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I’ll tell you about the city I know

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Marco Aime, professor of anthropology, talks with his niece Chiara to tell about Turin and its surroundings. Paolo Ciampi leads to the discovery of places, situations and characters of his city, Florence. Marina Lalovic talks about her Belgrade with the heart of nostalgia.

They are some of the authors of the series «Le città invisibili», published by Bottega Errante. Specialized in travel literature and great authors, she also publishes the quarterly magazine Erodoto108.

The thread that binds the invisible cities, illustrated by Elisabetta Damiani, is a state of mind rather than a tourist experience. They seem intimate diaries, sometimes captivating, other times obvious, which nevertheless offer unusual points of view and food for thought.

The cover of the book by Marco and Chiara Aime published by Bottega Errante

Turin without exaggerating
Turin, the industrious city to which the automotive industry gave well-being and then took it away. Polluted, but full of parks and rivers, gardens. Provincial, but not entirely dissatisfied with being one. The story of the anthropologist Marco Aime and Chiara opens to visions already highlighted with the 2006 Olympics when the salons of the Savoy city showed themselves in all their splendor, illuminated by Luci d’Artista and the countless art showcases , science and entertainment. As had already happened in 1961, on the occasion of the centenary of the unification of Italy, and as only a community with a strong depth can do.

Ghosts and songs
An aristocratic city even among many representatives of the working class, it is a proud forge of culture that appeals to young people. The authors, listening to the songs of Farassino, Gaber, Dalla, Roversi, Maolucci, walk along the tree-lined avenues and squares where they meet the ghosts of kings, princes, writers and philosophers. They visit the large Porta Palazzo market and the university campus, nightlife venues and historic cafes, museums, craft workshops and the stadium with their gaze turned to the Basilica of Superga, where the Turin football team crashed. An always open wound, not only for the grenade fans.

The cover of the book by Paolo Ciampi published by Bottega Errante

The eyes of Florence
You have fun in the tangle of steps and reviews drawn in a single day (like the protagonist of Joyce’s “Ulysses”) by Paolo Ciampi, a researcher from elsewhere, in Florence and its surroundings. Starting with the gazes of those who came from abroad several centuries ago such as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Giotto, Beato Angelico and Masaccio not to mention those who emigrated such as Amerigo Vespucci, for example, whose name has become a continent. The author wanders among shops, taverns and markets. He crosses the places where he played, studied and enjoyed himself, as if he were seeing them for the first time because, he admits, the things that have always been before our eyes are never really seen.

The medallions by Andrea Della Robbia, on the facade of the Spedale degli Innocenti which welcomed abandoned children. Sailko photo

Just as the minor characters almost never emerge. Faced with the magnificent architecture of the city, for example, no one can think of the stonecutters of pietra serena which would later be transformed into wonderful artifacts. The quarries were located on Monte Ceceri, the knoll chosen by Leonardo for his flight experiments. The wings, however, were made to wear by his assistant Zoroastro da Peretola: the first man who saw all of Florence from above … before falling (he was injured, but did not die). Or Agata Smeralda, the first child abandoned at the Spedale degli Innocenti, the orphanage designed by Brunelleschi on commission from the silk artisans.

Small ideas … but this is a journey that deserves.

The cover of the book by Marina Lalović published by Bottega Errante

The Belgrade cicada
Marina Lalović’s world is divided between Italy, where she is known as a RAI journalist, and her hometown, Belgrade, which was the capital of the former Yugoslavia and now of Serbia. He arrived in Italy in 2000, like his other peers who expatriated after the NATO bombing, crossing the historical border between the past of Tito’s former Yugoslavia (which was among the non-aligned countries, as an alternative to the Cold War) and a new reality arose from the ashes of the conflict in the Balkans.

The lights of Belgrade

He talks about his family and the holidays at the sea where the regime “advised” to stay in the water for at least an hour and a half to strengthen the body. And the characteristics of the neighborhoods and their inhabitants. In particular the old Čubura, inhabited by bohemians and wise people where slang is still spoken.

«Belgrade was divided between those who supported Slobodan Milošević and those who supported the opposition – writes the author -. This polarization of the city was also deeply visible in people’s clothing and lifestyles. On the one hand there were those who listened to turbo-folk and on the other those who belonged to rock’n’roll. ” Then the new course when the emergency turned into euphoria on the streets of the city, with the desire to live, to meet new people and have fun to forget.

«Arriving in Italy – admits the author -, paradoxically, has meaning

to know my country, Yugoslavia ”, where information was scarce. Only a few radios, through music, carried news. It is not for nothing that Marina’s most recent arrival is a radio editorial office.

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