Don’t hate your enemy

I too like Sedaka's maxim: “Don’t hate your enemy”.

(As with so many other words, the definition of "hatred" is constantly being widening and weakening from "deep and emotional extreme dislike" to mere criticism of legally "protected" groups who can then financially and professionally damage such speakers - supported by a growing popularity for repression, but that is a discussion for another day.)

Using hatred in it's "true" historical sense, I read an interesting discussion of the history of hatred within the IDF which quotes the head of the Palmach, Yigael Allon in 1962: “There is no need to hate the enemy in order to fight well. It is enough to love the homeland.”

But, having gained consensus about the damaging and counterproductive effect of hatred in politics and the military, there is a growing demand to require an extreme form of another emotion - empathy.

The recent film "Eye in the Sky" portrays a possible outcome of extreme empathy: paralysis in political and military decision-making and disabling of soldiers. Whether this is true or not, Emile may know better, but it does seem amazingly disproportionate compared to the aerial bombing campaigns of 70 years ago.

I would suggest that the emotions of hatred and of empathy are at odds with effective political and military action.

As Keegan put's it "the deliberate injection of emotion into an already highly emotive subject will seriously hinder, if not indeed altogether defeat, the aim of officer training. That aim, which Western armies have achieved with remarkably consistent success during the 200 years in which formal military education has been carried on, is to reduce the conduct of war to a set of rules and a system of procedures – and thereby make orderly and rational what is essentially chaotic and instinctive."

Citizens in a free society are free to explore all action other than that specifically prohibited i.e. they have freedom to innovate within the law. (This freedom is rapidly disappearing in the "nanny state" but that question is for another day).

The military should have a similar freedom of action (and innovation) within the "laws of war".

But humans are contrary creatures.

Whether it is through drone strikes, aerial bombing, shooting a soldier, or topping one's parents to get the inheritance, killing dispassionately as a technical or strategic option in the absence of hatred - or indeed any emotion - is even more shocking to many people.

Hate is a powerful but very understandable human emotion. Legal systems around the world (in my view mistakenly) accept the emotional state of the killer as a modifier of consequences of an act.

The most extreme example of this is defensive homicide where a murder can be justified on the basis of fear of an imagined assault or a repeat of a past assault.

The emotions at play in these extreme circumstances include differing degrees of hatred, but our legal systems seem to accept human emotion as a partial justification for killing our enemies.

On the other hand, to kill one's enemies without hate can seem inhuman.

It is a paradox, that dispassionate slaughter is often more shocking than the same act fuelled by passionate hatred. When Islamist children calmly and methodically slaughter, there seems a calmness about their work which seems inconsistent with the arousal we might accept as at least a partial explanation for such acts. When bombs are dropped on camps and towns, the pilots exhibit a similar composure.

In conclusion, I completely agree that hatred should never be policy. When it arises within individuals, it should be seen as understandable, but regrettable. The expression of emotion in any open society should never criminalised, but should be openly condemned.

I also suggest that empathy should never be policy. When it arises within individuals, it should be seen as understandable, and laudatory, as long as it does not prevent the execution of duties.

In the exercise of political and military action, we should explore the meaning of justice and fairness.
Empathy is a valid influence within the individuals that compose these laws and policies, but is far to "emotive" to be built into these laws and policies.

Brexit: A crisis caused by the failure of western elites

La Traviata

Everything in the universe has billions of dependencies on past events.
When I listen to a piece of music, I very often try to tease out some of them, and occasionally research a few that spark my interest. 
"My interest" of course, is dependent on my inherited brain structure and the events that I have experienced. 
Nothing larger than atoms exhibits truly random behavior.... But conduco traviati (I lead you astray)...

