Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Memoria e Luce

This monument, Memoria e Luce (Memory and Light), was inaugurated along Padua's Piovego river in 2007 as a symbol of friendship between Italy and USA and an appeal against violence in the world. It sits just a few steps away from the Scrovegni Chapel, Padua's most famous tourist destination, and the train station.

Designed by Daniel Libeskind, a finalist for Ground Zero's Freedom Tower area, it bears a twisted beam from the World Trade Center's South Tower, still with its original construction number visible after the destruction.

The Regione Veneto decided to place this project in Padua with the glass-and-metal "book" structure opening in the direction of the former WTC.

The monument can be accessed from the street at Via Giotto.

At night, sometimes the monument's illumination colors change in a nocturnal rainbow of memory and emotion.

For an Italian perspective of the monument, read an article from Il Sole 24 Ore:


For as elegant as it is, I do not believe that the Paduans truly feel much of anything for this monument. It is a strange testimonial because it is primarily displays a tragic American problem that, although had some effects in Italy, did not directly hit this country. Italians do not personally know people who died in those towers. September 11, 2001 was a TV account and act of violence that shocked the world but was absorbed at a distance, just like most of World War II was a terrible event that Americans did not have to suffer much on their soil.

Did the politicians in Padua believe that their medium-small city would appear more important on a world-scale with this kind of "international" monument? Is it appropriate here? I am an American here and even question it sometimes.

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