to wander aimlessly appreciating the artwork without too much thought.

Sant’ Agata had been recurring theme throughout the museum, in my perspective it symbolized the sexualized viewpoint men had towards women of the time. The saint seems to be handing over a platter of breasts willingly to someone of higher power, hence her expression facing upward.
Area outside The Pitti Palace, Palazzo block. A serene uncrowded place. I intended to sit and read a book here, but the weather was not favorable

Cinque Terre: Manarola

Cinque Terre, also known as Liguria, was by far the most serene and fulfilling of housing locations on the trip. The five villages are considered culturally and traditionally rich communities. The purpose of the housing was to provide us with a mental escape from the technological world and be able to reflect on our livelihoods at home. In the hopes of evoking thought about the paths in life we have chosen up until this point and further reinforcing the fact that no path is predestined. I personally endorse the idea of change; it is achievable if strived for. This is a major part of self identity.

The small population of 1700 living in Manarola have a strong sense of community, considering their population is one fourth of the student population from any public Miami high school. There was one pharmacy, a couple restaurants that the locals probably do not frequent, one gelato shop, one church, and no schools at a walking distance away. Schools are a little ways outside of Cinque Terre.

Furthermore, while exploring the more residential areas of Manarola I stumbled upon a cat that I followed up winding steps for some time. The bottom right picture of the home under renovation would not be the typical scenery for a tourist. Unexpectedly along the cobble stone steps piles of debris and dumpsters began to emerge. A typical neighborhood has its fair share of unattractive sights and I admired those in particular for the purpose of realism. Capturing a reality is far more exciting than painting a picture of our own interpretation. I say this because an interpretation is based upon preexisting knowledge that we each possess. Potentially skewing our perception of reality.

La vida no es color de rosa- a saying my mother recited to me once

That gist of the statement: most things in life will rarely come to you on their on accord, it can be utilized as a reminder that easy should never be the best bet.

There are countless lessons in life that can only be truly assimilated when experienced firsthand, and as much as some individuals claim to know societal issues/ realities there are no books, news channels, or social media platforms that convey the raw sentiment of those same moments in person.

Venezia: San Polo

The smallest sestiere of Venice, and containing the second grandest campo, San Polo appeared to steer clear from hectic tourism. I previously believed that the kind of congestion seen at the Rialto Bridge was a foreign concept there, yet it is known to be busy due to the numerous shops and restaurants. In my experience, it was fairly empty most likely a result of the cruise collision and a decrease in tourists arriving to the ports via ship. It was quaint and very lovely in nature. A few of my peers and I rode a Gondola in San Polo and we were able to catch a glimpse of daily life through our gondolier. We did not get his name, but he was very kind and willing to answer any inquiries we had on San Polo, despite his “low education” as he jokingly said to us. A 36 year old gondolier with 15 years of experience under his belt and an optimistic attitude. He told us he lived 7 minutes away from El Campo San Polo and while on our tour his two small sons were over a bridge waving at him; Watching this man speak to his sons as the gondola passed under the bridge felt like a scene from a movie. Human emotions are a universal language that is something we as people can relate to . A final question presented to the gondolier was “ what do you do for fun?” he answered with “visit the fish market” in a rather sarcastic tone. According to locals, the most thrilling night activity would be St. Mark’s square’s outdoor musical ensemble. The man then continued to tell us about his extensive world travels and how fortunate enough we were to live in Miami. The cliché’s hold some truth to them, you never know what you until it’s gone. 

The Campo San Polo was significantly less crowded ad touristy. I specifically remember an awkward situation where my roommates and I asked to pet a dog, but as we were petting the couple was having an intense argument in Italian. In fact, that event caused me to realize that there is a distinct difference between St. Mark’s Square and San Polo Square. One lacks family dynamic, while the other, Campo San Polo, runs rampant with children and local families that gather there for a nice bonding time. The traditional male head of the family makes decisions and it is rare to ever hear a child erupt into a tantrum; Thus reinforcing the traditional respect for elders that Italian children embody. A closely bound nuclear circle is an ideal that is stressed by the church. As has been established already, the Italians are deeply rooted in their traditions to the extent to which no food alterations in restaurants cannot be made. I both admire and respect their efforts to preserve their culture, not solely behavioral wise, but also the buildings that speak volumes about their past identity as a people. Identity is a reoccurring theme in Venice due to their history regarding the protection and prosperity of the City-State above all costs.

