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THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2024 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 T he greatest cultural legacy of Italy is its millennia-long his- tory of intersections, c o n t a m i n a t i o n s , influences, mixtures, invasions, immigrations, emigrations, returns, travels, and contacts. From its role as an expansive power to becoming a coveted conquest target, the Italian peninsula has historically been a crucible where peoples, cul- tures, and civilizations merged and transformed. The Roman Empire, a quintessential symbol of Italian heritage, itself was a culmination of influences from various civilizations such as the Villanovians, the Terramare culture, the Samnites, the Sabines, the Etruscans, the Ligurians, the Camunni, the Celts, the Siculi, the Dauni, alongside the enriching contributions from Greek settlements in Magna Grae- cia and the bustling life of its coastal enclaves. Furthermore, The significant contribution of merchants like Marco Polo to Italian identity From the Editor Italy's vibrant trade networks spanned a multicultural Mediter- ranean, engaging with Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Egyptians, and Mesopotamians, making commerce a cornerstone of cul- tural exchange. The origins of what we now recognize as Italian history were a complex and dynamic amalgamation, a colorful mosaic filled with the dialects, customs, and traditions of countless tribes, ethnic groups, and distinct cities. The influence of the Etr- uscans, for example, who were among the last of Rome's seven kings, demonstrates the sophistication of Italic civilizations. Their architectural innovation, such as the use of the arch, was later adopted and popularized by Rome in its aqueducts, tri- umphal arches, and amphitheaters. This happened centuries before Rome's expansionist ambitions led it to the Punic Wars. The roots of many words in today's Italian reveal the depth of historical contacts and journeys. Merchants, inherently mul- tilingual and skilled in diplomacy, were pivotal in bridging dis- tant cultures. They not only traded goods like carpets, spices, and ceramics but also exchanged words that conveyed the cus- toms and traditions of far-flung societies, enriching both culi- nary and cultural landscapes. Among these intrepid traders who ventured beyond known frontiers, Marco Polo is emblem- atic. Seven centuries ago, Polo's extraordinary account of his trav- els to the Far East, documented in Il Milione, offers a profound ethnographic contribution to Italy's rich historical narrative, highlighting a pivotal chapter of intercultural engagement foundational to Italian civilization itself. In the 13th century, Venice emerged as the heart of the Mediterranean: its ships navigated the Adriatic, skirting the Croatian and Greek coasts, venturing as far as the Black Sea, Crete, Cyprus, and the lands of the Crusades, all the way to Egypt, epitomizing the city's central role in the Mediterranean trade and cultural exchange. During the nearly twenty years Marco Polo spent in China, along with the many spent journeying there and back, he gath- ered an immense amount of information, unimaginably vast. Had he possessed a camera, we would have witnessed a breath- taking world! He traversed diverse landscapes, encountered various peoples, observed unique customs, and discovered tra- ditions—an impressive kaleidoscope of experiences. Rustichello da Pisa, who transcribed Marco's accounts during their impris- onment, gifted us with the brilliant intuition not to let this rare and precious knowledge scatter. He provided not just an ency- clopedic understanding of medieval Asia but a wealth of insights that, from that moment on, became part of the West- ern world's heritage. The publication of his accounts initiated a seismic shift in worldview two centuries before Columbus voy- aged to America, themselves inspired by Il Milione: his work reshaped global perspectives, expanded horizons, and rerouted trade pathways. It significantly impacted navigation practices, revolutionized cartography and geographical understanding, and ushered in new technological and naturalistic insights. Through these contributions, Marco Polo's legacy offered remarkable revelations and substantially enriched the collective knowledge of the time. The ensuing contacts, the relationships forged along the Silk Road, and the paths taken by other merchants along the North African, Iberian, and French coasts, or northward to the chilly harbors of Antwerp, Hamburg, and Amsterdam, built a founda- tion of connections that became cornerstones of the peninsular culture. In a world already experiencing a primitive form of globalization, merchants served as economic vectors and cru- cial agents of cultural "upgrades." Through their trade, interac- tions between peoples became more frequent and stable, weav- ing a rich, varied, and full tapestry that gradually forged the immensely rich culture upon which Italy has been rooted for millennia. Simone Schiavinato, Editor Simone Schiavinato NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS Member of FUSIE (Federazione Unitaria Stampa Italianaall'Estero), COGITO L'Italo-Americano Please send correspondence to P.O. BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano Newspaper (a 501(c)(3) non- profit organization), www.italoamericano.org, is the largest and longest-running Italian news- paper in America, not to mention the cultural and news resource for all things Italian in the US. A bilingual newspaper which represents an historical landmark for the Italian American Communities in the West Coast and throughout the US. L'Italo-Americano benefits from subsidies by the Italian Government, Memberships and Donations intended to support and not interrupt a mission that began in 1908 to preserve and promote the Italian language and culture in the USA Periodicals postage paid at Monrovia, California 91016, and additional mailing offices. PUBLISHER Robert Barbera Grande Ufficiale EDITOR IN CHIEF Simone Schiavinato ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER Patrick Abbate EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Barbara Minafra COPY EDITOR Francesca Bezzone LOS ANGELES CONTRIBUTOR Silvia Nittoli SAN FRANCISCO CONTRIBUTOR Serena Perfetto SEATTLE CONTRIBUTOR Rita Cipalla CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mariella Radaelli, Matt Walker, Francesca Bezzone, Luca Ferrari, Stefano Carnevali, Paula Reynolds, Teresa Di Fresco Nicoletta Curradi, Generoso D'Agnese, Jessica S. Levy, Fabrizio Del Bimbo, Maria Gloria, Chuck Pecoraro, Anthony Di Renzo Serena Perfetto, Kenneth Scambray, Chiara D'Alessio, Luca Signorini, Giulia Franceschini © 2020 L'Italo-Americano Membership: One year $59 - Single copy $2.25 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to L'Italo Americano PO Box 6528 Altadena, CA 91003 P.O.BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 P.O.BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 Selling Homes Throughout The Bay Area Adele Della Santina "The Right Realtor makes all the di昀erence." 650.400.4747 Adele.DellaSantina@compass.com www.AdeleDS.com DRE# 00911740 Expert in preparation, promotion, and negotiation!

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