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Chaos Manor Special Reports

The Culture Wars

Wednesday, April 30, 2002

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I went out about 2 PM.

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This is the palace of justice, built around the turn of the century, and that's Cavour, the cabinet minister of the royal unification who made modern Italy possible. Everyone says they hate the palace of justice. At least all the intellectuals say it. The building was popular enough with the people that when it began to settle of its own weight -- that's a lot of granite -- it was hurriedly shored up and put right again. The people don't have the same cultural tastes as their intellectual leaders.

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Looking up the Tiber from the Cavour bridge. I have come here looking for the Peace Arch of Augustus.

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And I have found it. As I said in the earlier report, it's under reconstruction. Go past it and


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I'm back at the Mausoleum of Augustus, and this is the inscription in as good a photograph as I can take with what I am carrying, and another picture of the ruins of the last known resting place of the man who was master of the world.

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Looking east from the tomb we see what concerned Rome in the Papal era, and what concerns the city now at the Piazza Augusto. Since they have only recently discovered the Peace Arch I suspect the restaurant named for it is fairly new. I don't know if that's really the original Alfredo's or not. It says it is. Just for orientation,

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that's looking west toward the Tiber from the Piazza Augusto before we head east toward the Piazza Espagna. The Peace Arch would be visible just to the left of the tomb if it weren't for the Papal era church. Going east is a typical sight, Rome's transportation system. You see women in business suits riding these, although more men of course. Oddly enough I haven't seen any men in business suits on scooters, but perhaps I didn't notice. Roberta says she has.

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And my first impression of the Spanish Plaza and the Spanish Stairs. We'll see a lot more of this, but the first thing to note is that it's crowded. This is Tourist Rome with a vengeance.

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There's a fountain in there somewhere.

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Moving across the square, we see a column now shrouded in scaffolding. Looking back we see American Express, an important location in Rome. You can get your mail delivered there.

 Inside that scaffolding is the column erected to celebrate the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception. That building beyond the column is the Jesuit College for the Propagation of the Faith, a very important building housing important people of the Counter Reformation. The building was designed to look important because serious work was being done there.

Now, the column repairs are sponsored, or at least someone has sold advertising on the scaffolding. When the Immaculate Conception was proclaimed there was theological controversy, and it was considered important. Today it's a vehicle to advertise cars, and the only thing important is the location.

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More views of the carefully designed College for the Propagation of the Faith. The entrance was designed to be impressive, to awe you with the serious purpose of this building and the people in it. Alas, the square behind it was built up, so that you can't really see the entrance in all its glory. And it might be thought more serious if there were not a clothing store rented out at the corner. But then we see the picture worth 10,000 words when it comes to explaining what is happening in the culture wars:

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I suspect comment is superfluous.

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A police captain in earnest discussion. The Sacred College is beyond him. And now we move back toward the Spanish Stairs,

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and on to the church at the top. This is a working parish church. The plaza in front of it has wonderful views, and also serves as a kind of art gallery.

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We are now at an upper level and moving north toward the trees we saw from Piazza del Poppolo the first day. The Villa Borgheze is ahead.