The Town of Assisi

The stillness of the half empty paths winding down the corridors. Silence, tranquility, the air heavy with a religious aura that one could feel, but not pinpoint. Gazing as surprisingly handsome Franciscans zoomed by in a hurry, where to? Perhaps there was a sight left unblessed somewhere. The simple nature of the town of Assisi immediately clenched my gut, leaving butterflies in its wake. The quaint town did not have much to offer, however, surprisingly, there were amenities easily attainable. My preconceived notions of small isolated towns clashed with what was before me. St. Francis’ Church was an admirable building, surrounded by armed guards who wave if you bid them ciao, the gothic fresco paintings that both welcome and overwhelm are truly magnificent. The earliest forms of Jesus painted on the cross can be found here. In addition, the church itself radiates a magical feeling, almost indescribable, an emotion that is closely related to the earth. In contrast to other gothic churches, there was no ominous atmosphere that is usually brought upon via the forboding frescos of Christ. The central connection that simplistic gothic churches provide is imperative, in my opinion, in order to sense a more human experience with the relics. Rather than an ostentatious display of wealth within a baroque church that emphasizes wealth and power more than the religious aspect of the relationship an individual should have the pleasure of experiencing. The Gothic era strongly supported the ideology of separation of man from early vanities that fostered selfishness and self ambitions. Aside from war and political power, the Catholic church has been a symbol of stability and a beacon of hope for the general public for centuries. It might come as a shock that I am actually not religiously affiliated with the church, I recognize that it is a beautiful concept and being able to experience St. Francis has motivated me to explore the depths of religious sanctity. The Franciscan way of life is a reserved and strict one consisting of men who devote their lives to charity and aiding the less fortunate, following in the footsteps of St. Francis himself. As everything in this world nothing is truly pure and corruption seeps into the weak points of these men who fall astray to temptations.

To further elaborate, Assisi is a very antiquated town both structurally and in ideology. It is prohibited to alter any building because the people of Assisi wish to preserve their traditions, cultural roots, and their ancestral way of life. In all honesty, if you are not a senior citizen searching for a quiet retirement home or a person of any age looking for religious enlightenment there is not much to do.

The tower of Paradise, representing both the Italian and European Union flags

The Grand Tour was the most unique traveling experience I know that I will have ever received, barely two weeks have gone by and I already feel it slipping away. Living as a local, more or less, for one month has demonstrated a new perception of the world that I did not know of. I don’t remember the hardships and uncomforting situations, what I do recall are the moments where we beat the odds; Keeping up with the class’s physical rigger, now that was on a good day. I am eternally grateful to this experience. “The original Grand Tour demographic of the time is no longer viable, now a Hispanic woman has been able to participate on this journey to self-discovery” – Cinque Terre as Text by Meily De Leon

La vida no es color de rosa.

Sources:

“About the Franciscan Friars.” Ordo Fratrum Minorum, ofm.org/about/.

“Agatha of Sicily.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 June 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agatha_of_Sicily.

Editors, History.com. “Roman Forum.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 8 Mar. 2018, www.history.com/topics/ancient-rome/roman-forum.

“Judith with the Head of Holofernes.” Artworks | Uffizi Galleries, www.uffizi.it/en/artworks/judith-with-the-head-of-holofernes.

Niji.Net. “History of Oltrarno’s Quarters of Florence.” Firenze, www.firenze-oltrarno.net/english/vita/storia-oltrarno.php.

“Pitti Palace Inferno: Florence, Italy.” Florence Inferno, 12 June 2019, www.florenceinferno.com/pitti-palace/.

San Polo, www.aloverofvenice.com/HiddenCorners/SanPolo/SanPolo.html.

“Welcome to Our Parish Website.” St Francis of Assisi Church & School, stfoa.org/.