All stories begin about 14 billion years ago in a bright stupendous explosion and will in the far distant future as cold dark silence.
Luckily, animals like our selves have been shaped with an irrational optimism and an exaggerated sense of our own importance.
Thus we rarely consider the larger context within which our lives and our works lie.
We nearly always hop over the 10 billion years of clumping of heavier elements. We skip over the formation of earth about 4.5 billion years ago, and jump to the very recent start of life on earth 3.5 billion years ago.
But we are still a long way from La Traviata. It wasn't until about 500 000 years ago that Homo began throwing it’s weight around.  Voicing and drumming were probably part of humanoid experience about 300 000 years ago - probably serving purposes similar to this opera - individual sexual display and group bonding, among many other uses.
When our sapiens ancestors developed about 200 000 years ago, an immense cultural explosion occurred - probably powered by the arrival of self-awareness. This explosion is certain to have impacted on music. Unfortunately, the music leaves no trace, but at least a few examples of sapiens music technology remain.  The oldest human musical instrument ever found is a 35 000 year old flute and was found in Germany - not far from the land of La Traviata. The role of music, at least in Europe, almost certainly paralleled the development of language, and became a vehicle for culture. Moral lessons and shared explanations for the world such as stories, were embedded in music to make them more powerful and more effectively transmissible.

Analysis of human history and the development of complex musical forms between 35 000 years ago and 150 years ago, will have to be explored another time.  This is not an attempt to trace all the antecedents of this piece of music, but to try to kindle wonder at the interconnectedness of the universe that surrounds this amazing music. 

But why La Traviata ?

One way to way to answer this is experiential rather than factual....  Listen...

Opera La Traviata Act 1 Sc02a Libiamo Ne' Lieti Calici (3:02)  (Youtube)

ALFREDO
Libiamo, ne' lieti calici  (Drink from the joyful glass,)
che la bellezza infiora,  (resplendent with beauty,)
e la fuggevol ora  (drink to the spirit of pleasure)
s'inebrii a voluttà.  (which enchants the fleeting moment.)
Libiam ne' dolci fremiti  (Drink to the thrilling sweetness)
che suscita l'amore,  (brought to us by love,)
poiché quell'occhio al core  (for these fair eyes, irresistibly,)
(indicando Violetta)  (indicating Violetta)
onnipotente va.  (pierce us to the heart.)
Libiamo amore, amor fra i calici  (Drink - for wine)
più caldi baci avrà.  (will warm the kisses of love.)

TUTTI  (ALL)
Ah! Libiam, amor fra i calici  (Drink - for wine)
più caldi baci avrà.  (will warm the kisses of love.)

VIOLETTA   (s'alza)  (VIOLETTA   (rising)
Tra voi saprò dividere  (I shall divide my gaiety)
il tempo mio giocondo;  (among you all;)
tutto è follia nel mondo  (Everything in life is folly,)
ciò che non è piacer.  (except for pleasure.)
Godiam, fugace e rapido  (Let us be joyful, for love)
è il gaudio dell'amore,  (is a fleeting and short-lived joy.)
è un fior che nasce e muore,  (A flower which blossoms and fades,)
né più si può goder.  (whose beauty is soon lost forever.)
Godiam, c'invita un fervido  (Be joyful - a caressing voice)
accento lusinghier.  (invites us warmly to joy.)

TUTTI  (ALL)
Ah! godiamo, la tazza e il cantico  (Ah! Be carefree - for wine and song)
la notte abbella e il riso;  (with laughter, embellish the night.)
in questo paradiso  (The new day breaking will find us still)
ne scopra il nuovo dì.  (in this happy paradise.)
VIOLETTA   (ad Alfredo)  (VIOLETTA   (to Alfredo)
La vita è nel tripudio.  (Life is only pleasure.)

ALFREDO (to Violetta)
Quando non s'ami ancora.  (For those who don't know love.)

VIOLETTA: Nol dite a chi l'ignora.  (Speak not of love to one who knows not what it is.)
ALFREDO: È il mio destin così.  (Such is my destiny.)

TUTTI  (ALL)
Godiamo, la tazza e il cantico  (Be carefree - for wine and song)
la notte abbella e il riso;  (with laughter, embellish the night.)
in questo paradiso  (The next day breaking will find us still)
ne scopra il nuovo dì.  (in this happy paradise.)

