thumbnail of Mark Russell; No. 2005; Viva Italia!
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<v Mark Russell>[classical music playing] In the beginning, the world needed flavor, exuberance, drama <v Mark Russell>and God created Italy. <v Mark Russell>Let's face it, in a popularity contest among the nations of the world, Italy would <v Mark Russell>win on artistic and culinary contributions alone. <v Mark Russell>And after centuries of civil wars and world wars, spirits remain <v Mark Russell>remarkably robust along this narrow boot, which appears to be drop kicking <v Mark Russell>Sicily over the goalpost. <v Mark Russell>Italy is unsurpassed in human creativity. <v Mark Russell>Its music, art and food. <v Mark Russell>You only had pasta once today? <v Mark Russell>You must be a foreigner. And what a uh, shall we say, interesting cast of <v Mark Russell>characters from Julius Caesar to whomever is the current prime minister this month. <v Mark Russell>I forget. From Luciano Pavarotti to Lucky Luciano, from the godly <v Mark Russell>Francis of Assisi to the godfather Frank Costello, to say the least, this <v Mark Russell>has never been a dull country. <v Mark Russell>You say you don't want that much excitement? <v Mark Russell>Well, Finland is nice.
<v Mark Russell>Oscar Wilde once said that Italy is a nation of 55 million actors, the worst <v Mark Russell>of whom are on stage. [inaudible chatter] [music plays]. <v Mark Russell>Grazie, <v Mark Russell>welcome to Milano. That's Milan to you tourists and in spite of the fact that it's a <v Mark Russell>center of finance,, industry and crass materialism, it's also the home of all those <v Mark Russell>saints up there. <v Mark Russell>I don't know how many saints are perched atop the Duomo Cathedral here, some books say
<v Mark Russell>300, others say a thousand. Anyway, it's a lot of saints. <v Mark Russell>So if you have the urge to pray for something, this is the place to do it. <v Mark Russell>And if only half the saints have their pagers turned on, you'll still get through. <v Mark Russell>After wars and air raids, they are still up there. <v Mark Russell>Not far from here. A direct hit was made on another church, Santa Maria Della Grassy, <v Mark Russell>completely destroying it, except for one remaining wall upon which Leonardo <v Mark Russell>da Vinci's The Last Supper just happened to be painted. <v Speaker>The painting is being restored as we speak. <v Speaker>In fact, it's been redone many times over the five hundred years since it was completed. <v Speaker>Experts disagree as to whether any of DA Vinci's brush strokes or even left. <v Speaker>So there are many last suppers, if you will, which must be penetrated before you get <v Speaker>down to the original one painted on Velvet. <v Speaker>That's the one with the Wonder Bread on the table. <v Speaker>Where to begin with Leonardo da Vinci? <v Speaker>The Mona Lisa with her emmick mattock smile. <v Speaker>In the 16th century, he had the concept of an enigmatic airplane painter,
<v Speaker>engineer, astronomer. <v Speaker>Could do it all. He knew how the human eye worked with the enigmatic retina. <v Speaker>He understood the solar system, but he didn't tell anybody otherwise. <v Speaker>Like Galileo, who also had this nutty idea that the planets rotated around <v Speaker>the sun. It would have been excommunicated from the Catholic Church and loses season <v Speaker>tickets to the Holy Cross home games. <v Speaker>In the world of opera, this theater, La Scala in Milan, is the holy of holies, <v Speaker>Verdi's Aida and Puccini's Madame Butterfly premiered here. <v Speaker>And when I think of all the works performed in this theater and by whom I tremble <v Speaker>and at the La Scala management could hear me sing, they would tremble. <v Speaker>Well, give it a shot. <v Speaker>Lay your arm or lay Biyombo. <v Speaker>Leave Myanmar. Know your. <v Speaker>So solar power or LA?
<v Speaker>Muscala was destroyed during World War 2, but later reopened with conductor Arturo <v Speaker>Toscanini in 1946. <v Speaker>Giuseppe Verdi. I mean, he wrote La Traviata, Rigoletto. <v Speaker>He wrote an opera called Attallah about Attila the Hun place in the fifth century. <v Speaker>But when it ran here in the 19th century, during the Austrian occupation <v Speaker>in the opera, an Italian citizen says to Attila the Hun would take the whole universe, <v Speaker>but leave Italy to us. <v Speaker>Well, this slip by the Austrian censors, it ignited the audience. <v Speaker>They started yelling out the phrase late, Talya, annoy the Italian, annoy, leave Italy <v Speaker>to us. And this inspired Italy's quest for independence. <v Speaker>And when they wanted, Giuseppe Verdi was elected to the first parliament. <v Speaker>Mallam, a center of Italian finance and commerce, is the home of La Borsa, <v Speaker>which is the stock exchange. <v Speaker>One thing about the Italians, they will not tolerate a bad tenor or a bad soprano,
<v Speaker>but a general or politician who cares. <v Speaker>What they want to know is can he say? <v Speaker>Almost to the Switzerland border at a lake called Komal. <v Speaker>I have a problem trying to decide where a paradise in this <v Speaker>life is to be found. It's either the west coast of Ireland, perhaps, or <v Speaker>here. The tiled covered villas and inviting little hotels <v Speaker>sloped gently into the liquid mirror through which fish can be clearly <v Speaker>seen 30 feet down. <v Speaker>And oh, look, they forgot to build a boardwalk. <v Speaker>If your idea of a feast for the eyes is a t shirt display or a video <v Speaker>game emporium, Lake Como is not for you.
