I love taking photos of walls and signage; they have the same quality as an old postcard, like a memory of an ancient time.
I took a photo of a fragment from a poem on a wall at Monreale. I liked the dirty paint, the lettering seemed like something from the Fascist period, and I thought I’d be able to track down the quote.
It sounded like something that recalled the classical, perhaps something from Quasimodo, Ungaretti or Pascoli, but I couldn’t identify it at first.
It reads: L’Italia è un isola che (missing text) se per gli altri il mediterraneo
(Italy is an island ——- if for none other than the Mediterranean).
Thanks to one of my readers, I could track down the origins of the words. They were initially a part of a speech given by Mussolini in 1936.
The full quote is:
L’Italia e’ un’isola che si immerge nel mediterraneo. Se per gli altri il mediterraneo e’ una strada, per noi Italiani e’ la vita.
(Italy is an island that is immersed in the Mediterranean. For others, the Mediterranean is a road; for us Italians, it is life.)
What more apt quote for an island that finds itself at the heart of the Mediterranean. Sicily’s strategic location has always made it a desirable prize for any ambitious conquerors to attempt to capture, which made Sicily’s history become filled with many different threats, invasions and colonies. None of which would fit comfortably or, more importantly, permanently on the island.
This tiny fragment from il Duce’s speech ended up scrawled on a wall in the piazza at Monreale, outside of Palermo, to be mostly ignored and forgotten by those walking by.