Monday, April 22, 2013

Our Town

This maybe one of a handful of "exclusively Italy" posts and not just because this is supposed to be a blog about growing deeper in your faith.  I'm not a really good traveler, I have a pretty short attention span and I much prefer sitting on a beach reading and drinking, to spending my vacation time looking at architecture and historic artifacts.

So it's pretty funny we moved to Italy - a land ripe with architecture and historic artifacts.

I'm trying to grow.  I'm trying to appreciate where we are living, because it is really a gift.  It blows my hair back to think about all that's happened in this land.  It's been a part of recorded human history for well over three millennium.  So to exist daily next to a wall that was erected in 2-9 AD by Cesar Augustus just spins my head around...

As "Bimbo" (as we've nicknamed Ella Grace) and I got out of the house in order to practice carrying her in the Moby Wrap, I decided I would soak up the history of our little town.  It's quite amazing really.

Our town is named Fano - or Fanum Fortunae.  It got that name because there used to be a temple here, dedicated to the Roman goddess Fortuna.  (Bet you can't guess what people came to her for.....)  It started as a little colony founded by yep - Augustus again.
The wall is really not unique in these parts.  The region we live in, Marche, has more than 100 castles and fortresses to boast.  The Romans and the Goths were all over this place.  Then came the medieval kingdoms and duchies and eventually the Nazis and the Allies.  It is a well-warred area for sure! 

We spent most of our time walking around the wall.  It extends around most of the central part of town and is pretty well described in various placards.

Casear Augustus himself
The "Augustus Gate"
I've often tried to imagine life back when this wall was in use.  One gate, called "The Herd Gate" led to the pasture where all the livestock grazed during the day.  Where our house is now, about a 2 minute walk from the wall, was probably considered the wrong side of the tracks.  Most people lived inside the gate walls.  (Or within running distance in case a band of Goths or soliders of nearby kingdoms came trolling through).  It is truly a different world than now, but these artifacts connect us to those times.  The main gate is dedicated to Augustus.  You can tell they liked him so much, they erected a statue of him!
I couldn't help but think what else was going on in the world in the First Century AD.  At the time this little fortification on the East Coast of Italy was being built, Jesus Christ was being raised in Bethlehem.  During this chaotic time in human existence, when the Romans were taking over the known world (among other things), God chose to enter time and space.  That really shook me.

Diagram of the wall - Adriatic at the top
People used to put their faith in how strong their fortifications were, but there was no keeping out the Creator of the Universe.  He snuck in over the wall, like a thief in the night.  He didn't seem like much at first, but eventually the name Jesus became the most influential name ever.  It's amazing how things change in a short two thousand years.

One last interesting piece of history I found.  There is a plaque on the main wall dedicated to the liberation of Fano from the Nazis by the Americans during World War II.  Perhaps because, temporally speaking, it is the closest time to mine, this moved me most of all.  Or maybe because all the events of the last week are so fresh in my mind - it sticks in my throat how possible another serious worldwide conflict could be.  I'm glad there is a reminder of good beating evil, even in this small town.

I'm sure I left a lot out for some of you art/history/architecture/travel buffs, so if you have any specific questions, I can try and get them answered.  This town, in the travel guides, is well-known for art as well as the architecture.

Maybe I'll post some more of our adventures, as we hit Venice, Rome and other amazing places in between.  There is so much more to come!

1 comment:

Gindi said...

Wonderful line - "he snuck in over the wall"!