<v Speaker>What it is is a pretty good example of how not to ruin a resort. <v Speaker>What has to be one of the oldest company towns in the world, Cremona, this <v Speaker>quiet hamlet on the Pole River, was devoted to the making of masterpieces, <v Speaker>rare stringed instruments bearing the most treasured of labels Stradivarius. <v Speaker>Each of these priceless instruments must be played every day. <v Speaker>As Professor Mosconi, director of Museums Stradivari, Mariani makes <v Speaker>his daily rounds.
<v Speaker>My partner on her own quadrilateral, soon I got married cuando not necessarily <v Speaker>my letter, but the verses, you know, I think we see Owls the Richaun, <v Speaker>which are coming at it. <v Speaker>David faribault, Kaser Cheetham, Elias's psycho-social say that come through and talk <v Speaker>us through metal there. Love radical to Joe Lieberman, our record man. <v Speaker>Said Shatto says they saw Okoro point out for integrating <v Speaker>love. Orono Fast oppresive anti-matter moneyless rovito grocery store <v Speaker>Popsicle DeMille which aren't all but and travyon in geology alone CHIRLA are picky <v Speaker>Porsha term on dollar initial argentino <v Speaker>epochal Kuzey C-Change or green dyscalculia Smokie Jirgah. <v Speaker>What pro-change of your lenience or no jaunty annoy a buried <v Speaker>of a store viana your own Chidi about this sanity it's possible to <v Speaker>mongo in quality only providing quality only bootlicking <v Speaker>a possibility that Dahlstrom A.S.
<v Speaker>really needs to be released of your lunch. At least pocket UTSA tanktop in <v Speaker>other amantha a two tier a.k 41 apartness full of orthotic. <v Speaker>It's already met with Opelousas of the audio. <v Speaker>Outrightly dizzying you modo least. <v Speaker>The violin making tradition lives on and Cremona, where I dropped in at the shop of these <v Speaker>enterprising young craftsmen. <v Speaker>How did you get started as a family they knew your father do? <v Speaker>No. <v Speaker>I'm the first in my family and my friend is his father. <v Speaker>He's a violin maker. Manali Finish it all to work.
<v Speaker>His father make only five or six violin. <v Speaker>And after the war and change at work <v Speaker>for a two, we turn for a family. <v Speaker>How many in in promoter? <v Speaker>How many shops like this are? <v Speaker>I think 100. <v Speaker>Really? Yes. <v Speaker>Yes. This is an only only violin making a thinking, <v Speaker>Ramona. And because we are about 200 <v Speaker>violin makers by butting in one shop, usually aseries <v Speaker>a choo choo violin maker. <v Speaker>You feel intimidated working in the shadow of Stradivarius. <v Speaker>I feel the Cremona is the first in the world for the violin <v Speaker>and for me. <v Speaker>If I change it down and maybe play, I <v Speaker>have no so good feeling weird. <v Speaker>We did a violin.
<v Speaker>You both played just a little. <v Speaker>Only 14 strings. <v Speaker>We have a good violin player. <v Speaker>They say we taste a day. <v Speaker>These demands a key ask. <v Speaker>I say if there is more good to change and maybe istrying or breed's <v Speaker>or sound post for change, it just a little sound. <v Speaker>We play music. I play clarinet. <v Speaker>Exactly. And they play guitar, but we play music. <v Speaker>You have to be the only sax player that made violins. <v Speaker>Yes, you may. <v Speaker>You must make your own reeds just with the leftover. <v Speaker>We pick up our story in the year 86 B.C., when the Roman ruler Pompey, the <v Speaker>great form, the first triumvirate with two other men, Crassus and <v Speaker>one J. Caesar.
<v Speaker>But Caesar and Pompey turned against each other and civil war broke out. <v Speaker>Keep in mind that throughout Italian history, civil wars are not uncommon occurrences. <v Speaker>They are on a par with basketball playoffs in the United States. <v Speaker>I happened to run into some Americans who were not exactly tourists. <v Speaker>G.i.'s and their families stationed at the casarett, my elderly army base <v Speaker>near the town of Vicenza, where they were relaxing and having a chili cookout. <v Speaker>Well, I gotta tell you, this is the high point of my career. <v Speaker>I am honored that I need it. <v Speaker>I am honored to be here. I respect you. <v Speaker>I tell ya after this, my career is over with because <v Speaker>all my life it has been a lifelong ambition of mine
<v Speaker>to appear alive on a flatbed truck at a chili cook off in <v Speaker>Italy. <v Speaker>You are the cream of the crop of the United States Army. <v Speaker>I'm cutting edge in this tumultuous part of the world, ladies and gentlemen. <v Speaker>Your mission is top secret medicos all the way up to the chain of command <v Speaker>where they do not know what your mission is. <v Speaker>That continues all the way up to the Oval Office and the White House, where he <v Speaker>doesn't know what your mission is. <v Speaker>I know what your mission is. <v Speaker>You are here at the ready in the event that Venice is attacked <v Speaker>by Florence. <v Speaker>I die. They are you. <v Speaker>I love my dream. <v Speaker>I did want to be shipped off to <v Speaker>it so that I was in my way.