The powerful emotional response that music evokes in some people is almost certainly built into our genes. The survival value of a response to emotional sounds and rhythms made by group members is harnessed and refined in the techniques of composition and of instrument design - especially the amazing plasticity of the human voice.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_voice

Almost at every line of the opera, more dependencies appear that could be researched:  
Males and females of mating age engage in group bonding activities like singing, dancing and drinking alcohol.
The origins of dance https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dance#origins is probably many thousands of years old and parallels singing and drumming. Here it is used as a stylized technique for bodily contact to aid  couples in seeking a mate.
Alcohol was almost certainly discovered through accidental fermentation probably more than 10 000 years ago. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_alcoholic_beverages
Distillation was widespread in Europe from about 800 years ago. 
In this context, alcohol lowers socially learned inhibitions about movement, speech and bodily contact to increase the chance of mating. 
Singing, dancing and drinking among humans reaching mating age will probably always be a contentious issue in human societies - as here - because it leads Alfredo to fall in love with Violetta. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance_(love)
Romantic love has a hotly debated history with many arguing that it is quite a recent human mental state produced by intense social conditioning. Many humans bizarrely believe that love, rather than procreation, is the central purpose of life.

Certainly, Alfredo does....
After the party breaks up, Alfredo professes love, but Violetta holds him at arms length, offering only friendship.

Opera La Traviata Act 1 Sc03a Un di', felice, eterea (3:31) (Youtube)

 ALFREDO
Un dì felice, eterea,  (One day you passed before me,)
mi balenaste innante,  (happy and light as air,)
e da quel dì tremante  (and ever since that day,)
vissi d'ignoto amor,  (even without knowing it, I loved you -)
di quell'amor ch'è palpito  (with that love which is the very breath)
dell'universo intero,  (of the universe itself -)
misterioso, altero,  (mysterious and noble,)
croce e delizia al cor.  (both cross and ecstasy of the heart.)

VIOLETTA
Ah, se ciò è ver, fuggitemi.  (Ah, if this is true, then leave me -)
Solo amistade io v'offro:  (I offer you only friendship:)
amar non so, né soffro  (I cannot love, nor can I accept)
un così eroico amore.  (so heroic a love from you.)
Io sono franca, ingenua;  (I am simple and frank.)
altra cercar dovete;  (You must find another.)
non arduo troverete  (It won't be hard, then,)
dimenticarmi allor.  (for you to forget me.)

ALFREDO:   Ah, amore misterioso, altero, croce e delizia al cor.  (Love mysterious and noble, both cross and ecstasy of the heart.)
VIOLETTA: Non arduo troverete dimenticarmi allor.  (It won't be hard, then, for you to forget me.)

The reasons for Violetta's reticent are central to the plot of this Opera.  

Aha! What is opera ? Another opportunity to conduco traviata.  
Opera https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origins_of_opera#/search was born in Italy about 400 years ago as a musical form paying homage to the use of the Greek chorus https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_chorus more than 1500 years ago.
Opera had other more contemporary midwives in both religious and secular music because every important cultural entity eventually utilized the advantage that music offered to store and transmit meaning.
About 400 years ago, opera became a political tool used in spectacular displays to reinforce the legitimacy of ruling elites.

If we leap forward to La Traviata, political messages were still being embedded within operas, but not always in favor of the ruling elites - or even of contemporary morality.

We need to consider a crucial dependency of this opera. 

In 1839, a 15 year old girl, Marie Duplessis, came to Paris from rural poverty and got a job as a dressmaker. She could not help but notice the lustful and adoring looks from the prominent men visiting the shop. Deciding that this was her best life chance, she studied hard, learning to read and write and to discuss topics of the day, and within a year was an immensely popular courtesan - hosting a salon where politicians, writers, and artists gathered for stimulating conversation.  
She became the mistress of a series of prominent men including Franz Liszt.  Another of these lovers was Alexandre Dumas Junior (son of the author of "The Three Musketeers" who wrote a play about Marie in which she was called The Lady of the Camellias - alluding to her use of red and white camellias to indicate her sexual availability.

