The Closure of the Eternal City

Roma aeterna. The eternal Rome. So much history, so much life, so much death. Whoever says, New York is the City that never sleeps, has clearly not been to Rome… or simply narrows the meaning of sleeping.

Six months. Six months did I live and study Italian in Rome. Six months did I roam its museums, its parks, streets, markets, and churches (more than 900 are there). Listened to the chatter (il chiacchiericcio) of its students, shop owners, bus passengers, and tourists. A wonderfully unique time, without a doubt. Yet a tense time as well. Increasingly the pressure in my mind and on my heart “to make the most of it”. Considering Rome’s historical, ecclesiastical, political and, last but surely not least, artistic and cultural importance, my relaxed natural curiosity turned quickly into a sheer panting after the city’s glories, the city’s treasures, the city’s character. “Don’t miss a thing! Now you have the chance to see R.O.M.E!” No day was long enough to see enough. There was so much to discover, to learn, to admire, to reflect on, to soak in. And after a short while a subtle but stable feeling of guilt became part of the package.

The nostalgia that crept over me whenever I thought back on that time surpassed each “typical” nostalgia that I normally have for the past. This nostalgia was more. A Life-nostalgia. Having become for me a parable for life in general, these six months in Rome opened up thought perspectives and questions on all areas of being, mostly not offering an accompanying answer. These six months were Continue reading


About me

Giacomo Leopardi, the writer of L’Infinito, had a younger sister. Her name was Paolina and in some ways I feel like a little sister to him, too. Therefore Paolinetta. Like her I have an affinity for languages, for writing, and translating.  I enjoy living, thinking, speaking. “Speaking” merely because it helps me think (“How can one think if one is not allowed to speak?”). This blog owes its existence to this peculiar phenomenon. Welcome!


L’Infinito // The Infinite


L’ Infinito

Sempre caro mi fu quest’ermo colle,
e questa siepe, che da tanta parte
dell’ultimo orizzonte il guardo esclude.
Ma sedendo e mirando, interminati
spazi di là da quella, e sovrumani
silenzi, e profondissima quiete io nel pensier mi fingo; ove per poco
il cor non si spaura. E come il vento
odo stormir tra queste piante, io quello
infinito silenzio a questa voce
vo comparando: e mi sovvien l’eterno,
e le morte stagioni, e la presente
e viva, e il suon di lei. Così tra questa
immensità s’annega il pensier mio:
e il naufragar m’è dolce in questo mare.

Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837)

The Infinite

Always to me beloved was this lonely hillside
And the hedgerow creeping over and always hiding
The distances, the horizon’s furthest reaches.
But as I sit and gaze, there is an endless
Space still beyond, there is a more than mortal
Silence spread out to the last depth of peace,
Which in my thought I shape until my heart
Scarcely can hide a fear. And as the wind
Comes through the copses sighing to my ears,
The infinite silence and the passing voice
I must compare: remembering the seasons,
Quiet in dead eternity, and the present,
Living and sounding still. And into this
Immensity my thought sinks ever drowning,
And it is sweet to shipwreck in such a sea.
English Translation by Henry Reed