<v Speaker>I wanted. Why are Malabo are timbuctoo? <v Speaker>Not at all. Everyone at <v Speaker>all. Not at the beach. <v Speaker>And Zah is my home. <v Speaker>I bought postcards of road souvenirs <v Speaker>from my lady at the P X at. <v Speaker>I haven't seen the waves down off the base. <v Speaker>Someday I'll come back and say, ANTOLINI, someday I'll come <v Speaker>back and say.
<v Speaker>Nazi Florence, we have arrived capital of Tuscany, <v Speaker>cradle of the Renaissance, instantly identified with its landmark domed <v Speaker>cathedral. This is where Michelangelo's Statue of David is. <v Speaker>It's also where the lesser publicized Amerigo Best Beauty was born. <v Speaker>And there are more priceless art treasures per square mile in Florence than just about <v Speaker>any city in the world. <v Speaker>Would I wouldn't have given to have been a renaissance man dining with the meninges, <v Speaker>hanging out with Dante. <v Speaker>Haven't people stopped me on the street saying, pardon me? <v Speaker>But where do the model for Michelangelo's statue of David? <v Speaker>Well, no, but thank you. David was a little taller. <v Speaker>We're not going to pay to see the original David. <v Speaker>We're not going to pay to see the original David and the Academia Museum because there's
<v Speaker>a free replica right here in the Piazza Senior year. <v Speaker>Long before there were Rockefellers or Vanderbilts, there were the messages of Florence, <v Speaker>this family controlled the wealth, owned the banks and even bought its own cathedrals <v Speaker>and put up statues of themselves. <v Speaker>They had their own cardinals, even their own popes. <v Speaker>Leo the tenth and Clement the seventh were relatives. <v Speaker>If the managers told you that God was a cousin, you didn't argue with him. <v Speaker>Some Italians who do not live in Florence will sneer and tell you that the city can be a <v Speaker>little, well, precious. <v Speaker>It didn't help when local artists like Azoulay and Lappy would paint scenes from the New <v Speaker>Testament and put Florence in the background instead of Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
<v Speaker>This rather crowded fresco by Ghazali is called Journey of the Magi. <v Speaker>So who are the wise men on the way to the manger? <v Speaker>There is KCMO Medeski and Pietro Medeski, the home energy clan. <v Speaker>On the way to Bethlehem with a detour through Florence. <v Speaker>To adorn their cathedrals, they needed nice pictures. <v Speaker>On the matter, cheap payroll was a promising young lad. <v Speaker>It was not only an accomplished painter, but he was handy with a chisel and marble. <v Speaker>His name was born a ROCE, you say? <v Speaker>Never heard of him? Yes, you have. <v Speaker>His first name was Michelangelo. <v Speaker>During World War 2, the Nazis blew up every bridge in Florence over the Arno River. <v Speaker>Except this one, Punta Vecchio.
<v Speaker>This bridge was begun in thirteen forty five. <v Speaker>So what did they do that the builders of America's sagging infrastructure didn't? <v Speaker>Easy. If you restrict traffic on your bridge to donkeys and horses, it'll last <v Speaker>longer. <v Speaker>Perhaps the greatest Florentin of all was don.t allegory. <v Speaker>Three hundred years before Shakespeare, Dante's Divine Comedy became the literary <v Speaker>masterpiece of record. <v Speaker>It was the first written departure from the form of Latin of the time to the common <v Speaker>Italian vernacular we know today. <v Speaker>The Divine Comedy was an epic, three volume, moralistic poem <v Speaker>in which Dante consigned historic figures popes as well as his friends <v Speaker>to heaven, purgatory or the fiery <v Speaker>inferno checklist.
<v Speaker>This was Dante's old neighborhood and place as sort of a divine comedy theme. <v Speaker>Let's say I had the paradise salad. <v Speaker>The Purgatory pasta and the blackened scampi from hell. <v Speaker>Oh, great, they come all the way to peace and to see the leaning tower, and here they are <v Speaker>trying to straighten it. Why that ought to boost tourism. <v Speaker>Hey, folks, a straight tower. <v Speaker>As of right now, it's still tilting to the right. <v Speaker>And who isn't these days? <v Speaker>The tower is about fifteen feet off perpendicular. <v Speaker>And before it was even finished, it was only three stories high. <v Speaker>The ground on one side started to sink. <v Speaker>Well, that's when the city planners must have said, hey, let it till it's gonna be
<v Speaker>straight. <v Speaker>Who's gonna come? I promised myself I wasn't going to come here to do all those goofy <v Speaker>touristy things like holding it up or pushing it down. <v Speaker>But I will tell you that Christopher Columbus once climbed to the top of the leaning <v Speaker>tower and looked out. And that's when he had the idea that the world was slanted. <v Speaker>Julius Caesar, with the historic crossing of the Rubicon River, defeated Pompey's forces <v Speaker>and entered Rome. He put up statues of himself. <v Speaker>He put his picture on the money. The word czar comes from Caesar. <v Speaker>The word Kaizer comes from Caesar, not to mention the salad. <v Speaker>When people met Caesar, they were required to extend their arms like this and say, Hail <v Speaker>Caesar. Well, a salute worked better for some leaders than others.
