Friday, June 23, 2006

Plaza Italia

In our continuing effort to photograph all of the plazas in Mendoza the three of us visited Plaza Italia a couple of weeks ago. Plaza Italia is probably the second most visited plaza in Mendoza and while it has a certain beauty to it, it differs from Plaza Espana in two ways:

First, where Plaza Espana attempts to glorify the presence of early Spaniards in Mendoza, Plaza Italia makes no such attempt. In fact, it has been really hard to determine when the Italians first arrived in Mendoza and what they have contributed to the city. But, after much considerable research we have found the answer. There were two waves of Italian immigrants to Argentina in the last century. The first was in the late 20's and early 30's. This group was made up of mostly socialists and communists who were fleeing the fascist government. The second was in the late 40's and early 50's. This second group was primarily fascist sympathizers who were fleeing the socialists and communists who were in charge of Italy at the time. So, sometime in the late 40's they all got back together in Argentina. That probably goes along way to explaining the varied political leanings in Argentina. And, you can imagine the first time the group of Italian expats met in Mendoza – “Didn’t you used to try to oppress my family for our political leanings?”

Second, where Plaza Espana has beautiful tile work, Plaza Italia has great sculpture. The centerpiece being the sculpture of a woman riding a horse coming out of the fountain. It is an interesting piece and takes a couple of looks to realize that it is indeed a woman on a horse. But, once you get the idea it is quite pretty (some photos).

That is about it for this Plaza. Next on our list is Plaza de San Martin, one of several hundred memorials to the Protector of the Andes. More on that in a couple of days.



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