Ahh.. another thread to be followed, a historical dependency to be explored. Reproduction in human society is central to our existence as a species as well as to ensuring that people with certain gene sets remain dominant. The lives of women in human society has almost always been less free than the males that they mate with. Indeed, as the producers of children, they were (and still are in some places) treated more as property than person. 
Courtesans https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courtesan provided sexual enjoyment for men whose duty was to procreate with wives for social advantage. Verdi's selection of a mate defies this social expectation. He mates for love.

In 1852, Verdi, an immensely successful composer, is a looking for inspiration for his 19th opera.  He travelled to Paris with his mistress, Giuseppina Strepponi, and they saw this play. For Verdi, the play probably resonated with him because Giuseppina was not married and yet had multiple children.  Before the trip to Paris, Verdi had seen Giuseppina being publicly shunned in his home town - even by his parents.   Verdi, immensely famous and a rich benefactor to his town, and his father, felt Giuseppina's pain - and expressed it through his opera.
For him, the politics is personal: the social condemnation of la traviata - "fallen" women.

Meanwhile back in the opera Violetta allows herself to love Alfredo.

Opera La Traviata Act 3 Sc6a Parigi O Cara Noi Lasceremo: (Youtube) (4:41)

ALFREDO:  Parigi, o cara, noi lasceremo, (From Paris dear, we shall go away,)
la vita uniti trascorreremo; (to live our lives together.)
de' corsi affanni compenso avrai, (We shall make up for all our heartache,)
la tua salute rifiorirà. (your health will come back again.)
Sospiro e luce tu mi sarai, (You will be the light of my life,)
tutto il futuro ne arriderà. (the future will smile upon us.) 
VIOLETTA repeats as if in a dream.  They both repeat.

Love, as the basis for mating, is also frowned upon in the opera through the role of Germont, Alfredo's father.

Germont seed disaster for his family if Alfredo and Violetta persist in their love affair.  The scandal is predicted to derail the marriage of Alfredo's sister. Germany asks Violetta to sacrifice her chance at illicit happiness to safeguard the righteous marriage of Alfredo's sister.

Opera La Traviata Act 2 Sc05a Pura Siccome Un Angelo (1:48) (Youtube)

GERMONT:  Sì! (Yes.)
Pura siccome un angelo (God blessed me with a daughter,)
Iddio mi diè una figlia; (like an angel in her purity;)
se Alfredo nega riedere (if Alfredo refuses to return)
in seno alla famiglia, (to the bosom of his family,)
l'amato e amante giovine (the young man in love and beloved in turn,)
cui sposa andar dovea, (who was soon to marry my daughter,)
or si ricusa al vincolo (would reject this bond)
che lieti ne rendeva. (on which our happiness depends.)
Deh, non mutate in triboli (Ah, do not be the cause of changing into thorns.)
le rose dell'amor. (love's roses.)
A' prieghi miei resistere no, no ( I pray that you resist no, no)
non voglia il vostro cor. (do not let your heart)

VIOLETTA
Ah, comprendo - dovrò per alcun tempo (Ah, I understand - I must leave Alfredo)
da Alfredo allontanarmi - doloroso (for a time. It will be painful)
fora per me - pur - (for me - yet -)

GERMONT:  Non è ciò che chiedo. (That is not what I ask.)
VIOLETTA:  Cielo, che più cercate? (Heaven, what more can you ask!)
Offersi assai! (I offered much!)
GERMONT:  Pur non basta. (But not enough.)
VIOLETTA: Volete che per sempre a lui rinunzi? (You want me to give him up forever?)
GERMONT:  È d'uopo! (You must!)
VIOLETTA: Ah no! - giammai! No, no! (No - never! No, no!)

The role of Germont is crucial to the story and given prominence and power through the music.
Germont implies that their illicit relationship is based on lust and will fade over time leaving only recrimination and bitterness.

Opera La Traviata Act 2 Sc05c Un Dì, Quando Le Veneri (2:39) (Youtube)
GERMONT
Un dì, quando le veneri (Once time has stalled)
il tempo avrà fugate, (the delights of love,)
fia presto il tedio a sorgere - (tedium will follow quickly.)
che sarà allor? Pensate - (Then what? Think -)
per voi non avran balsamo (Even the deepest feelings)
i più soavi affetti, (can bring you no balm,)
poiché dal ciel non furono (since this bond was never)
tai nodi benedetti. (blessed by heaven.)