<v Speaker>You heard the expressions all roads lead to Rome when the roads get here, there one <v Speaker>way. Do as the Romans do. <v Speaker>Talk with your hands while you're driving. <v Speaker>Rome wasn't built in a day. <v Speaker>By noon that day, all the unions went on strike. <v Speaker>For the best view of Rome, you go to the top of the highest of its seven hills at the <v Speaker>American Academy, founded by J.P. <v Speaker>Morgan and other industrialists as a cultural center. <v Speaker>This villa was originally the headquarters of the father of modern Italy, Giuseppe <v Speaker>Garibaldi. <v Speaker>Nothing about Garibaldi was predictable. <v Speaker>This great Italian hero was born in France on the 4th of July. <v Speaker>As a young rebel, he was condemned to death for his revolutionary activities. <v Speaker>So he escaped to South America, where he participated in two revolutions just <v Speaker>to keep his fighting skills up to speed. <v Speaker>Twelve years later, he returned to Italy to form a volunteer army to drive out the
<v Speaker>French and the Austrians. Garibaldi's forces were practically wiped out. <v Speaker>And again, he fled for his life, this time becoming a candle maker <v Speaker>in Staten Island, New York, of all places. <v Speaker>Six years later, Garibaldi again went home, this time to join forces <v Speaker>with the king of Sardinia. Victor Emanu-El, the second. <v Speaker>And in 1861, after many battles, Italy was at last united. <v Speaker>The life of Italy's great hero would make a great movie starring George C. <v Speaker>Scott, of course. But you wonder about the course of history if Garibaldi had <v Speaker>been content to live out his life making candles in Staten <v Speaker>Island, New York. <v Speaker>When in Rome, it became my patriotic duty to try out the piano at the residents <v Speaker>of the American ambassador and Mrs. Reginald Bartholomew, enormous <v Speaker>debt to gratitude. <v Speaker>The American ambassador and Mrs. Bartholomew. <v Speaker>Welcome us here. I say welcome.
<v Speaker>I feel welcome, although I know that security is important. <v Speaker>I didn't expect the guard out there to throw my script into a bucket of water. <v Speaker>We are at the residence when you are on United States property overseas <v Speaker>and you are doing political satire. <v Speaker>It's a little risky. <v Speaker>The best way I know to get a tax order just like that. <v Speaker>We are taping here for PBS Public Television. <v Speaker>We're on the same budget. <v Speaker>As a matter of fact, I have. <v Speaker>I see they took away the piano bench already. <v Speaker>No, no. <v Speaker>We traveled all over the place and the scene now takes place in the year <v Speaker>80 A.D., the opening day of the world's <v Speaker>first major sports arena, the Coliseum. <v Speaker>I went up there to the Coliseum. The floor is not there anymore. <v Speaker>You know, they had a wooden floor.
<v Speaker>And you stand up there and I looked into the coliseum and I thought, <v Speaker>Jimmy Hoffa has gotta be down there. <v Speaker>It's all day, day for the past time. <v Speaker>Overall policy. <v Speaker>Just see the lions at home. <v Speaker>Beddings be gone. <v Speaker>Christians are. You know what? <v Speaker>That's sad. Or Taine for all the fans <v Speaker>here in Rome. <v Speaker>It's a large with tailgate party out where the chariots <v Speaker>are par. Here on this side. <v Speaker>All right. <v Speaker>C see the M for his <v Speaker>order, the game to beat the Lions, I know <v Speaker>it's our favorite to win. <v Speaker>And Nero is tuning his new Why
<v Speaker>the crowd misbehaves their main game the way <v Speaker>the seats are full body. <v Speaker>We toss a coin. <v Speaker>You better believe that. A lion. <v Speaker>They like to raise your hands. <v Speaker>Find them appeals, not the levels of field. <v Speaker>The lions are saying grace before meals. <v Speaker>There were no games last season without a pay hike. <v Speaker>The Major League Gladiators were on strike. <v Speaker>Call us. <v Speaker>Because Christopher Columbus discovered America after setting sail <v Speaker>with his four children, Nina, Pito, Tiffany and Larry. <v Speaker>You would think the United States of America would have been named after him. <v Speaker>But of course, America is named after the Italian explorer Amerigo.
<v Speaker>That's beauty. There are things in the Americas that are named after Christopher <v Speaker>Columbus, Columbia, the gem of the Ocean, District of <v Speaker>Columbia, a Columbia University, and the network that fired Connie Chung. <v Speaker>All right. Now we salute a man who's been kind of left out <v Speaker>of history. Amerigo, this beauty. <v Speaker>Columba's earned his legacy at last he did get in <v Speaker>our way called Columbia Best Buji gets the crowd. <v Speaker>We are called a Marich got a name which would inspire Colombias, <v Speaker>the name of one drug cartel supplier. <v Speaker>America's named after me. <v Speaker>That led vestibules, his bio colombus turned out to be <v Speaker>a dull town in Ohio. <v Speaker>I'll raise you two, and the actress said to Amber, we go
<v Speaker>see, it's right here on the map. <v Speaker>Hang a right at Porter. <v Speaker>Go. Italian in-flow and 2lbs Ferrari Fiat. <v Speaker>America sounds better than the United States on best Fugee Baragon <v Speaker>sound better than me, and I say it's off duty. <v Speaker>Well, you don't have to be Catholic to appreciate the splendor of St. Peter's Basilica <v Speaker>and all of Vatican City, this present church begun in fourteen fifty <v Speaker>five is the creation of, among others. <v Speaker>Michelangelo, who designed the dome and the exterior colonnades are the work <v Speaker>of Bernini. My wife and I were honored to have a private audience with Pope <v Speaker>John Paul. A second. <v Speaker>OK. There were 5000 other people there. <v Speaker>Our contact at the Vatican had been concerned that I might do something <v Speaker>undignified. When I got there.
