In order to better appreciate the world we live in, since we often take so much for granted, it’s a good mental exercise to ponder what our lives would be like without so much of what we count on.
For a real brain teaser, try to imagine a world without Italy, the country of the “great beauty”. For instance, if Mount Etna or Mount Vesuvius had erased the “Italian boot” before civilization had taken root, where, other than completely lost, would we be? Well, for starters, it would certainly give map makers fits. How could they decide where the Tyrrhenian Sea ends and the Adriatic Sea begins? They’d have to find some place else to put the Vatican. Also, can you picture Switzerland and Austria as sunny, laid-back Mediterranean playgrounds? Hardly. The Leaning Tower of Zurich? Yipes!
Italy has always been one of the major crossroads of the civilized world, literally and figuratively, serving as a collector and clearinghouse of diverse elements of culture and creativity. Without Italy, world history, religion, science, art, and culture would all need to be revised and/or relocated. The legendary “Grand Tour” of Europe, that rite-of-passage for the European elite, would have to be shortened to a weekend bus trip. Goethe, instead of writing “Journey to Italy”, would have been limited to penning something like “Day-tripping in Dusseldorf”. Or, if the Trevi Fountain didn’t exist, men’s trousers would fall down from the weight of all the coins that had nowhere to be tossed.
Breeding ground for innovative ideas
1. Innovations, inventions and scientific breakthroughs would be hard-pressed to get themselves created if Italy wasn’t around to provide the necessary fertile ground for their genesis. Optical glasses come from Italy, as do barometers and thermometers. Today’s smart phones can trace their origins back to the genius of Italian Antonio Meucci, whose 1871 telephonic device pre-dated the patented work of A.G. Bell by five years. The world’s first high-speed train? Italian, of course. And, speaking of high-speed, let’s not forget Ferrari, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Maserati, and Ducati.
2. Art! It’s a good thing for Michelangelo that, if Italy wasn’t around, he wouldn’t have existed, either. Without a Sistine Chapel to use as a canvas, it’s hard to imagine him painting, say, the ceiling in the Agbar Tower of Barcelona. Italy is home to more than 50% of the world’s art treasures, and Leonardo da Vinci, Raffaello, Botticelli, Caravaggio, and a bevy of other fine artists have set standards that are hard to match. Opera got its start in Italy, and it has been nurtured by the likes of Bartoli, Caruso and Pavarotti. No Italy means no Rossini, Puccini, or Verdi. Italy has given the world the piano, the violin, and the cello.
3. The world of style and fashion looks to Italy for direction. Italy has scores of famous fashion designers. In addition to Prada, trendsetting Armani, Versace, Ricci, and Cardin are spoken here. Milan, soon to host the 2015 Expo Milan, is one of the world’s greatest fashion centers.
4. For “foodies” and wine buffs, the world would be a poorer place, indeed, were it not for contributions from Italy. Italian vineyards produce more wine than those of any other country. From A-to-Z, Italian culinary delights range from Abbacchio (milk-fed lamb) to the ever-popular Zucchine summer squash.
Not that Italy doesn’t have its share of problems, as many areas of the country are still struggling to recover from natural and financial disasters. The volatile economy has been slow to rebound from the current slump that has afflicted much of Europe. The Italian people are resilient, however, and they will rise from this latest downturn. Italians are used to ups-and-downs, which could explain why Italy has more elevators than anywhere else on earth.
As the well-known political satirist and comedian Maurizio Crozza has pointed out in a recent monologue dedicated to the beauty of Italy, that despite her problems, Italy is still a vital nation, full of energy, emotion and enterprise, and there is even talk that the upcoming Expo Milan 2015 may adopt that notion, “the world without Italy”, as one of the Expo’s themes.
Here, at Gate-Away.com, where we specialize in Italian real estate for the international market, we are keenly aware of the importance of Italy’s existence, and we are extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve our world-wide audience.