A lot of hostels were housed in spots like the stately old ruin I was standing in front of, so I walked in.
It was dark and cool inside. It took a second for my eyes to adjust. When they did, I saw I was standing in front of a tall painting of an elegant woman and her skinny, aristocratic pooch. I realized I was probably in the wrong place.
I was about to peace out when a woman, dark hair pulled back and all in black, appeared and greeted me in Italian. I stammered out a dumb tourist response in English and she laughed. “Would you like a tour of the Institute?” she asked. She seemed so friendly and welcoming that I said sure.
The woman explained that she was the Director of the Morosini Institute for the Study of 3:32pm, April 10, 1954. In the years since the Institute’s founding, she had been responsible for hiring historians, cultural critics and other assorted researchers. Their singular goal: creating a comprehensive portrait of one particular second in human history—specifically, 3:32pm and 23 seconds, April 10, 1954.
“If you put any event under the microscope, you will find an entire dimension of weird, incredible things going on. It’s as if there’s the macro level of historical research, where things sort of obey natural laws and usual things happen and unusual things don’t happen. And then there’s this other level where everything is really weird.”