As with travelling to many parts of the world, Italy forces you to recalibrate historical timelines. In Portland, we marveled at the “1915” stamped into a concrete corner near our home, marking when sidewalks where first laid out in our newly-founded neighborhood.
In Genoa, we’ll routinely walk across streets and floors that are hundreds of years old, including this date marker on the marble floor in a local church:
For the girls, it’s especially difficult to grasp these notions of time. At the site of the first monastery in Genoa (Santa Maria di Castello) we saw a gravestone from 1493, and tried to help the girls understand this date in the context of Columbus’ first voyage to the new world – noting that he was born in Genoa. Even this didn't make much of an impression.
So, we looked at the physical impressions on the stone stairs in our apartment building: comparing the nearly unscathed top stairs on our 5th-floor apartment’s landing to the wear on the entryway steps from over 150 years of foot traffic.
That caught their interest for a moment…until a cool lizard scurried across the path in front of our building!
Maybe the real lesson is for us, since the girls are much more “present” with what’s going on currently. At the moment, that includes the start of school on Monday: a timeline they are definitely tracking, and that's making a significant impression!