Italy of the Italians (Classic Reprint)
Since that memorable year, 1870, Italy has, happily, ceased to be 'a geographical expression,' as Prince Metternich contemptuously phrased it. Nevertheless, though thousands of travellers over-run her fair borders in the course of each year, in ever increasing numbers, to the greater proportion she still remains little else than a geographical expression, and her citizens are regarded either as the staffage to a lovely landscape or as the custodians of her artistic treasures. These travellers, too, seldom know the language of the land and hence are apt to get their information from guides, hotel porters, cabmen, and others the like. As a result they may see towns and museums but they get little or no idea of Italy's real life and civilization. Few stop even to wonder what are the impulses, the aims, the hopes, the ambitions that cause the heart of this land to pulsate with energy, that virtue on which her greatest poet, Dante, laid such stress. Few enquire what is her present position in the world of European thought. What she gave us in the past, how, together with Greece, we owe her all our culture, is familiar enough. Less familiar, on the other hand, is her contribution to the modern movement, her bequest to the fabrics of contemporary science, art, literature, and philosophy.
It is the aim of this book to give a popular reply to such questions as many an intelligent traveller would fain put, but which he is hindered from pronouncing by his scant knowledge of the language. It does not pretend to be either learned or exhaustive. It only desires to excite an intelligent curiosity in the hope of inducing its readers to prosecute studies on their own behalf in such sections of the vast theme as particularly appeal to their individual sympathies.
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