VIOLETTA:  È vero! È vero! (It's true! It's true!
GERMONT:  Ah, dunque sperdasi tal sogno seduttore. (Ah, then lay aside this beguiling dream.)
VIOLETTA: È vero! È vero! (It's true! It's true!)

GERMONT
Siate di mia famiglia (Be rather the consoling angel)
l'angel consolatore (of my family.)
Violetta, deh, pensateci, (Violetta. Think -)
ne siete in tempo ancor. (You still have time.)
È Dio che ispira, o giovine, (Young lady, it is God who inspires)
tai detti a un genitor. (these words on a father's lips.)

VIOLETTA
Così alla misera ch'è un dì caduta, (All hope of rising again is forever gone.)
di più risorgere speranza è muta! (For the wretched woman who erred one day!)
Se pur benefico le indulga Iddio, (Even if God grants her mercy charitably)
l'uomo implacabil per lei sarà. (Man will always be implacable.)

GERMONT: Siate di mia famiglia l'angiol consolator. (Be rather the consoling angel of my family.)

Perhaps hoping that his own father would treat his own lover with more respect, Verdi gives Germont some wonderful arias, and has him develop a deep admiration for the courage and self sacrifice that Violetta shows.
  
Opera La Traviata Act 2 Sc05d Dite Alla Giovane (4.24) (Youtube)

VIOLETTA 
Ah! dite alla giovine sì bella e pura (Oh, tell your daughter, so lovely and pure,)
ch'avvi una vittima della sventura, (that a poor and wretched woman,)
cui resta un unico raggio di bene - (who has but one precious thing in life -)
che a lei il sacrifica e che morrà! (will sacrifice it for her - and then will die!)

GERMONT
Piangi, piangi, o misera, supremo, il veggo, (Weep, weep, poor girl. I see now)
è il sacrifizio che ora ti chieggo. (that the sacrifice I asked could not be greater.)
Sento nell'anima già le tue pene; (Within my heart I feel what you must suffer;)
coraggio e il nobile tuo cor vincerà! (be brave, your noble heart will conquer all.)

VIOLETTA
Dite alla giovine sì bella e pura (Tell your daughter, so lovely and pure,)
ch'avvi una vittima della sventura, (that a poor and wretched woman,)
cui resta un unico raggio di bene (who has but one precious thing in life -)
che a lei il sacrifica e che morrà! (will sacrifice it for her - and then will die!)

GERMONT
Ah supremo, il veggo, (I see now that the sacrifice)
è il sacrificio ch'ora ti chieggo. (I asked could not be greater,)
Sento nell'anima già le tue pene; (within my heart I feel what you must suffer,)
coraggio e il nobile cor vincerà! (be brave, your noble heart will conquer all.)
Piangi, o misera! (Weep, poor girl.)

Alfredo considers his father’s actions shameful, feels responsible for Violetta’s pain and is determined to stand by her regardless of the shame.

Opera La Traviata Act 2 Sc03 Oh Mio Rimorso! 3:10 (Youtube)

Oh mio rimorso! Oh infamia! (Oh, my remorse! Oh, disgrace!)
Io vissi in tale errore! (And I lived so mistakenly!)
Ma il turpe sogno a frangere (But the truth, like a flash)
Il ver mi balenò! (Has broken my base sleep)
Per poco in seno acquetati, (For a little while be calm in my breast,)
O grido o grido dell'onore; (Oh, cry of honour;)
M'avrai securo vindice; (In me you shall have a sure avenger;)
Quest'onta laverò. (I shall wash away this shame)
Oh mio rossor! Oh infamia! (Oh, my remorse! Oh, disgrace!)
Ah, sì, quest'onta laverò. (Ah, yes, I shall wash away this shame)
Sì laverò.  (yes, wash away)
Oh mio rossor! Oh infamia! (Oh my blushing ! Oh shame !)
Ah, sì, quest'onta... (Ah , yes , this shame ...)
Sì, quest'onta laverò. (Yes, I shall wash away this shame)
Quest'onta, quest'onta laverò. (This shame, I shall wash away this shame)

