Make Italy Yours

A blog of Italian Culture and Nature

Category: History of Italy

Palazzo Vecchio

Primo Levi: If This Is a Man-Shemà

 

Voice: Dino Becagli, Music: John Williams

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Poetry in Holocaust Education Part 2/4: “Shema” by Primo Levi

If This Is a Man (Italian-English)

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Wikipedia (Italian): Map of the route taken by Primo Levi from Auschwitz to Turin

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To Leon Klinghoffer

Leon Klinghoffer

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Achille Lauro hijacking

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Voyage Of Terror – The Achille Lauro Affair (Original Soundtrack)

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Ennio Morricone

Bella ciao, Goodbye Beautiful!

For Greece, 2012

For Greece, 2012

 

Una mattina mi son svegliato,
o bella, ciao! Bella, ciao! Bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!
Una mattina mi son svegliato
e ho trovato l’invasor.

O partigiano, portami via,
o bella, ciao! Bella, ciao! Bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!
O partigiano, portami via,
ché mi sento di morir.

E se io muoio da partigiano,
o bella, ciao! Bella, ciao! Bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!
E se io muoio da partigiano,
tu mi devi seppellir.

E seppellire lassù in montagna,
o bella, ciao! Bella, ciao! Bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!
E seppellire lassù in montagna
sotto l’ombra di un bel fior.

E tutte le genti che passeranno
o bella, ciao! Bella, ciao! Bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!
E tutte le genti che passeranno
ti diranno «Che bel fior!»

«È questo il fiore del partigiano»,
o bella, ciao! Bella, ciao! Bella, ciao, ciao, ciao!
«È questo il fiore del partigiano
morto per la libertà!».

 

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Bella ciao: Italian Resistance song

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“Bella ciao” in 9 languages

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Bella ciao (English)

Lyric (English)

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Dante as a politician

Firenze

 

by Mauro Savino

During the first half of his life Dante Alighieri was an important politician of Florence, his hometown. He left it in 1302, because of the allegations of the Black Guelphs (sided with the Pope), the party opposed to the one in which Dante was engaged, namely that of the White Guelphs (sided with the Emperor). Thus the Black Guelphs, thanks to the complicity of Boniface VIII, who wanted to extend his domain on Florence, and the King Philip IV of France, get the power in the city and condemned Dante to the exile for two years and to pay a huge fine but the poet refused to pay. In fact he didn’t consider himself guilty at all. Finally he was condemned to the perpetual exile and if he had returned to Florence without paying the fine, he would have sentenced to death.

The story of Dante’s exile is quite complicated and refers to the bloody struggle between Papacy and Empire for the political power in Italy. It marked the end of communal era and prepared the advent of the Signoria.

In this scenario we focus on some Dante’s attitude as a politician before his exile.

In 1295 Dante proposed a mitigation of the Ordinances of Justice created by Giano della Bella. Also in 1300, after a battle between the White and Black Guelphs, the Priors of Florence, including Dante, decided to condemn to the exile eight members of both parties. Among the White Guelphs there is Guido Cavalcanti, friend of Dante and his political ally. In another circumstance Dante opposed to Boniface VIII who wanted soldiers at his disposal allocated to Florence.

On one hand if we try to see these facts as a whole we may say Dante was probably concerned for the nobility to which he belonged, so he thought the White Guelphs were more willing to find a solution to the conflict between magnates and peoples that made difficult the position of the nobility itself.

On the other hand, Dante was certainly interested in a preservation of the communal liberty, against the temporal power of Papacy. Also we may see in his attitude a sort of Franciscan spirit that postulated the necessity of a Spiritual Church.

Dante dreamed a political era in which Papacy and Empire were distinct in their prerogatives and the cities were ruled by a democratic and rigorous government. He decided to condemn his friend Cavalcanti for the good of his city despite his personal interests.

Finally he gave us a great example of a politician who has both a practical attitude and a moral depth.

Unfortunately the contemporary political world has forgotten this lesson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liberation Day

by Stefania Bufano

In Italy every year on the 25th of April it’s Liberation Day: it’s the Anniversary of Liberation of Italy, or also called the Holiday of 25th of April. It’s an important day, started since 1945, commemorating and representing the end of the second world war, the end of the German nazist occupation in Italy, the end (after twenty years) of the fascist regime in Italy and the holiday for “Resistenza italiana” (Italian Resistance), or “Resistenza Partigiana” (Partisan Resistance), which has been very important to combat Italian fascism.

The voice that you’ll hear on the radio, on 25th of April 1945, that is giving a message to Italians, it’s that of Sandro Pertini, an important partisan, who many years after (1978) became the President of the Italian Republic: “Citizens, workers: general strike against German occupation, against fascist war, for the salvation of our lands, our homes, our workshops. Like at Genoa and Turin, place the Germans in front of the dilemma: to surrender or to perish”.

“Cittadini, lavoratori: sciopero generale contro l’occupazione tedesca, contro la guerra fascista, per la salvezza delle nostre terre, delle nostre case, delle nostre officine. Come a Genova e a Torino, ponete i tedeschi di fronte al dilemma: arrendersi o perire”.

 

 

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