<v Speaker>Wow. <v Speaker>I mean, what did they think I'd say? Congratulations on the restored ceiling of the <v Speaker>Sistine Chapel. Although the first time I saw it, Adam was not wearing a Rolex <v Speaker>watch. <v Speaker>I was introduced to the pope as an American on television. <v Speaker>And you know something? For the rest of my life, I'll never know if he thought I was <v Speaker>Larry King. <v Speaker>Three coins in the fountain. <v Speaker>To scoop them out is quite a mess. <v Speaker>Too bad that the fountain doesn't take American Express. <v Speaker>Three streets come together here and the Italian words for three streets are Trei <v Speaker>V. Hence we have the Trevi Fountain and the water flows <v Speaker>here from a grippers aqueduct built 19 years before the birth <v Speaker>of Christ. Well, you know the legend. <v Mark Russell>You toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain, make a wish, and if the coin floats back to you, <v Mark Russell>you will return to Hawaii. But only if the groundhog sees his shadow. <v Mark Russell>Something like that.
<v Mark Russell>A definite highlight of the Eternal City is the Pantheon. <v Mark Russell>Called the most single perfect building in the world since the Emperor Hadrian <v Mark Russell>built it in the second century, the Pantheon is an ideal place to get <v Mark Russell>off of the tourist treadmill and contemplate the perfection. <v Mark Russell>Remember this thing in the movie Roman Holiday? <v Mark Russell>Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn stood here called A Mouth of Truth. <v Mark Russell>Stick your arm in there. Tell a lie it'll bite your arm off, so better tell the truth. <v Mark Russell>Here goes. <v Mark Russell>Ah, Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, the budget will never be balanced and light beer <v Mark Russell>has as many calories as a regular beer. <v Mark Russell>[sighs in relief]
<v Mark Russell>Heading south toward Africa, we have left the European mainland. <v Mark Russell>We're still in Italy, but now the gravestones of antiquity have given way to <v Mark Russell>Mediterranean pastels. <v Mark Russell>Here in the capital of Sicily, Palermo. <v Mark Russell>Surrounded by serious mountains, Palermo is bright and sunny and after centuries <v Mark Russell>of being ravaged by everything from earthquakes to General Patent's tanks, <v Mark Russell>at this point in her life, she looks like a cross between oh maybe Televiv <v Mark Russell>and El Paso, Texas. <v Mark Russell>That's a compliment. <v Speaker>Before I went to Sicily, I had been forewarned not to bring up the M-word Mafia, <v Speaker>whereupon my guide Antonio Melodia, a proud Sicilian, brought the <v Speaker>subject up himself. <v Speaker>Wonder if people will know about this, though. <v Speaker>I associate the name with Mafia <v Speaker>walts Mafia. Many, many people will be asking me this question. <v Speaker>It's just crime. <v Speaker>And you get that all over the world. <v Speaker>Organized crime. And you got it here, of course.
<v Speaker>And now it's becoming sort of a legend. <v Speaker>Part of the country coming to Italy. <v Speaker>And you don't really think that Sicily will be worth coming along to see <v Speaker>to visit. First of all, I'm thinking about Gerta, a German writer. <v Speaker>He told around Italy and he came over to Sicily. <v Speaker>And then I thought and he wrote down in his book, said, well, you have to come to <v Speaker>Sicily, because that's the key for the understanding for the whole of Italy. <v Speaker>You have everything here is a concentration of wall things, <v Speaker>a wall, because a cultures, a lot of history that you find on the mainland. <v Speaker>We've got 3000 years of history, Sicilian, its own cultural background. <v Speaker>It's a literature in our language. <v Speaker>We're Sicilian and then Italian. <v Speaker>We'd like to have some kind of independence of our own. <v Speaker>It would have been a nice thing if just after the war, instead <v Speaker>of joining in Italy again, we would have become, as it was, nearly
<v Speaker>the forty ninth, the state of the United States of America. <v Speaker>You're kidding. I'm not. It's true. It's history. <v Speaker>We've got records. <v Speaker>We have politicians that contacted the president of the states of America. <v Speaker>The prime minister, the pope asking for all the political support, <v Speaker>the help that you need for the forming of a new country. <v Speaker>It's just that was for one year. <v Speaker>The piazza where this fountain is was once the center of all social activity <v Speaker>in Palermo. It was the place to see and be seen with your family. <v Speaker>But the city fathers thought that their town lacked culture. <v Speaker>And what was needed here was a nice, fancy fountain. <v Speaker>A delegation was sent to the renowned fountain makers of Florence. <v Speaker>And this was the one they pick. None other would do. <v Speaker>Well, let's just say that Florence is more cosmopolitan than Palermo. <v Speaker>And this design was based on Greek mythic figures. <v Speaker>And when it was unveiled, the people were shocked and they boycott of the piazza
<v Speaker>because after all, you wouldn't want to expose your wife and children to all this <v Speaker>obscenity. The people gathered elsewhere in this piazza became <v Speaker>forever known as the square of shame. <v Speaker>I don't know who this is, but I'll bet it did stand up comedy under the name of Leonardo <v Speaker>Jay Leno.
