Rudy in Roma, 1923

What a magical time in my life, savoring the delights of the capital I had not previously known, and fêted, upon occasion, in that pursuit. As you know, Natacha did not accompany me in all of those days, having decided to return to Juan-les-Pins to be with family. So my task was to drink, figuratively ‘boire un coup’ ~ taste the fruits of my renown, and brush elbows with the movers and shakers of local and international film industry. I dreamed of doing a part in Europe, in Rome in particular, some Italian-based theme or project. Don’t think it did not cross my mind! Well, the visit to Nero (i.e. Emil Jannings on the set of “Quo Vadis”) was a soul-awakening experience, to what my home country had to offer, on a deeper, more spiritual level, which I was ready to comprehend then and there, and which I had been unaware of, for the most part, during my youth in Castellaneta and Taranto.

How grand was Rome, how inspiring its monuments, history at every turn, under every block of pavement! Bravo! I listened and I learned. This is what I did there: really saw, and really heard. In the sound of the crickets there is the murmur of the Senate and people of Rome, the roar of Vox Populi!” ~ Rudolph Valentino