dinsdag 8 mei 2012

13. How to gain prestige by losing your head!

Little Maia's friendly attempt to give me the shivers
like my guide book had asked me too.
That rich people wear different clothes than poor people, is something I have always known. That rich people eat different things than poor people do, I knew so too. That rich people have different hobbies, listen to a different type of music and make a different kind of jokes than poor people do, has never been a surprise to me either. But today, during the next task of my Milano tour, I learned about another difference between the rich and the poor (at least during the Middle Ages) that really surprised me! Today, I was supposed to visit Piazza Vetra and give myself the shrivers by reading about the original function of this cute little square in Milan where you can find loads of children playing on a large and beautiful playground while their parents have an aperitivo in once of the nice bars around. Friendly, joyful atmosphere, so what’s supposed to give me the shivers than? The fact that for centuries, Piazza Vetra was the official execution place of Milan where an incredible number of people lost their head. At least, if you weren’t lucky enough to be part of the fancy jet set of Milan. In this last case, you would have had the pleasure to be decapitated on Piazza Broletto (where I used to whisper fruitlessly in some dark corner, remember?). Now isn’t that unbelievable? That even by cutting off somebody’s head at one place rather than at another, people were able to create a difference between the rich and the poor (and therefore between the level of prestige of this “social event”). I can already see the scene: two Milanese snobs trying to find out who of them is more fancy. “So where did you say your husband got decapitated? Ah, at Piazza Vetra. My condoleances.” - “And yours, Madame?” - “Oh, mine somewhere near the Duomo. What’s the place called again. Oh yes, I remember. In Piazza Broletto.” - “In Piazza Broletto? Really? Complimenti, Signora!”

Piazza Vetra. From execution place for the not so fancy
 to playground for children of any kind!

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