<v Speaker>Kharrazi. <v Speaker>Upon arrival in Naples, first thing I decided to do is leave Naples has modern <v Speaker>nondescript buildings. I wanted that I had to stay in the states. <v Speaker>Naples is grimy and congested again. <v Speaker>I would have stayed in the states Naples as a monumental crime rate. <v Speaker>I rest my case. Why don't I say something good about Naples? <v Speaker>Okay. It's close to Capri. <v Speaker>The Isle of Capri or Capri, if you want people to think you wear a Gucci underwear, <v Speaker>is that quintessential Mediterranean haven for those types who grew bored with the <v Speaker>French Riviera. They're all here. <v Speaker>The rich, the famous, and also the ones who are fighting extradition.
<v Speaker>A mast on your visit to Capri is the Blue Grotto, so named <v Speaker>because it's water due to a translucent trick of the sunlight is blue. <v Speaker>The only way to pass through the narrow entrance, as in tiny, rickety boats. <v Speaker>Never designed to contain an entire television crew now turning green. <v Speaker>Okay. All right. <v Speaker>On the Ides of March, a date that will live in infamy excuse me, <v Speaker>wrong date on this very spot in the ancient Roman Senate. <v Speaker>Julius Caesar was stabbed twenty three times by his political enemies and his old
<v Speaker>pal Brutus. We all know Caesar's last words at two brutal. <v Speaker>His next to the last words were. <v Speaker>I'd rather be in Philadelphia. <v Speaker>If you're looking for a place that's a little less frantic and definitely crime free, I <v Speaker>recommend nearby Pompei, where all of the inhabitants and their belongings <v Speaker>have been petrified and volcanic ash since the year 79 A.D., <v Speaker>which can cut down on the crime rate. <v Speaker>Nobody has made a move here for nineteen hundred years. <v Speaker>They don't even lock their doors. No police or anything. <v Speaker>So what was the deterrent? <v Speaker>The volcano. <v Speaker>On August 24th, 79 A.D., the violent Vesuvius not only <v Speaker>erupted, but split open as tons of lava, rocks and <v Speaker>mud rained down on Pompei, filling the air with toxic gas and
<v Speaker>fumes. The town, with all of its inhabitants and their treasures, <v Speaker>were instantly buried and trapped in silence until their discovery <v Speaker>in the sixteen hundreds. <v Speaker>Excavations slowly began in the 18th century and continues <v Speaker>today.
<v Speaker>These people probably suffocated, attempting to flee the wet volcanic ash <v Speaker>and casing their bodies formed molds, which unbelievably remained intact <v Speaker>for centuries. When the moles were discovered, they were filled with plaster, giving us <v Speaker>lasting impressions of the poor victims. <v Speaker>Right down to their facial expressions. <v Speaker>And what do we have here? <v Speaker>But the best little brothel in Pompeii, whose first century erotic <v Speaker>billboards inform the visitor that this ain't the public library. <v Speaker>The fact that the patrons were not preserved for identification is just as well. <v Speaker>For a walk through the past, you need a guide like Giuseppe Imparato. <v Speaker>Now, it was unknown when when did they first have an idea that there was <v Speaker>something something here?
<v Speaker>No, I wouldn't say so. You stirringly Pompei was known. <v Speaker>The only thing that nobody could judge where the location was <v Speaker>so accidentally during works for an aqueduct directed by <v Speaker>Dominique Fontana, one of the very famous Italian netiquette dates. <v Speaker>This man realized that every day, seeing his employees pulling <v Speaker>off different fragments, patterns, the engine, they knew there was something down here. <v Speaker>Yeah. He was almost sure about it. <v Speaker>So you forgot about the aqueduct to tell you in a simple way. <v Speaker>And he happened to discover Pompei. And then it was about the end of the 16:00. <v Speaker>What was the population of Pompeii when when the volcano erupted? <v Speaker>Twenty five thousand inhabitants. <v Speaker>We know about the centers left by Emperor <v Speaker>Titus. <v Speaker>You can see the actual tracks, wagon tracks or cherry attraction with stones. <v Speaker>And that is really something surprising, I would say, because <v Speaker>of it. Three stones technically say the stepping stones
<v Speaker>for offering a facility to people to walk across <v Speaker>during a rainy day when water flowing through scenes they had not created <v Speaker>as sewerage system yet. <v Speaker>So and also very interesting is that between the first and <v Speaker>the third stone, because we are speaking of three stepping stones, besides the <v Speaker>spaces where a wheel of a child can come through, there is a distance, <v Speaker>a real calculation of 4 feet and inches. <v Speaker>The gage of a Roman transportation stealing U.S. <v Speaker>Railways. The distance between a truck and another is of four feet in a ditch <v Speaker>and covered wagons. And yes. <v Speaker>And is still going back to the Romans. Oh, yes. <v Speaker>That brothel where those legal at the time? <v Speaker>I think so. It was legal to the point that we know also how much <v Speaker>could have been the admission fee consisting in two silver coins <v Speaker>called in Latin Access to Access MedImmune.
