Around 1300 AD, the Maritime Republic of Amalfi was one of the more powerful, and first democratic governments in Europe. Its ships sailed the Mediterranean Sea, to and from the nations of North Africa and the Middle East to the south, and from Portugal to France and both sides of Italy to the north, and beyond the waters of Turkey. Its merchants imported silk and spices from the East and exported its own home-made paper. Flavio Biondo perfected the compass, and Amalfi instituted The Amalfitan Papers, a code-book on how to govern on national and international waters. With the ballot box, sailors chose their captains, and citizens chose their Presidents. Suddenly, Amalfi was destroyed by high rising tsunami waters that caused the mountain to collapse onto the city, destroying it and killing most of its people.
In the 21st Century, having regained some prominence, Amalfi was to be re-visited by a similar event--this time, man-made.
Closing her face toward Jody's ear, she said to her daughter's astonishment: "You know how much I love music. I went to see Guido Cantelli direct Verdi's Requiem Mass at Boston Symphony. It was magnificent. I shall never forget it. Also, I shall never forget that soon after, Guido, with his whole orchestra crash-landed near the airport of Milan. I guess what I am trying to say is that things should not happen as accidents. These things are worse when they are man-made. I don't feel at east going to Europe at this time. There are terrorists all over the place. Too often, they are among us and we only know that even as Migrants, they're not even vetted.
"Oh, Mom, not to worry: Airport security is pretty effective."
After chit-chatting with their counterparts at the table, mother and daughter walked around saying hello almost nonstop. Professor Villa was that popular, and in demand.
"People have great expectations of you. I am sure you will not disappoint them." Jody said.
"Mom," she then added with a twinkle in her eyes. "Tomorrow is our last day--here, I mean, in Washington! Why don't we go to the National Gallery? There are many masterpieces from Italy. Although I would like to see the Jesus of Dali.
I would also like to see the chiaroscuro of Caravaggio, The Taking of Christ--Saints and Sinners."
"My, my, Jody: You're talking about some big names, like Caravaggio, especially. You know he was a master painter and a farabutto at the same time."
"Mom, enough already with these Italian words. 'Farabutto!' What does it mean?"
At The National Gallery of Art, mother and daughter shows mutual admiration for Dali's Jesus dramatically suspended from wooden beams of the cross--In their view, Jesus commanded all their attention notwithstanding Dali's artistic ability to move the viewers as he did. Jody was really taken back by the artist's virtuosity. Now so with Caravaggio's Jesus.
In The Taking of Christ, Jody was struck by the artist rendition of the Christ on the cross. There he was, waiting to die, and being the only one with the light clearly shining on his face...
Those who have come to know Adolfo through his writing, know that, in addition to family, he has great love for his adopted country, America, and for his homeland, Italy. And for the Arts... The novel combines portions from all of these, so much so, that I wanted to share some of the specifics that I, too, found appealing... The full Requiem was provided...you can decide how much time you have to spend with this musical masterpiece...
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