February 17, 1600, Giordano Bruno, friar, philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and contrarian, among other things, was burned at the stake in Campo de' Fiori. Accused of heresy, the papacy used him to teach everyone a lesson-- regurgitate the party lines-- the sun revolves around the earth and don't contradict the Vatican. In the late 1880s, after Italy became a unified country, Rome finally erected a statue in honor of Giordano Bruno and freedom of thought. Each year, on the anniversary of his death, there is a celebration for Bruno and pensiero libero with wreathes, marching bands, and dedications.
Usually, the anniversary of Giordano Bruno inspires a certain pride in my heart but this year, I felt a little queasy when I realized that we (Italy) haven't had an elected prime minister in five years and since 2011, we can count four different PMs.