Today I was thinking about money.
But not about money in the trivial sense of making money, instead I was reflecting about the semantic aspect of money.
More precisely which message does a coin carry with itself, apart from its intrinsic monetary value?
In the course of history, kings and emperors have mint coins with their effigies; that was a way to declare sovereignty, economic power and prestige.
Later on, many governments started to mint coins and making bills with the effiges of famous scientists, artists and writers.
That said, if you happen to be on a coin or a bill with your face, then you have seriously made an outstanding work, and it’s worth mentioning and celebrating your genius worldwide.
And then the Euro came.
Every country adopting the Euro currency had to choose their preferred side of the coins, Italy included. Having to deal with 8 coins, and accounting for an immense cultural heritage, with dozens of famous musicians, artists, scientists and hundreds of monuments, Italy had to come to a compromise by selecting only a few of their representative idols and symbols.
So we have Castel del Monte (0.01 €), Mole Antonelliana (0.02 €), the Colosseum (0.05 €), the Birth of Venus (0.10 €), Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (0.20 €), The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius (0.50 €), the Vitruvian Man (1 €), Dante Alighieri (2 €).
Namely, of eight coins there are three coins speaking about Florence (the Birth of Venus, the Vitruvian Man and Dante Alighieri). Counting the fact that the Marco Aurelio was placed in the Capitoline Hill by Michelangelo, half the coins deal with Florence.
A city alone, that was chosen to represent, with its history and beauty, nearly the 50% of a whole country.