Meily De Leon: Italia as Text 2019

Tivoli as Text

“Above Science” by Meily De Leon of FIU

History is the bridge that interlocks the past and present, while simultaneously molding the future. The Romans were and still are considered a civilization ahead of their era. Strong evidence of the forward thinking and innovative concepts that they contributed to modern day society can be found via ancient Roman ruins. In particular, Hadrian’s Villa built approximately between 117-136 CE, impressively portrays the emphasis on personal health from the perspective of a time where knowledge of medicine was not widespread. Moreover, a primitive understanding of the physical observable ailments that plagued Romans existed. In spite of this, divine beliefs of the gods did influence the understanding of inexplicable conditions. Usually the miasma theory was at work, which is now rejected and replaced with the concept of contagious disease not fumes alone. Doctors of the time used physically distinguishable characteristics to give any prognosis for a Roman, for example the level of fitness of a person, was an easily identifiable quality at first glance. Therefore, Hadrian’s villa contained a large spacious rectangular structure called a gymnasium. This allowed Romans to exercise not only physically, but culturally as well. Since, their social lives revolved around dominance shown through brute strength, as a result gymnasium became essential in aiding Romans in their pursuit of praise from the emperor. In this case, emperor Hadrian was not one to shy away from ostentatious displays of wealth and power by permitting others to enjoy the wealth of the latest technological advances in his home.

In Addition to the gymnasium, elaborately large baths with intricate designs and decorations were present immediately next to the gym. The bathhouse has several baths that were of different temperatures. It was believed that changes in temperature from hot to cold served to improve a person’s circulation and close the pores of the skin, which does hold true to this day. Also, the expansive 300 acres of Hadrian’s Villa contributed to the active lifestyle Romans held, hence the lagoon at the entrance of the villa served as the measured distance that an individual was recommended to walk daily after having a meal; about 2-3 times were suggested by doctors. Other structures on the premises, such as the fishing pond pictured above, demonstrated the intertwining of entertainment and personal health through social activities.

Thus, the fact that these deductions were made without solidified scientific approaches and that a majority of the world still abides by these principles of personal health, reinforces the concept of “Everyone is a Roman” and how Romans have paved the way for architecture that serves purposes beyond the primitive need for shelter and survival. �

Roma As Text

“indescribable” by Meily De Leon of FIU

The city of Rome is a culmination of history and culture experienced through architecture. Its people are welcoming and carry an atmosphere of familial unity.  To recap,  the start of my journey caused me to feel a sense of unease in combination with an anxious perspective which hindered me from assimilating the scope of the city’s wonders. Inhibited by clouded judgement, I was unable to appreciate the uniquenes that Rome offered initially. This began to change as I was exposed to the diverse history that the ancient city holds. The forum, a Roman treasure, was the epitome of classical Roman life. Standing at the center of all its glory immersed me in a different era, with every step I slowly outgrew the cautious nature that had consumed me. The forum was the birthplace of the Republic and of civic relations: politically, socially, and religiously. During the 500 year rise of the Roman empire, this location was the foundation for their society as a whole, portraying deeply rooted cultural values, beliefs, and traditions. These Roman traditons are still, to a lesser degree, exercised today across the world. For instance, the Vestal Virgins were a strong indication of misogyny that has contributed to the taboo topic of female virginity in various cultures, such as my cultual background. Carrying my hispanic culture with me to Rome has helped me envision how life was lived here, as I continue to draw parallels.

Ultimately, the idea of traveling not as a tourist, but rather embodying an italian civilian has fostered independence within me.  I’ve developed an independent nature that I would have never believed I could harness in the time span of a week. Personally, I did not come on this trip for a religious endeavor or spiritual awakening, but I have gained empowerment from the freedom to do as I please without the fear and pressure to conform to the standards of a certain culture.

Ancient Rome, like the modern United States, was a hub for diversity in terms of people and cultures. It was a harsh place, but ultimately accepting, and I have found that the city’s culture remains largely the same. After some trial and error, I have truly begun to feel at home, and I believe that when I leave Rome to see more of the country and perhaps the rest of the world I will more readily integrate myself and find the beauty in my surroundings. Once a victim of culture shock, but never again.

Pompeii as Text

“Despair” by Meily De Leon of FIU

The concept of the unknown is often an ominous thought. A state of unfamiliarity is accompanied by paralyzing fear; therefore, it is no surprise that the people of Pompeii did not all flee the city, out of an approximate population of 20,000 citizens 2,000 perished. In 79 A.D Mount Vesuvius erupted, and annihilated the Pompeian way of life, the remaining ruins symbolically tell the history of its people. The recounts of witnesses that managed to escape death conveyed despair and helplessness as the darkness of the ashes consumed the sky. The well-preserved bodies of adults, children, and pets, alike, were impactful and evoked melancholia, while reinforcing that above all nature is the determining factor for any civilization’s reign. The positions of the bodies frozen in time revealed the universality of human emotions in a regretful manner.  As a result, the eruption caused the city’s treasures to be buried with it until rediscovered about 1900 years later, consequently the uncovering of the city influenced the European world and mirrored modern-day way of life. For instance, the idea of fast food, private homes, and separation of street lanes were clearly emphasized around the city. The excavations are evidence of how ancient Roman ideals are interwoven in everyday routines and architectural layouts that have become social norms. The present is indubitably a reflection of the past, which is a strong indication that our roots all have an origin regardless of the location or the cultural heritage behind the peoples. Another important detail that should be highlighted in the Pompeian ruins

