This last blog post of the series is meant to just wrap up a few points.
First of all, a big THANK YOU once again to Marco Iacobucci and his friends (Daniele, Francesco, Rita, and others whose names I sadly don’t remember…) for all they did for Father Stephen and me. As you can read in my previous two posts, it was an incredible experience.
Next, for those who’d like to read Marco’s take on things, here are the posts he put on his own blog:
Oh, did I neglect to mention they were all written in Italian? Silly me… :-)
As for Father Stephen and myself, apart from the sense of hospitality that was clearly demonstrated to our benefit, we were very impressed by the sense of history that animates the people we met. For us in Canada, history often seems to be a subject that interests only the specialists. Trevi, on the other hand, is a town with a history that stretches at least 1500 years — and people know their history. Different people would drop casual remarks like “The main church bell was blessed in 1329″, or “The stones of this church were taken from those of the original cathedral, the remains of which can be found down the hill”, or “Pope Boniface VIII once stayed at this castle for a summer”. Heck, while getting dressed in the sacristy I came across a small display on the wall that listed the known original bishops of Trevi… from the years 487 to 1061! Honestly, back in Canada, hardly anyone would know these sorts of details, or think to casually post them on a bulletin board…
This attention to history, I think, was also part of why this visit was so special. Marco kept telling us how this was important to the people of Trevi, that people felt they were living a historical moment in the life of the town, and so on. Just look at the titles of Marco’s blog posts: “1000 year later”, or “A voyage in time”. His photos and videos were clearly not being made just as souvenirs, but to be part of a historical record.
So yes, this trip to Trevi wasn’t just about sightseeing. It was also to be neck-deep in history.
Of course, there’s no time like the present. Marco did share with me some of the challenges the people of Trevi face. Many of their ancestors would likely have been poor shepherds, following flocks of goats and cows as they grazed on the hillsides. The modernization of the Italian state did bring greater prosperity, but as there is even less industry for the area lots of people commute to Rome for work, with the youth often leaving and not coming back. Problems of alcohol and drug abuse also exist. I asked Marco about tourism — given Trevi’s so many treasures, why was this so underdeveloped? But as he said to me, Trevi has to compete with places like Rome and Florence for the foreign tourists, and with the beaches for the local tourists. How would such development even get started? I must admit, I did not have an answer for him.
There was one project that Marco did mention to me, though, that I would like to explore more. Marco suggested a partnership with Canada, perhaps with youth coming to visit Canada while Canadians could go to visit Trevi. Other forms of cooperation could also be thought up. I’m very open to that, and I hope Marco and I will be able to stay in touch and see where that might go. Once thing is for sure, though: even if no other Canadian ever goes, I’ll be back… Trevi nel Lazio, you’ve captured part of my heart!