I was sitting in the U. S. Military compound in Vicenza, Italy assigned to a nuclear site nearby, it was seemingly built during WWII, I presume so, it looked much before my time anyhow, larger bricks than normal, than contemporary that is Paquetes de viajes a Jordania, old mortar in-between them. At first I took a liking to the place, it wasn’t big by acreage, but the city would tranquilize me much more, later on. It was a short bus ride away. And the nuclear site was beyond the city limits out in kind of an isolated area, more rustic geology.
I had arrived to this duty station from Fort Rucker in Alabama, where I had been a Staff Sergeant, aviation school for helicopter pilots, in the United States. During the in processing, at this Italian compound, my new duty station (for a month), I was ordered to attend a two-week class on Italian culture, and its language; the building was on the compound and not all that from barracks. I didn’t really care to jump into my new duties, it was much more revitalizing to take it at a slow pace and I got my wish.
It was the first of April 1980, a chill was in the air, one that provoked you to wear a sweater, or a ting heavier cloths; also, it was starting to rain, and the big toads of the nuclear site were carrying their young on their backs, I think the mud was too much for them.
—“It is finished!” said my instructor of the cultural program (it was Friday), I do not think there were grades handed out, I can’t remember, only attendance was marked each day and afternoon; so we all passed with flying colors. There were perhaps twenty of us in class, the new troops on the block, you could say. I put my hat on my head and motioned farewell to the teacher with a quick ‘Thanks,’ and started to leave the room.
“Wait a little,” said she to the class, as they had also stood up to go to lunch at the mess hall. “,,,today if you want I can take a group of you after lunch to the downtown area to see a few sights, the market, and [a pause as if she didn’t want to commit herself too deep], and we shall see what is open to visit.”
So now, going along the busy streets in a bus were several of us uniformed soldiers, with an Italian lady that spoke not perfect English, but good enough, “Use your new words…” she suggested to us as we had previously entered the bus, and now I was indeed using them to excuse myself from constantly bumping into everyone; the bus, or the driver or perhaps the cobblestone road made me look clumsy, it was ever five minutes I had to pardon myself.
The inner-city center was about three miles away, there was a marketplace we stopped at first, a long row of large umbrellas, and a long building to its side, I walked up to the second floor looked over the balcony, and then joined the rest of the group again: checking out some of the merchandise in the process. They were selling cloths, fruits, and other items, many things.
“Your Italian is already useful to you,” she commented to me, as we wedged through the people of the city on the city’s streets, then we went through an archway and down to the 16th century (1550 AD) building known as Palazzo Chiericati the Museum of Vicenza now; this building was once completely surrounded by water. Like the basilica (completed in 1617 AD), it follows classical prototypes with the Doric order. Similarly, this civic building has open loggias; the strong horizontality is countered by statues on the flat roof, which punctuate the vertical elements; this building, along with others was designed [architecture] by Pallidio; perhaps that is why the city is called, “The Designers City.”
The Biblioteca [Library] founded by Demetrio Zaccarie, has some 35,000 books. And the river that runs through is the Bacchiglione. But even more than the renowned Palazzo Chiericati, what stuck me was the Tleatro Olimpico (1580 AD) [Teatro Olimpico di Vicenza] a most beautiful three-dimensional stage type theater. We all sat on the wooden rotunda like step-seats, and listened to the history by its caretaker of sorts. Like a number of other buildings in Vicenza, Andrea Pallidio also designed this one. Actually this was his last work, and perhaps his best. Your eye will be rapidly caught by the stage as mine was, at the center of which is a large arch capped by the emblem of the town. The main body of the stage represents a square, while behind it are the five streets of Tebe, created by Scamozzi who went beyond Palladio’s original intentions. We all were kind of uncultured, but we could not help but be taken in by this masterpiece; it was across from the Museum.
In addition to its building designs, I learned this city was famous for its wine, as well as its gold, as well as its underground tunnel system. Hence, we walked, or I walked her streets until dark that evening, and I’d return a number of nights to visit her streets again, and buildings throughout my stay in this wondrous city, I had no idea would be so amazing.
I was sitting in the U. S. Military compound in Vicenza, Italy assigned to a nuclear site nearby, it was seemingly built during WWII, I presume so, it looked much before my time anyhow, larger bricks than normal, than contemporary that is, old mortar in-between them. At first I took a liking to the place, it wasn’t big by acreage, but the city would tranquilize me much more, later on. It was a short bus ride away. And the nuclear site was beyond the city limits out in kind of an isolated area, more rustic geology.