is the fresco paintings in the Villa of mysteries

that elucidate the cult-like hierarchy that existed depicting women as sexual symbols. The Dionysiac fresco, in my perspective, represented women of the time as critical of other women of lesser social ranking, whom were subject to punishment when not conforming to patriarchal standards. However, it could be viewed as a liberation of women in the sense that paintings of nude women, such as the Birth of Venus, commemorated the sexuality of women. Rather the deeper meaning seemed oppressive, as the women are pictured toiling away unclothed. The vague nature of the painting keeps the mysterious  aura of Pompeii alive, and reminds us that humans are all connected to each other through similar sentiments, tragedy is the most relatable emotion as proved by the end of the Pompeian civilization .

Florence as text

“Good Values?” by Meily De Leon

Florence marks the awakening of the renaissance. A city that has witnessed countless innovative minds audaciously leave their legacies and sign their names proudly. Amongst the greatest feats in science and art architecturally, there are many that deserve commemoration, such as The David, The Pitti Palace, The Bargello, The Birth of Venus, Basilica of Santa Croce, etc… However, having taken 140 years to complete construction, The Duomo asserts its dominance over Florence. Its integration of religion, physics, and art in one structure. The analytical thinking that was required to accomplish this present-day Dome without the use of wooden framework or support of any kind is an impressive notion; considering the time of its creation in the 1400s. Brunelleschi was driven by ambition and a sense of pride to out perform his rival Ghiberti rather than solely for the purpose of creating a magnificent structure for the cathedral underneath or merely the people of Florence. Human nature is the driving force behind greed for fame and recognition. The transition from other worldly beings without set identities in the Medieval Gothic era to the rightful possession and humanizing of artwork, plus religious icons, has caused a ripple in the value of such grand accomplishments. It is now widely accepted to proclaim works, whether religiously affiliated or not, but during the time it was highly controversial and  considered a vanity. Physical ties to the earth hindered a being from reaching self-actualization. Despite, the ingenious design of the oculus redistributing weight around and herring bone that shifts the weight between the ribs of the sides of the dome; the underlying motivation is not a passionate one, rather than coming from a secular mindset the strong sentiments stemmed from a selfish motive. Often, a majority of the architectural and artistic feats accomplished surface from similar sentiments of greed and ambition to outdo others. Perhaps, the movement from gothic to renaissance allowed the progression of society, while sacrificing humility and moral values. As Machiavelli states “ It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles” insinuating that self-proclamation is the successful manner in which to metaphorically rule, in this case achieve progress in society.  

Pisa as Text

“Beauty” by Meily De Leon

The white pillars arranged harmoniously within the simplistic concave insides of the baptistry radiate a positive aura, while the plain nature of the building’s interior provides a dash of elegance. The darker lines riding up the Roman columns elude to a higher ceiling. These characteristics embody the architectural style called Pisan Romanesque, unique to Pisa it originated around the 11th century. The same Baptistry that Galileo Galilei was baptized in, as a result submerges myself in history that has shaped lives and continues to. A standstill moment overtakes you when the guards of the Baptistry of Pisa, also known as the Pulpit, sing notes that amplify throughout the dome as the sound waves travel upward. The ingenious design by Nicola Pisano was a combination of the aesthetic elements and practicality of the alters placement. Pisan Romanesque is a combination of various eras with a lack of symmetry and logical order, for instance there is specifically only one stained glass window transformed into a sculpture, which represents their victory over pagan ideals, in the Roman era. Two entirely different concepts, yet both placed in the same building. The mysterious factor surrounding Pisan Romanesque is what truly makes it interesting because in a sense the disorganized nature of the style seems vaguely similar to modern art and its lack of an overall message. Furthermore, the vague nature of the baptistry leads into the unknown, or poorly understood insights that circulated throughout the time period. The modestly decorated baptistry allows for visitors and worshippers alike to focus on the religion at hand, rather than the political or social economic factors otherwise involved in Baroque structures. The Medici family guild was successful at utilizing mostly religion, to silence their skeptics by exercising power discreetly and selectively. The simplicity and confusing nature of Pisan Romanesque is captivating since it has no set direction and can be interpreted fairly based on personal interests, unlike having a set-in stone depiction of Christ. The ability to decide, given information, what the differing icons and architectural styles are attempting to portray to us is a priority, then fear is no longer the limiting factor.

