Lorenzo & his humble friends

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

Category: lorenzo

Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?

Giulia, Dani, Ada, Vivian, Anna, Fabio, Giallu, Martina, Mariana, mamma, babbo, Johannes, Mariam, Fatima, two random kids, Nele, Chloé, another random kid driving a yellow car in front of an elderly guy with funny socks. Santo Spirito, Livorno (and cacciucco), Lucca (and the Comics), San Miniato, Fiesole. 2015: join me for a very Tuscan Fall.

Je me souviens just part of it


D’après un article (4 fév.), il y a confusion concernant la devise du Québec. Comme vous l’avez écrit, elle est de E. E. Taché. « Je me souviens » n’est que la première phrase [de la devise], ce qui explique peut-être la confusion. La devise va comme suit :

Je me souviens / Que né sous le lys / Je croîs sous la rose.
I remember / That born under the lily / I grow under the rose.

Je suis la petite-fille de Eugène-Étienne Taché. Ma tante, Mme Clara Taché-Fragasso de Québec, est la seule des filles de E.-E. Taché toujours en vie. J’espère que [cette information] éclairera quelques-uns de vos lecteurs.

The text quoted above is a letter sent by Hélène Pâquet in response to an article appeared on The Montreal Star in 1978. Hélène, as she herself explains in the last paragraph, is the nephew of Eugène-Étienne Taché, the Assistant Commissioner for Crown lands in Quebec and architect of the provincial Parliament building. Upon his death in 1912, Taché wanted the motto written above to be carved in stone below the coat of arms of Quebec that appears above the Parliament Building’s main entrance door. So it was done; and since then Je me souviens came into official use. In contemporary Quebec it still occupies so many spaces, including the licence plates of the cars. For many French Quebeckers Je me souviens poetically symbolizes the days of New France (the lily) and the subsequent conquest by the English crown and the Confederation (the rose). Some say that when the French Canadian says “Je me souviens”, she not only remembers the days of New France but also the fact that she belongs to a conquered people.

This story is meant to show you that Quebec is a place of powerful suggestions. I spent three weeks in its biggest and most vibrant city, Montreal, and now that I am back to Florence I can upload some pictures and add some explanations – you will see the explanation if you clic on the picture. I am also going to upload a music video; and I would have chosen a video without any advertisement at the start but then this is by far the best live version of it and it deserves to be seen.

The video is somehow related to one particular thought I wanted to share with you. When I was in Montreal it was Freshers week, which is the time when all new students arrive to university and go pretty crazy celebrating. It is the first moment in their life they are free, and independent, and you can read it in their face. There is excitement, but there is also fear: it is a sense of utter freedom, and utter loss at the same time. It is a passing ritual I love, because in that moment your brain and your heart are clean, so clean and free that you can start from scratch and discover so much and you won’t feel alone because there are so many people around you who are in the exact same situation and you can perceive they feel exactly the way you do. I was lucky enough to be in that kind of situation many times in my life, having changed place and started something new – quite often, already. So every time I would find myself in a situation like this – well, you know, I would share the excitement, and the thrill, and everything that comes with it. Not this time, though. This time I just saw very, very young students, and for the first time in my life I felt I was a bit more mature than they were. I was happy for them, though. But I was not part of it, as I was a passenger riding in the backside. And so I thought of the song, and finally, many year after I first listened to it on the radio, it made perfect sense.

El socialismo sólo puede llegar en bicicleta

La consiglierei subito, non la rifarò mai più“.

As I anticipated yesterday, there is yet one more experience in my life that deserves to be documented on this log. I am talking about the event that took place on the night between Saturday and Sunday and was organized by Witoor.

It goes like this. Upon coming down from the mountains we relax for a few hours. Three. And then my father, Giallu, Niccolò and I assemble the bikes we need and drive to Bolzano.

Loren, vai a prendere tre luci, una sella, due pedali e una camera d’aria per queste bici.
E dove le trovo tutte queste cose, babbo?
Fai come si fa nell’esercito, quello italiano. Ruba tutto il necessario dalle altre bici che abbiamo in cantina.

We get to Bolzano at 11PM: it is dark, it is cold, and it is pouring rain. One hour later we are on our bikes (well: my father’s collection of bikes, technically) riding towards the scenic Lake of Resia, naively unaware of the fact that the final 20 km are a very steep, long, extenuating climb.

It takes us three restoration points, 120km, 1,200 meters of ascent, and 7 hours. We reach our final destination at sunrise. We are completely wasted. So in the end our long, long weekend makes me think of this movie I watched and more precisely it makes me think of this: “I don’t think we are going to suffer quite as much on this trip. I don’t think it is going to be that bad. … Naaah, I mean, it’s definitely going to be bad“.

Se non ci sarà, lo troveremo

A tradition is a tradition. This month of July, for the fourth year in a row (see our previous outdoor experiences here, here, and here) I/we went hiking up on the Dolomites with some of the people I truly care about. Well, one of them at least, and a friend of him – and you know the adagio, the friend of my friend is my friend, etc. So there we were: Giallu, Niccolò, and I. A far smaller group than we initially anticipated, but a very solid one indeed.

Now, a little bit of background. The Dolomites are unique mountains that are located only one hour away from the place where I was born. They are famous for their cantankerous shapes and romantic colours, surely a legacy of the time when they used to be a great coral reef underneath the water. In the nineteenth century they were called the Pale Mountains: they lost this name after World War One, which was fought on these sacred heights. This year we hiked precisely on the Italo-Austrian line of fire next to the majestic Marmolada.

