Genoa: Easy is the descent into Hell.

In the Aeneid, Book Six, Line 126, Virgil writes: Facilis decensus Averno.  

Translated:  "Easy is the descent into Hell." 


Aeneas and the Sibyl, ca. 1800, Yale Center for British Art

In full context:

Facilis descensus Averno;

Noctes atque dies patet atri ianua Ditis;

Sed revocare gradum superasque evadere ad auras.

Hoc opus, hic labor est.

As translated by Dryden:

The gates of Hell are open night and day,

Smooth the descent, and easy is the way.

But to return, and view the cheerful skies,

In this the task and mighty labor lies.


The international conference held in Genoa in 1922 was designed to recompose the international order, including that of the gold standard.  But a shortcut mistakenly was taken, allowing for a false admixture of paper and gold as official central banking reserves.  This  expedient proved the proverbial good intentions paving the road to the Hell of the Great Depression which would ensue within a decade.

This, courtesy of archive.org, is the text of the accords in relevant part:

 

Article 29. 

An essential requisite for the economic reconstruction of 
Europe is the achievement by each country of stability in the 
value of its currency. No country can gain control of its own 
currency so long as there is a deficiency in the annual budget 
which is met by the creation of paper money or bank credits. It 
is for every country to overcome such a deficiency by its own 
independent efforts ; only then will its way be open to currency 
reform. 

Article 30. 

Measures of currency reform will be facilitated if the practice 
of continuous co-operation among central banks can be developed. 
A permanent association or entente for the co-operation of central 
banks, not necessarily confined to Europe, would provide oppor- 
tunities of co-ordinating credit policy, without hampering the 
freedom of the several banks. It is suggested that an early meet- 
ing of representatives of central banks should be held with a view- 
to considering how best to give effect to this recommendation. 

Article 31. 

It is desirable that all European currencies should be based 
upon a common standard. 

Article 32. 

Gold is the only common standard which all European countries 

could at present agree to adopt. 

Article 33. 

In a number of countries it will not be possible for some years 
to restore an effective gold standard; but it is in [t]he general 
interest that European Governments should declare now that 
this is their ultimate object, and should agree on the programme 
by way of which they intend to achieve it. 

Article 34. 

In each country the first step towards re-establishing a gold 
standard will be the balancing of the annual expenditure of the 
State without the creation of fresh credit unrepresented by new 
assets 

Article 35. 

The next step will be to determine and fix the gold value of the 
monetary unit. This step can only be taken in each country 
when the economic circumstances permit; for the country will 
then have to decide the vital question, whether to adopt the old 
gold parity or a new parity approximating to the exchange value 
of the monetary unit at the time. 

Article 36. 

These steps might by themselves suffice to establish a gold 
standard, but its successful maintenance would be materially 
promoted, not only by the proposed association or entente of 
central banks, but by an international convention to be adopted 
at a suitable time. The purpose of the convention would be 
to centralise and co-ordinate the demand for gold, and so to avoid 
those wide fluctuations in the purchasing power of gold, which 
might otherwise result from the simultaneous and competitive 
efforts of a number of countries to secure metallic reserves. It is 
suggested that the convention should embody some means of 
economising the use of gold by maintaining reserves in the form 
of foreign balances, such for example, as the gold exchange 
standard, or an international clearing system. 

Few besides France's great "poet of finance" Jacques Rueff recognized, and warned, of the catastrophe that must, and did, ensue as the expedients unraveled and the world was plunged into the economic Hell of the Great Depression.