Choosing a single photo of Italy to post that represents our 10-day trip there in 2009 is a daunting task.
Do I pick a photo of or from a medieval Tuscan hill town or the countryside where plum-colored, plump, ripe wine grapes cover the vines? Siena’s ornate duomo, or perhaps one of the piazzas? One of the statues in Florence—Michelangelo’s David, Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine Women, Cellini’s Perseus? What about Rome’s Colosseum, the Vatican, or the Pantheon?
I decide to pick the photo of the sight that I had the greatest difficulty turning my back on and walking away from, knowing I would likely never return.
I pick La Pieta by Michelangelo.
La Pieta is representative of Italy in many ways. First of all it’s in Rome and it’s in the Vatican.
One of Italy’s major attractions is the ancient city in Rome. I couldn’t stand in the Colosseum without considering the fate of Christian martyrs, (although if my AAA guidebook is correct, “few if any Christians were killed in the Colosseum.” If my memory serves me, most of this happened in a different arena. )
La Pieta is a statue of Mary cradling the crucified body of Jesus. In this statue we see both the beginnings of Christianity and the wielding of power by the Roman Empire.
It was sculpted by Michelangelo.
I think it would be impossible to visit the major cities in Italy without at minimum noting, but more likely being enthralled by, the artwork of the Renaissance and the power-packed artistic lineup gathered in Florence—Donatello in sculpture, Brunelleschi in architecture, and Michelangelo, to mention just a few. The artwork in Italy is phenomenal—I have no words to adequately describe it.
So I think in trying to portray Italy in images, La Pieta is not a bad place to start.
Photo by Christine M Grote
Copyright © 2011 by Christine M. Grote
See more links to posts about Italy on my “Places I’ve Been” page.