In 1961 George was in Rome studying architecture. In those days you could easily walk the streets of the Italian capital and admire its architectural monuments, taking ideas from the rich past of the Eternal City. There the style of the various eras focuses one’s gaze to be stamped on one’s memory. On 27 October, under the usual cloudy sky, he found himself near the Piazza Della Repubblica, heading towards the subway station when he approached some outdoor bookstores along the side of the road, which in those days were rich in printed material from another era.
His eye fell on a book that was bound in the old way and very worn on the outside. No one paid any attention to it. When he opened it, he remained transfixed on the old photos inside from the Middle East. It was an album of memories of a P. Balestra who had visited the area, perhaps in 1882. He doesn’t know why, but felt a strange attraction to that album; in spite of his financial difficulties, he bought it, haggling the already low price of 500 lire, about €0.26.
The years have passed since then, but he often looked through it with friends and noticed everyone’s interest in it. So after 40 years, George decided to research the album, giving it the same title as P. Balestra had, “Ricordi d’ Oriente” – “Memories of the East”.