Cinque Terre as Text

“Catharsis” by Meily De Leon

Expectations are sources of self-disappointment. The human mind is capable of withstanding pressure and stress induced mental strain to a certain extent. As a labyrinth of chaos, it is often rendered a nuisance when uncertainty about what lies ahead exists. Dread of the unknown. The satisfaction associated with accomplishing menial daily tasks is temporary gratification. The realization that our struggles impact us greater than our triumphs alone is a concept that fosters the resilience for discovery and knowledge. Considering that the pursuit of knowledge requires exposure to diverse cultures and   incorporation into real world experiences, it is no surprise that natural expeditions are undertaken; Hiking was a main method used for reflection of life in of itself during the Grand Tour. A primary aim of the endeavor was to promote cultural awareness and education through the art and history Italy has to offer. The hike through all five Terre’s was exhilarating, but it focused heavily on a survival perspective rather than self-insight. In addition, the trail was not solitary and did not create an ambiance conducive to reflecting upon the previous weeks’ sensory overloads. The idea of backpacking through Europe is similar to the Cinque Terre hike, however, the hike to Levanto was a challenge that simultaneously allowed for the assimilation of the forest’s stillness and beauty.

As I climbed the steep ledges and felt the gravel slide below the soles of my shoes, only heavy breaths remained and the sun rose overhead warming the goosebumps on my arms. The atmosphere heavy with scents of pine, flower, and crisp ocean air coerced an epiphany within me. In the 17th century, right about now a typical white wealthy male would have been hiking Monterosso, seemed like an impossible feat for women. Here I am, lucky to have had the privilege to experience this. On the contrary to the old norm, the experience contradicted greatly from the original Grand Tour demographic of the time, now a Hispanic woman has been able to participate on this journey to self-discovery. Strength is found within one’s mindset, and personal experience is either the limiting or promoting factor in an individual’s growth as a functional member of society.

Furthermore, the Grand Tour has served as a way to purge forms of repressed conflicting notions of the world by expanding both social and cultural horizons; which will ultimately serve as learned techniques and skills that will be pertinent across other countries. Cultural competency is  valuable and should be advocated for vehemently, especially amongst the five historically and culturally diverse villages of Cinque Terre.                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Venezia as Text

“Righteous Intentions” by Meily De Leon 

The simple Venetian lifestyle is far from the hectic tourism that bombards the city daily. Leaving a wake of trash behind. The anomaly of the city on water continues to draw visitors worldwide, despite the mustiness of seafood and foul odor of the high tides, it proceeds to be a popular destination. Although, it is no longer a basin for trading between the west and east, its historical significance lives on through its architecture. A city whose distance from land created a source of protection for its original colonizers, now serves a different purpose for its descendants of which thrive from tourist revenue. St. Mark’s Square is an architectural masterpiece that is representative of the communal Venetian lifestyle. The vastness of the present-day square, expanded in the year 1177, serves to convey the emphasis that was placed on Venice’s political dealings. It was utilized as an area of conference  As the most powerful City-state, the separation of Church and State was not a priority and morality was brushed aside in exchange for the political success of Venice. This unearths hypocrisy circulating the ideals of the church, the Catholic church was a strong political power for centuries using religious ideals as a form of justification rather than a guide. People who identified with differing gender identities and other religions were not persecuted, but not due to acceptance or tolerance on behalf of the Venetians; it was mainly associated with the need for power and wealth that consumed their society. Moreover, in that sense their obsession with political power can be viewed as a positive aspect. The progression of Venice’s power was not obstructed by moral values and the right of passage was allegedly granted to those aiding the economic strength of the City-state. Piazza San Marco illustrates those corrupted ideals, despite the fact that it has been repurposed for tourism and home to fearless pigeons. 

Italia as Text 2019
Italia as Text
Miami as Text
Italy Study Abroad