I am an anthropologist, historian and licensed tour guide.
My name is Barbara. So, I am barbarian, but I am also Roman.
The barbarian is a stranger, the one who is left out, the one who comes from elsewhere. It’s the person who has a different way of seeing and of being in the world, who has a different point of view.
A Roman, on the other hand, is a citizen, an insider, someone who was born into inclusion. The Roman point of view is to feel at home.
We are all Barbarians to someone else. The Romans were barbarians to the Greeks, the Goths were barbarians to the Romans, the Saracens were barbarians to the Goths, the Franks to the Arabs…
When approaching history – the events that have occurred, and the people responsible for implementing and determining them – we should always consider everyone involved. Being impartial, and careful not to mince words or showing reverence, we have to look at both points of view: the insider’s and the outsider’s.
In everything we examine, from great universal upheavals to little family anecdotes, we are reminded of the many voices that these stories contain. It is only by listening to all of them that we can truly understand the place, the time period, the story…and fall in love with it!
This is the idea behind the Barbarian Guide: telling the full history of a place by applying the broadest point of view possible.
Every traveler is a little bit ‘barbarian’ when in foreign land. My role as a tour guide is to be a translator, a mediator of understanding between the images and desires in the traveler’s mind and the complex reality of the place that I was born.
I was born Roman, but I have barbara (barbarian) in my name and in my heart.
Places, like people, are complex.
They reveal their best sides and hide their dirty laundry.
They exhibit their triumphs and bury the bad things.
It takes courage to really know a place, but the only way is to fall in love with it completely.
It takes courage, but also indulgence, lightheartedness, a sense of humor (also a sense of the ridiculous and penchant for the absurd)…
History is created by people, and people are and have always been beings with positive and negative qualities.
My motto, as a good Roman/barbarian guide is this:
"They may take our lives, but they’ll never take away our...
...gift of critical discernment, ability to understand history with a transversal gaze, respect for the facts, vision for the intricacies and expansiveness of our characters,
…respect for the losers and suspicion of the winners,
…beer at the end of the tour,
…pasta carbonara without cream,
…the dream of owning a home