Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

L’ombrello vagamondo

Fabio, che oltre ad essere un amico d’infanzia fu anche una delle prime persone a comparire su questo blog con una bella tripletta (qui, qui e qui), ha appena pubblicato il suo secondo libro. Si tratta di una raccolta di racconti sulle mirabolanti e picaresche avventure di un ombrello vagamondo. Io gli faccio pubblicità, perché Fabio scrive in maniera schietta, sarcastica ed elegante: guardate che non è facile.


Trovate il libro qui: potete comprarlo online, oltre che in tutte le librerie del Trentino. Io, che ho appena ordinato alcune copie, mi auguro di ritrovare il Fabio che conoscevo in questa sua raccolta di racconti.

Great will be your reward…

… in the Kingdom of Heaven

Jean-Thomas; Giallu, Gianni, and Paola; Pietro; Martina; Marco and Leila; Pedro; Dani and Anna; mum and dad; Alberto and Marcantonio; Marco, Francesca, Isabella, and Camilla; Fabio and parents. These are the people who hosted me at their place over the last twelve months.


After ten full months on the run, I am now heading back to Florence where I will try to settle down and find my compass once and for all. Among many other things I have burned these last two months there was the sense of the changing seasons. When I left Turin in early March it was twenty five degrees, sunny, clean view. I went to Andalusia and it was thirty degrees and running. Then the very same day I arrived in Madrid there was a snowstorm and I spent the next five days freezing my bones off: the only reason I survived was the coat that Pedro borrowed me. In Barcelona it was pretty chill too, then in Trento and in Milan I found that kind of deliciously temporary heath that disappeared the very moment I landed in Manchester. During my days in the United Kingdom, the temperature was down to five degrees for some nice winter time again.

Now in Tuscany I am really, really keen of finding my own Spring time. This usually comes with a combination of sun, stillness, pretty songs like this, Sangiovese wine, olives, bikes, weekend visits to small-size Italian towns, football matches with the smell of grass at sunset, last-minute train tickets, long swims in cold rivers, little notebooks full of drawings.


I am flying above the Alps this very moment and I am trying to remember the names of the places where I have been ski touring in March and April. Your have to know that it has been a tiring start of the year, both mentally and physically. I have been following the priorities set by my work and I have ignored some of the personal plans I had previously being following so rigorously. One of the few exceptions to this otherwise strict rule has been the luxury of ski touring, which I did over three weekends with my parents and with my Tuscan friends.

In early March I went to Rifugio Carlettini, 1300 meters high. I was with Nicola, Birgit, Federica, Paolo, Francesco, or the slowcai group that I met two years ago: do you remember? The first day we made it all the way up to Tombola Nera at 2413 meters; the second day I am not so sure any more (but I think we reached Cima Ravetta at 2266 meters). Those were two days of fantastic weather, loads of food, little snow. Ideas for future excursions in the area: Cengello, Lasteati, Cima d’Asta.


Then in early April I went to Cevedale together with my parents for one day only. The weather was incredible. We arrived on Cima Solda, which is situated at 3387 meters. In the future we will have to go all the way up to the top. For that to happen, we either need to leave our house in Trento at 3AM or get a cabin in South Tyrol.


Getting a cabin in South Tyrol is precisely what we did at the end of April, when we skied on the Glacier of the Similaun, or the place where the found Ötzi. We slept at Rifugio Bellavista, 2845 meters. As a sort of retribution for being too kind to me in the previous two excursions, this time the weather conditions were horrible: cold, snow, and wind. The first day we reached a mountain slope next to the Fineilspitze at 3400-and-something meters. The second day we went in front of the Giogo di Tisa but I cannot really recall the altitude.

Next time I will go up the mountains it will be Summer and, who knows, perhaps I will be with Manuel, Mindo and Giallu again.




I vinti

In vista del primo turno delle elezioni francesi avevo pubblicato un articolo per Unimondo. Chi di voi si diverte a leggere gli articoli ex post per giudicare l’accuratezza dell’analisi di chi scrive può trovarlo qui.

Different worlds

It has been a strange fall/winter. I am sharing some pictures as a track record for myself. The photos were taken in Florence, Torino, Dusseldorf, Trento, Sevilla, Cadiz, Barcelona. I have inserted a short description below each one of them.

The road was full of mud

There is a song that goes like this Can’t hold onto anything / So I will go / Call your friends ’cause I can’t hold anyone / Can’t hold onto anyone with hands full of holes. I have been so taken away these months. Work, and the loneliness, and all that traveling, and the instability; and those those occasional sparks of beauty, little they could do. But! It is never too much unwarrented advice, my good friends. Sometimes I really miss not having someone who slaps me in the face and forces me to stop acting like a theatrical crybaby.