<v Speaker>And also it's very interesting that please build <v Speaker>in the only windings style street that was a Roman idea to give a better <v Speaker>chance to men, specially for married, how to disappear around the first corner. <v Speaker>They really made it good civic planning. <v Speaker>I think so. <v Speaker>Let me ask you this, too. Simply, isn't Mount Vesuvius overdue to <v Speaker>erupt again? <v Speaker>We think so, because the scenes in 1944, <v Speaker>it has been very, very quiet. No smoke comes out. <v Speaker>No explosions we can hear. So there is no parasitic activity, which is <v Speaker>generally cyclic and after 20, 25 <v Speaker>years. But more than that, he's already gone. <v Speaker>So we afraid that may erupt again like it erupted <v Speaker>in 79 A.D. all of a sudden. <v Speaker>Anytime. Anytime. Are you nervous? <v Speaker>Well, I'm not nervous, but I don't want even think about it.
<v Speaker>That's it. <v Speaker>There was a time in the known world when Venice was the gateway to everywhere, three <v Speaker>times larger than Paris and London combined, her empire covered the entire <v Speaker>Mediterranean trade with China and the fast lira to be made from <v Speaker>the Crusades made Venice a major seaport where profits were high <v Speaker>and scruples were low. <v Speaker>This city, a combination of Renaissance Exotic and Oriental Bazaar, <v Speaker>contains one hundred and fifty canals, which form one hundred and seventeen <v Speaker>islands connected by 400 bridges. <v Speaker>The streets are but narrow footpaths. <v Speaker>The entire town sits on millions of wooden pylons that are centuries old, <v Speaker>and if they ever became exposed to the elements and rotted or even their chief <v Speaker>Venice. That's why the only thing worse than a high tide is a low tide. <v Speaker>When they pull the plug.
<v Speaker>Central to all that is Venice as this bit of architectural understatements and Marko's <v Speaker>basilica begun in the year 10 15. <v Speaker>The church was built to hold the remains of Saint Marc, whose pet lion <v Speaker>is the city's logo, and apparently the lion could fly. <v Speaker>Mark Twain once said of this revered shrine of Christendom that it resembled <v Speaker>a giant water beetle sunning itself in the square. <v Speaker>It took Saint-Marc a while to get here. <v Speaker>For centuries, his body was buried in Egypt. <v Speaker>Eventually it was smuggled to Venice, hidden in a large basket of pork, <v Speaker>which the Moslems wouldn't touch, thereby guaranteeing safe passage <v Speaker>for the contraband. St. Mark's arrival in Venice is depicted here by the artist <v Speaker>Tenzer Relo. He appears to be in pretty good shape for a man who's been dead for a
<v Speaker>thousand years. <v Speaker>This solid gold altar panel is the Palo d'oro containing <v Speaker>300 hundred sapphires. <v Speaker>Three hundred emeralds. Thirteen hundred pearls and 15 rubies, <v Speaker>all stolen when the Venetians sacked Constantinople in the 10th century. <v Speaker>Please feed the pigeons. <v Speaker>They say that if the pigeons go away, Venus will fall. <v Speaker>The canals will drain, the Liora will drop and the tourists will stay home in Japan. <v Speaker>Any messages? <v Speaker>Just off St. Mark's Square as the Palace of the doges. <v Speaker>The rulers of Venice for over a thousand years. <v Speaker>The Dodgers were in office for life, passing the position down to their sons.
<v Speaker>Doges in Italian is ill dooce a title later adopted by <v Speaker>Benito Mussolini. <v Speaker>In the late 13th century, this became the Asia connection. <v Speaker>The port of entry for the fabulous delights brought by Marco Polo from the East, <v Speaker>silk and jewels, an opulent finery, not to mention salt and pepper, <v Speaker>parsley, sage, rosemary and time spices never before assembled in Europe. <v Speaker>Were it not for Marco Polo. Italy might have been known for its bland <v Speaker>food. <v Speaker>Where else but in this unusual place, would you find a shopping mall on a bridge? <v Speaker>No surprise when the bridge is the Rialto. <v Speaker>Incidentally, the birthplace of the bay.
<v Speaker>Speaking of bridges, this one building sixteen thirty seven was where a convicted <v Speaker>prisoners were led from a hall of justice to the dungeon. <v Speaker>It's called the Bridge of Sighs because through these windows, prisoners have their <v Speaker>last look at the outside world. <v Speaker>On a happier note, it was said that if a couple kissed in a gondola <v Speaker>while going under this bridge, their marriage would last forever. <v Speaker>And it worked until 1976, when divorce became legal.
<v Speaker>These gondolas are built by hand using eight types of wood. <v Speaker>Each one takes six thousand hours to complete. <v Speaker>Using tools 100 generations old. <v Speaker>And they cost a minimum of 30 thousand dollars apiece. <v Speaker>These men are Venice. <v Speaker>When Giuseppe Verdi's opera Rigoletto premiered in Venice, Verdi kept the <v Speaker>rehearsals under tight security because he knew that he had a hit song <v Speaker>in the ARIA, laid down a mobi, lay off the gondoliers, <v Speaker>got a hold of the song ahead of time. <v Speaker>They'd be singing it all over town, claiming it as their own. <v Speaker>It was our good fortune to just happened to be in Venice on a major holiday there. <v Speaker>The Feast of the Redeemer when the opening salvo. <v Speaker>But to our mother of all fireworks displays goes off the ground <v Speaker>shakes and the Grand Canal lights up like high noon. <v Speaker>Every gondola, yachts and rowboat and dinghy and town heads for the harbor <v Speaker>for the best view.
