War and Italy

29 Sep

Since our arrival, the bridge at the end of our driveway has been closed. It leads to the small town of Montecastello di Vibbio where Diego and a farmer friend, John Luigi, live.  It has been a HUGE inconvenience because whenever we want to get to the other side we have to take a 20 minute detour. This is not an, Italian measurement either- it really is easily 20 minutes! They are essentially just giving the bridge a face lift, because you can still walk over it, just not drive. I asked when it was built and Claudia said the original structure is a couple of hundred years old, but it was bombed and destroyed in WW2 and the US fixed it after, that was in 1946. Another day, while walking down our driveway I asked Claudia what the huge indentations in the side of the mountain were from. She said they were bombs aimed at the bridge that missed. There are about 4 distinct spots that you can see on the hillside.

It might be my age and my mindset but I was blown away by how much the effects of the war are still prevalent here. I understand that the “reason” we became involved in the war was because of the bombing on Pearl Harbor, but outside of that attack and the bombing of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, the physical land of the United States has gone unscathed. Italians, and many other countries around the world, are still dealing with and working around affects of a war the US was equally involved in. I guess I just don’t understand how that has happened through the years that we are the ones who don’t have to deal with the same physical repercussions of war as everyone else. Unfortunately war destroys many historical places, we have seen some of this near to our house. Also in Florence, Hitler destroyed all but one of the beautiful bridges that cross the Arno River, the commander charged with the task was able to talk him into saving one because of its history. One cool thing we learned while on our tour of Orvieto was that the city was salvaged from any bombing because it was considered a historical center. I’m not sure why it, and not other cities, got this protection, but Mitch thinks its because Orvieto wasn’t really key to winning the war so they were able to concede on letting it maintain all of it’s buildings.

The duomo (cathedral) in Orvieto that was salvaged in WW2

When discussing this with Ev and Claudia they told us it is even worse in Berlin. That many historical and beautiful buildings were destroyed in the fighting. While there, three years ago it was pointed out on many of our tours of the buildings with bullet holes in them, but I didn’t realize the extent of the complete destruction of other buildings. I remember our German friends saying they were embarrassed to be German because of what Hitler did to the Jews, and us Americans just didn’t understand it. It must just be a different way of rearing because seeing the destruction left from US bombers over 50 years ago doesn’t necessarily make me embarrassed to be American, but allows me to recognize that my allegiance won’t go towards such actions in the future.

Maybe someone with more knowledge of the wars or world history could help me make sense of everything, I will definitely be doing some more reading on the topic! But right now-more than ever- I just don’t think the end result of more wars justifies the personal, emotional, historical ( I could go on and on) wreckage that is left in it’s midst.Just another one of the beautiful lessons of life thought through travel. It allows you to be appreciative of what you have, and learn what standard you will hold your life to in the future.

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One Response to “War and Italy”

  1. Rana Mancini (@ChicTMama) September 30, 2012 at 2:14 am #

    I think this is very interesting. I think another reason the US hasn’t seen a lot of damage on their territory is because of what a baby it still is in comparison to these other countries. It also makes you realize how much money these countries have to invest in restoration, also looking at the new 9/11 monument…your comment about the Germans being embarrassed by Hitler is something of intrigue as well. Great post 🙂

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