Friday, January 13, 2017

Neopolitans... Long Live Italy!

(Title quoted from the speech Giuseppe Garibaldi gave on September 7th on his first entry to Naples after capturing the capital city)
This morning we woke up to another sunrise over the Mediterranean. We packed, ate breakfast, and said goodbye to our oceanside hotel and Siracusa, which had given us so much during our stay. We ate lunch at the airport, our last opportunity for Sicilian delicacies like arancini. We also talked to a nice woman on the plane who told us that Turkey had some excellent sites for what we were studying. At this point ma'am, we're well aware. The flight to Naples was short, though very bumpy. But we've finally made it to mainland Italy!
Naples is a far bigger and busier city than any we saw in Sicily. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies and spent many of its modern formative years under Spanish rule, later becoming the site where Garibaldi's volunteer army joined with the Piedmontese army from the north of Italy during the campaign for Unification in 1860. Once we got to the hotel, we had the rest of the evening off, for catching up on coursework, shopping, and what-have-you. Since today was mostly dedicated to travelling and recovering from the full-tilt we've been tackling this course at up until this point, there aren't a whole lot of events to talk about in this post. So it's probably time to reflect on our time in Sicily.
Sicily was very kind to us during our time there. We may not have had the sunny warm weather of previous years, but driving through mountains and arriving at gorgeous oceanside views was better than I think any of us were prepared for. The confluence of cultures from all of its previous rulers still shapes modern Sicily, and it certainly shaped how we saw it, whether through a religious, historic, or modern lens. As you explored the cities, you couldn't help but notice how many streets were named after previous rulers of those areas, and as you watched the highway signs go by while travelling, you noted that many of the town names are based off of Arabic words- many that start with the prefix 'calta' used to have arabic castles in them (from the arabic word aal-ah). Sicily served as an excellent starting place for our course, with its independence and calmer cities helping acclimate many of us to being in Italy. It will be very interesting to see how things change as we move closer to the center of power for both the ancient Roman Empire and the modern Italian state: Rome. For now, I'm excited to see what Naples and mainland Italy have in store for us.


No comments:

Post a Comment