<v Speaker>And Carluccio. <v Speaker>I'll bet those guys hate that song. Santa lugia. <v Speaker>Suddenly a Dixieland musician hates when the Saints go marching in. <v Speaker>Think the next time in New Orleans I'll ask him to play Santa Luchi. <v Speaker>As these guys are singing When the Saints Go Marching In. <v Speaker>To have Caesar's allies Mark Antony and Octavia and wish to avenge his death, <v Speaker>but they had a falling out when Mark left his wife, who happened to be Octavia <v Speaker>and sister, to marry the Queen of Egypt, Elizabeth Taylor, <v Speaker>Octavian changed his name to Caesar Augustus and Rome flourished <v Speaker>under his rule. But upon his death, he was succeeded. <v Speaker>By history's renowned sleaze is to. <v Speaker>Tony. Tiberius. Cheech, Caligula. <v Speaker>COO coo Claudius and his wife Agrippa in her little lab. <v Speaker>Nero, who grew up to have his mom executed.
<v Speaker>Her last words were. Any word from the governor? <v Speaker>Oh, my son is the governor. <v Speaker>At this point, we venture away from the well-trod vistas of tourism for a side trip <v Speaker>to the mountainous Abruzzo region where the Apennines run into the Adriatic <v Speaker>Sea. The Abruzzo is unfettered. <v Speaker>Simplicity makes you aware that this must be the best evidence of ancient <v Speaker>Italy. <v Mark Russell>The capital of Abruzzo is L'Aquila, known for the Novantanove. <v Mark Russell>Nowantanove means 99. Why 99? <v Mark Russell>I'll explain in a minute, but first let me say Abruzzo L'Aquila Novantanove again. <v Mark Russell>It's fun to say. Well, legend has it that L'Aquila was formed <v Mark Russell>by the merger of 99 districts in which there were 99 castles and 99 <v Mark Russell>piazzas. There were also 99 fountains and 99 churches.
<v Mark Russell>Water from the Novantanove fountain gushes from 99 spouts in commemeration <v Mark Russell>of the legend. A bell in the town hall tower rings 99 times each <v Mark Russell>evening, which means nobody gets to sleep until 9 o'clock the next morning. <v Mark Russell>A considerable number of people from the Abruzzo migrated to the United States, including <v Mark Russell>the families of Madonna, Alan Alda and one of our show's producers, <v Mark Russell>?Leie de Chinzo?. <v Mark Russell>What a wonderful way to wind up our journey through Italy here in the hills of Abruzzo <v Mark Russell>as guests of this wonderful family reunion so from all of our families in the states <v Mark Russell>to this family, we want to thank you people in the states who've never been to Italy, if <v Mark Russell>they have half of the hospitality we've received, they'll be very, very lucky. <v Mark Russell>So grazie, grazie tanto and salute! <v Everyone>Salute! [music plays]
Mark Russell
Episode Number
No. 2005
Viva Italia!
Producing Organization
Contributing Organization
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
WSKG Public Broadcasting (Vestal, New York)
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Episode Description
Mark Russell makes his way through Italy by using comedy to explore culture and history. He begins in Milan and ends in L'Aquila.
Series Description
"MARK RUSSELL has been described as 'The funniest man on television' by TV Guide Magazine. He is also unique as a humorist in a number of ways. His comedy is not only funny, it is meaningful. It provides ironic insight into the world of national and international politics and the society in which we live. For over twenty-one years he has single-handedly raised political satire to a popular form reminiscent of Mark Twain and Will Rogers. He has built a large and loyal audience for his humor. "Since MARK RUSSELL has spent most of his adult life in the nation's capitol, his observations offer an insider's perspective. His commentary and song parodies, written exclusively by himself and presented 'live' on the PBS TELEVISON NETWORK, have provided his viewers with laughter and substance. He does not play down to his audience. He treats his viewers as thinking people, capable of appreciating the absurdities that surround [them] and affect their lives. "The MARK RUSSELL COMEDY SPECIALS are presented live in order for the [content] to be as up-to-the-minute as possible. His humor is as timely as the news itself. It requires the viewer to be informed, knowledgeable, open-minded and willing to appreciate the ironies presented to them. As proof of his success his programs have been consistently among the highest rated national programs on the network, usually in the top ten and often the top three. "For his courage and his belief in the intelligence of his audience, MARK RUSSELL is sincerely recommended for the prestigious PEABODY AWARD."--1996 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Producing Organization: WNED
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-9e35f8935bd (Filename)
Format: U-matic
WSKG Public Broadcasting
Identifier: cpb-aacip-2133c29f613 (Filename)
Format: 1 inch videotape: SMPTE Type C
Generation: Master
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Chicago: “Mark Russell; No. 2005; Viva Italia!,” 1996, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, WSKG Public Broadcasting, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “Mark Russell; No. 2005; Viva Italia!.” 1996. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, WSKG Public Broadcasting, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: Mark Russell; No. 2005; Viva Italia!. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, WSKG Public Broadcasting, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from