Oh mio rimorso! Oh infamia! (Oh, my remorse! Oh, disgrace!)
Io vissi in tale errore! (And I lived so mistakenly!)
Ma il turpe sogno a frangere (But the truth, like a flash)
Il ver mi balenò!  (Has broken my base sleep)
Per poco in seno acquetati, (For a little while be calm in my breast,)
O grido o grido dell'onore; (Oh, cry of honour;)
M'avrai securo vindice; (In me you shall have a sure avenger;)
Quest'onta laverò. (I shall wash away this shame)

Oh mio rossor! Oh infamia! (Oh, my remorse! Oh, disgrace!)
Ah, sì, quest'onta laverò. (Ah, Yes, I shall wash away this shame)
Sì laverò. (Yes wash away)
Oh mio rossor! Oh infamia! (Oh, my remorse! Oh, disgrace!)
Ah, sì, quest'onta... (Ah, Yes, this shame)
Sì, quest'onta laverò.  (Yes, I shall wash away this shame)
Quest'onta, quest'onta laverò. (This shame, I shall wash away this shame)

Oh onta, onta laverò. (Oh shame , wash away shame.)
Sì laverò. (Yes , wash away.)
Oh onta, onta laverò. (Oh shame , wash away shame.)
Sì laverò. (Yes , wash away.)
Laverò, laverò. (Wash away, wash away.)

But there is a far more merciless and mortal threat above Violetta's head.

Perhaps 5 000 years ago, a bacterium in Africa found a way to colonise the human body in a variety of organs, but most commonly the lungs. By 1839, it had spread around the world and in the very year that the real Marie Duplessis moved to Paris, was named as tuberculosis.
At that time, it infected the overwhelming majority of the population, and was responsible for 25% of all deaths. These people, like Marie Duplessis (and Violetta), developed the "white plague".  As their lungs died, the breath and life was gradually sucked out of them. The skin colour and passive thoughtfulness induced by the disease inferred spiritual purity, leading many young, upper-class women to purposefully pale their skin to achieve the consumptive appearance.

Violetta knows that her end is nigh.

Opera La Traviata Act 3 Sc4b Addio Del Passato (3:12) (Youtube)

Addio, del passato bei sogni ridenti, (Adieu, sweet, happy dreams of the past,) 
le rose del volto già sono pallenti; (the roses of my cheeks are already fading.) 
l'amore d'Alfredo perfino mi manca, (I miss so much Alfredo's love,) 
conforto, sostegno dell'anima stanca - (which once solaced my weary soul -) 
conforto, sostegno - (Solaced and comforted -) 
Ah, della traviata sorridi al desio; (Ah, smile upon the woman who has strayed;) 
a lei, deh, perdona; tu accoglila, o Dio! (forgive her, oh God, grant she may come to thee!) 
Ah! - Tutto, tutto finì, or tutto, tutto finì. (Now all is finished, all is over.)

The opera ends dramatically with Violetta's death - after she has won the admiration of all - including Germont. 

Marie Duplessis, died in 1847 at the age of 23.   By 1853, her short life had inspired a book, a vastly popular play and what was to be the most popular opera of all time.

So many Opera's by Verdi and so many others have tragedy by the bucket load, so why Traviata ?
So many other operas are woven within contorted, and often unbelievable plots. La Traviata's popularity lies in the simplicity and intimacy of the story, as well as the simplicity and lyric beauty of the music.

The superb music of La Traviata delights more people than any other opera - ever.  The orchestration is simple - even bare - but the lyricism and emotional impact is second to none.
Comparing Verdi's La Traviata  with his major operatic contemporary, Wagner  - both born in 1813. Wagner's operas are interminable, rarely hummable and only end after the fat lady sings.  Wagner lovers praise the intellectual quality and scope of his compositions.  Mark Twain famously defended Wagner's music as "better than it sounds".  But let the people speak !
La Traviata is the most frequently performed opera of all time with 749 productions worldwide over the last 5 years  (In the worlds,  25 most frequently performed operas, Verdi has 7 and Wagner 1. Even Mozart has only 4).

