"It would be difficult to find a lovelier church nor one where the mosaics expressed more doubt..."
"Doubt" would have been the operative word for Ernest Hemingway. It was 1948 and although he was the most famous writer in the world, he was also in the midst of a creative drought, going on nine years since his previous novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), the great masterpiece about the Spanish Civil War.
In order to stoke his creative fire, Hemingway, age 49, revisited the site of his World War I wounding, northern Italy, which had provided material for some of his greatest short stories, as well as A Farewell to Arms (1929). In 1948 Italy was a few years removed from fascism and Italians had voted in their first democratic elections only months earlier. Barred under Mussolini, Hemingway's work was finally allowed to be translated into Italian.
Hemingway and Italy: Twenty-First-Century Perspectives