Episode 22 of our FREE Summer Series of articles with audio, on the medieval period in the Italian peninsula, is now ready. Below are the links, to that one, and to the club’s History page, where you’ll find the previous 21 along with all thirty articles from last year’s Summer Series on the Romans:
But what, or more correctly, WHO were the Guelfi and the Ghibellini? These terms are unfamiliar to non-medievalists, confusingly similar, and once you have found out what they refer to, hard to remember – the pronunciation, the spelling, and which one is which.
‘Guelfo’ sounds like pope, right? Actually it doesn’t, but that’s how I try to remember. Bemused? Then read today’s free article to catch up.
Or, if your Italian isn’t yet up to this roughly B2 (upper-intermediate) -level material, you could cheat and look at the Wikpedia page, which makes invaluable background reading. It also has a helpful list of which Italian cities were most associated with each grouping, and explains why that might have mattered.
I live in Bologna, in Emilia-Romagna, so according to Wikipedia it seems that if I’d been a player in medieval politics, I’d likely have been a ‘Guelfo’ rather than a ‘Ghibellino’.
If anyone ever invents a time travel device, that’ll be good to know, so that I don’t end up getting exiled and sentenced to death, like poor old Dante (remember him?) He was a ‘Guelfo’, too, though a white one, and so suffered much at the hands of the less compromising ‘black Guelfi’, perhaps the Taliban of their day, I couldn’t really say, but again, it helps fix it in the old memory banks – popes with white or black turbans…
Read all about the Guelfis and the Ghibellinis in today’s article!
Assuming that no one does successfully market a time machine (though I hear Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are both investing in feasibility studies), then should you choose to visit Italy at any point in the near future, you’ll have to deal with Covid 19 bureaucracy on your arrival, and perhaps on your return home again, according to where you live.
But on that front, there’s finally good news for travellers from the United Kingdom! Italian Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, apparently tweeted over the weekend that from September 1st, incoming British visitors will no longer be expected to quarantine for five days, at least, as long as they are either fully-vaccinated or can show a negative test result. I don’t use Twitter, but plenty of others do, and it’s all over the Internet, for example here.
For anyone from England, Scotland, Wales or Northen Ireland who might be pondering taking an Italian course in Italy (for example, in Guelfo Bologna), not having to isolate on arrival should simplify things considerably. Though I wish the Brits would reciprocate, by abolishing quarantine for travellers returning from Italy, not just to ease things for our homeward-bound British students but because I haven’t been back to see my parents and extended family for more than two years.
Talking of language schools, as we sort of were, this evening I’ll be back at ours – masked, temperature-checked, and dressed for work in a shirt and long trousers, rather than lockdown shorts and sandals, doing a short shift on the reception desk – the first time since October 2020.
If you’re in Bologna, do drop in, between 17.00 and 19.00, to say hello. Mask obligatory, proof of vaccination not yet so.
But the world, it seems, is heading back to something that could very generously be described as ‘normal’, and not before time!
I haven’t missed riding my motorbike each day in the murderous Italian traffic, though.