Verdi is still one of the most famous people in the history of Lombardy. He living most of his life in his home town south east of Milan.  He also loved lake Como and visited often along with so many others from Lombardy - especially the rich and famous.  Born shortly after Napoleon was crowned in the Milan Duomo, he lived under the rule of the Sardinians, and the Austrians before the creation of a united Italy.  He expressed his support for the risorgimento, the unification of Italy, through his music (which was routinely censored).  
It was no accident that, beginning in Naples in 1859 and spreading throughout Italy, the slogan "Viva VERDI" was used as a catch cry by all those supporting a united Italy. It was a happy coincidence that it the acronym for Viva Vittorio Emanuele Re D'Italia (Viva Victor Emmanuel King of Italy), referring to Victor Emmanuel II also spelt the name of a famous composer who supported the cause.

Let me end with my favourite aria.  Germont evoking, in Alfredo, the beauty and the bond of his home after finding him living with Violetta.   I think that Verdi was thinking of Lombardi - perhaps Lake Como, when he wrote it.

Opera La Traviata Act 2 Sc08b Di Provenza Il Mar Il Suol (3:12) (Youtube)

GERMONT 
Di Provenza il mar, il suol (In Provence, The sea, the hills)
chi dal cor ti cancellò? (who effaced them from your heart?)
chi dal cor ti cancellò? (who effaced them from your heart?)
Di Provenza il mar, il suol (In Provence, The sea, the hills)

Al natio fulgente sol (What destiny took you away)
qual destino ti furò? (from the sunny land of your birth?)
qual destino ti furò? (from the sunny land of your birth?)
Al natio fulgente sol (What destiny took you away)

Oh, rammenta pur nel duol (Oh, remember in your sorrow)
ch'ivi gioia a te brillò; (what joy warmed you there;)
e che pace colà sol (and that only there)
su te splendere ancor può. (can your soul find peace again.)
e che pace colà sol (and that only there)
su te splendere ancor può. (can your soul find peace again.)

Dio mi guidò! (God brought me here!)
Dio mi guidò! (God brought me here!)
Dio mi guidò! (God brought me here!)

Ah! il tuo vecchio genitor (Ah! You cannot know)
tu non sai quanto soffrì. (how your old father has suffered.)
tu non sai quanto soffrì. (how your old father has suffered.)
Ah! il tuo vecchio genitor (Ah! You cannot know)

Te lontano, di squallor (With you away, with desolation)
il suo tetto si coprì, (the house is clouded)
il suo tetto si coprì, (the house is clouded)
di squallor, di squallor (with desolation, with desolation)
ma se alfin ti trovo ancor, (But at last I have found you,)
se in me speme non fallì, (if my hope has not been in vain.)
se la voce dell'onor (If the voice of honour)
in te appien non ammutì, (in you is not wholly stilled.)
ma se alfin ti trovo ancor, (But at last I have found you,)
se in me speme non fallì, (if my hope has not been in vain.)

Dio m'esaudì! (God has answered my prayer!)
Dio m'esaudì! (God has answered my prayer!)
Dio m'esaudì! (God has answered my prayer!)
Dio m'esaudì! (God has answered my prayer!)
ma se alfin ti trovo ancor, (But at last I have found you,)
ti trovo ancor (I have found you)
Dio m'esaudì! (God has answered my prayer!)

Dio m'esaudì! (God has answered my prayer!)

This great opera sits like any other human work in a mesh of a billion dependencies that preceded and indeed caused its creation.
To allow the mind to wander down at least some of these pathways, immensely increases the pleasure and power of the music.

Further References and interesting facts:

Brexit: Can it be reversed ?

EU Public support across Europe: BREXIT part of the trend, rather than an exception.

EU Referenda through history. Slowly diminishing support ?