The word has long had the power to make my breath go shallow. The pedestrianpulse of its tight, teeming streets; the unexpected sweep of nouveau facadeslifting off like birds' wings; the myriad youthful faces, embarrassingly prettyin their Old World sophistication; the dry African winds pulling into this tidy,voluptuous corner of the Mediterranean; the elegant Romanesque and gothic structures,silent witnesses to the city's changing fortunes. Joy and celebration. War andfamine. This is a city that has learned the ups and downs of history like aCatholic penitent the litany.