Two seasons

The sun creeping into our apartment at the last flood of via Belfiore 82, in San Salvario. The neighbours smoking cigarettes on their balconies. The podcasts on the long bus ride to Moncalieri – Axefiles, Economist, the FT world weekly, Francesco Costa, RFI le journal en francais facile. The main square rising up in the fog, the Collegio right behind the corner. Its empty corridors full of animals stuck in the nineteenth century. Ludo with Niels. Blah Blah nights. Fencing in the Parco del Valentino, the sense of defeat when I gave it up. The evenings out with Marco and Leila, how they are wonderful dancing together. The canavese. The Greek restaurant. Miriam and Pietro, Sharewood. The Teatro Piccolo and Franco Cardini. The night shifts in Massaua: we all come and go, but some of us have a tougher ride in between. Tabletennis with Teresa, Mancio, Matteo and Niels down in the basement of Collegio. That sunset run along the Po and then up Monte dei Cappuccini. The Cineforum Baretti on a late Saturday afternoon. The desperate shopping at Abu’s four hours to new year’s eve. Dinner out at Silos. Those early January nights with Etta leaning under my blankets when I felt too sick and exhausted to push her away; after all, I might not be allergic to dogs. The new house at the corner between via Bogino and via Po, warm and compact. The smell of clean linen and the heating system full blast when I was still too sick to take care of myself. Chess with Niels. Porta Palazzo every Saturday, toma and oranges. All those comic novels. The brunch at the Circolo dei Lettori. The readings at Ospedale Mauriziano. Bar Dotto. The fifteen-minute sandwiches at the grocery shop in Moncalieri. Tamango and Quesar: I kept the card until yesterday when I finally threw it away. The museums, all those museums and the public support behind them, the creative installations sometimes a bit superficial, but hei this is a city where every day people que to enter in places where they discover more about history, photography, painting, even criminal anthropology. That one reading at univoc with Flavio, who has a big voice and sings pianobar, and Gianni, who has a British sense of humour and never published the novel he wrote. Strolling through the parks on an early Spring Sunday, the streets closed to the cars, fountains are buzzing, kids run round with pink balloons, there is a charity race for women. On the train this night I look back at the last five months one more time. Now I am ready to go.

Can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?

One year ago today I was cycling the Strade Bianche, the culmination of a period of steady trainings sometimes wet, often alone, always cold. It was a thing that was my own and it was intense. I look back at that period, and that day in particular, with nostalgia.

One year later I am having an equally intense day, but for different reasons. Tonight I will bid farewell to Torino, where I have been living for the last five months. During my stay here I have been fighting some major demons; yet, I have immediately and completely felt at home in this city. Credit for this goes to the buzzing cultural environment I found; but also to Niels, Marco and Leila, as well as all the other colleagues and friends whom I have met here.


I am walking out now. In the next two months I will move from one place to the other, lacking a centre of gravity of sort. I am going to feel precarious. I miss not having a bike which I could ride to the countryside to freeze my body, clean my thoughts and open up my mind.

Appunti di quaderno su Torino

I rumori. Brulichio soffuso. Passeggiare. Pavimenti, portici, lungo il fiume, piazze.


Ordine e magnificenza; eppure c’è delicatezza. Montesquieu (1728): ‘Torino è piccola e ben costruita‘. Armoniosa e proporzionata, giochi di luci e colori, scenografie – soprattutto Piazza San Carlo, nota. Le lunghe strade che sembrano condurre in linea retta verso le come nevose. Nietzsche (1888, sei mesi a Torino):  ‘raffinata delicatezza‘. Tutto fluisce.

Le persone. Goldoni: ‘molto cortesi e molto civili; e vedendo arrivar tra loro un Milanese, un Veneziano, o un Genovese, hanno il costume di dire: questi è un italiano‘. Gian Giacomo Casanova: ‘fra le città d’Italia Torino è quella nella quale il bel sesso ha tutti i fascini che l’amore gli può desiderare‘.

Le piazze grandi. San Carlo. Vittorio Veneto. Castello. Statuto. Le piazze meno grandi. Palazzo di città.  Consolata. Emanuele Filiberto. Nietzche: ‘qui tutto è costruito con liberalità ed ampiezza, specialmente le piazze, così come nel cuore della città si ha un senso superbo di libertà‘.

La cittadella e Porta Palazzo. Secondo Edmondo de Amicis, uno Zola torinese potrebbe mettere lì la scena di un romanzo intitolato Il ventre di Torino: ‘fra le lunghe fila di baracche di botteghini, in mezzo a monti di frutta, legumi e formaggi, tra il vociare dei commercianti e il via vai delle carrette s’agita confusamente una folla fitta di contadini, di turisti, di massaie. E’ una folla continuamente cangiante’.

Il parco del Valentino e il Monte dei Cappuccini. I tramonti. L’alba.

Il museo del Risorgimento. Il museo del Cinema. Il museo Egizio. Il museo Pietro Micca. Venaria Reale. Il museo di Arte Orientale. La Pinacoteca Agnelli. Il museo di Antropologia Criminale, che splendida illustrazione del genio pericoloso di Cesare Lombroso! Il museo dell’Anatomia. Il museo dell’Automobile. La Galleria Fotografica.

Caffè, cantanti ambulanti, orchestre, teatri, cinema. Primo Levi, Massimo d’Azeglio, Pietro Gobetti, Cesare Pavese, Guido Gozzano, Norberto Bobbio. E poi Antonio Gramsci, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzche, Emilio Salgari, Italo Calvino. Proprio Calvino scrisse nella sua autobiografia che ‘Torino è la città ideale per lo scrivere… Invita al rigore, alla linearità, allo stile. Invita alla logica, e attraverso la logica apre alla follia‘.

Le librerie: Luxembourg, il bar Dotto e quell’altra tutta sgangherata non lontana da casa, di cui però ignoro il nome. Le case editrici. Storiche botteghe e caffè letterari. Il Circolo del Lettori. In ogni casa, larghe biblioteche.

Le piole: il Camaleonte, Cianci. Silos, il Pastis.

L’ospedale Mauriziano e la stazione Massaua.

Pal bikery, Affini. I panifici: il pane di una volta. Le gelaterie: La Romana. Le case del quartiere, i Bagni Municipali. Mnur. Le gioiellerie. La galleria subalpina.

Il cineforum Baretti.

Mi mancano completamente le periferie e la campagna. Tornerò?