Postcard from Rome


Translated by Andrew Fentem

Last Friday at the height of the rush hour on Romeís Via Del Corso - best known for its crowds of tourists, eyes glued to guide books, desperately in search of the Pantheon, the Piazza Di Spagna or even the Vittorio Emanuel II building, as well as for its endless rows of Alpha Romeos, Fiats and scooters, their drivers red with impatience waiting at traffic lights which refuse to turn green - Julius Caesar suddenly appeared. Not content with merely appearing, the former Roman leader promptly launched into a diatribe against the European Union - an institution dominated, he went on, by Germanics and impure Latins. And as for those mongrels, they havenít been the bravest for a long time now, he added. It was time to rebuild Europe starting from its natural and eternal centre he declared - Rome must regain its ancient splendour and prove the superiority of authentic Latin culture to the world once again. Berlusconiís remarks on the superiority of western civilisation were a first step in the right direction but its centre was Rome not Washington or Brussels, he went on, adopting an increasingly vehement tone. But neither the Alpha Romeo, Fiat or scooter drivers - still just as green with rage at the lights, which certainly had no intention of leaving red - nor the tourists, appeared to be too convinced.