It was by far our hardest hike since 2013. Giallu is a veteran now, as this is his third stroll with me; Nico is a newcomer, but his stunning preparation helped pulling the group through a fairly insane itinerary. The first day we climbed up about 700 meters of altitude to get from Passo San Pellegrino (1918 m) to Passo delle Cirelle (2683), and down to Rifugio Falier (2080) where we slept. The next day it was all up and down: up from Rifugio Falier to Cima Ombretta (3011), down to Rifugio Contrin (2016), up to Passo san Niccolò (2338), down to Malga Ciampie (1830), up to Rifugio Passo Selle (2530), where we slept. So the second day we did more than 2000 m of ascent, about twice as much as it is usually recommended. This is one of the reasons why on the third day we only walked down, from Rifugio Selle to Passo San Pellegrino, and back home. The other reason is that we had to save energies because later in the same day we were going to cycle for more than 100 km by bike in what will go down as one of the craziest ride I have ever done. But this is a story for my next post.

You might wonder why I write down every single thing we did. It is not necessarily something I do for you, my dear reader. Rather the contrary: this blog is also my diary – sort of – and it will come handy in the years to come. A bit like this year – it was fun for me to go and look back at the posts I put online for our previous hikes.

But now – onto business! I have two distinct galleries pf photos. The first gallery is made of the pictures taken by Niccolò: this is the reason why he barely appears in it and I appear in way too many.

The second gallery is made of the pictures I have taken myself. It is funny, looking at the two galleries, how it almost looks like they document two different hikes. It just takes another camera and another photographer to have a completely different perspective on the very same experience.


Keep spinning

I keep trying to see myself through the eyes of someone else and then here you are, little Cassandra, making it so simple and swell and all of a sudden I realize how badly I have missed you these last few months.

con Cassandra

Wait just one minute here

It must have been the big mural on the wall, ‘Veneto Indipendente‘; or maybe those notes from out there; or the mountains making their appearance from far away. Whatever it was, I cracked down in tears. The last time it happened was a few months ago, shortly after Thomas left. Back then I started sobbing when I was in my Institute’s canteen: a rather embarrassing scene. At least this time I was on a train and nobody knew me. Or so I hope. The other passengers must have thought I had lost a relative or something. Instead, I was awakening some recent thoughts. Like the image of leaving Florence knowing that when I will be back some people won’t be there any longer. And the image of Jewish Maariv; the lights from the Opera House; the letters of hope and those of despair; the long walk like a group of hobos and the bus-ride we never got. It took some minutes to rebound, until I remembered we always find a way to fill our voids, happily ever after.



Riffe 39

La scorsa settimana smaltivo le conseguenze del sabato notte passeggiando lungo il Mugnone, che poi sarebbe il simpatico rivolo di ochette, acqua e nutrie che scorre pigramente a venti metri da a casa mia. Penso sia stato allora che ho finalmente capito: siamo destinati ad andarcene. Per sempre. Ci sono stati momenti in cui abbiamo pensato che saremmo rimasti all’infinito ed abbiamo smesso di preoccuparci del domani. Ma ci sbagliavamo: oggi è già domani, come si intitolava un film mediocre di pochi anni fa. E mentre torno a fissare il Mugnone penso che dopo alcuni anni di relativa quiete il fiume dell’esistenza si prepara ora a lasciare il vecchio letto alle spalle per scorrere in una direzione nuova.

Non parlo della nostra morte, un fatto comunque certo e inoppugnabile, ma della mia casa a Firenze. Tutto sembra indicare che a dicembre 2015 ce ne andremo tutti e quattro, Lorenz-Dani-Ada-Nele. For good. Sono stati due anni bellissimi, forse i più belli della mia vita. Ora restano ancora sei mesi e poi via, prepariamoci a ricominciare ancora una volta tutto d’accapo.

Un fine settimana di giugno dei ricercatori in Maremma

The material provided will be applauded with great enthusiasm by your devoted followers“.

Tosan Kraneis, 2015

Momenti rubati

E così anche la mia seconda primavera fiorentina sta volgendo al termine. Alcuni ricordi: non necessariamente i migliori, ma quelli in grado di raccontare tante piccole storie.

Onto a grand finale

It is one of those things that I start without paying too much attention to it. And then, without consciously realizing it, I start getting more and more sucked in until the point I realize I am spending half of my time thinking and working on it. Since its inauguration on Monday last week, the 2015 edition of the Coppa Pavone is taking too much attention, energy, and passion out of me.

Let me first introduce our team – once again. The Ladybirds 2015 season – full blast.


ladybirds walkin-in theme


Unexpectedly, we won our inaugural match 4 to 2 against the Rokkan Rawls. It was a thrilling, tense, and fair game that made us we feel confident. Maybe too confident. And in spite of playing at our best, we lost the following two matches. We lost 2 to 1 against The Spirit of Capitalism thanks to their solid defence and great team work. And then we lost 3 to 2 against the Zampantistas thanks to their combination of Italian catenaccio and Irish long balls. In spite of the devastating losses, both games were great fun. You can, however, observe the rapidly deteriorating morale of our team by following Mariana’s evolving expression from picture #1 (second player standing from the left) to picture #3 (first player sitting from the right).

Now the cup is up for grabs. We will play our final match of the group stage on Monday late afternoon against the Schumaniacs. Unlike us, this is a serious team that has won all the matches it has played thus far. But in football you never know and the only thing we can reasonably assume at the moment is that a win for our side would suffice for letting us to the quarter-finals. It will be complicated like cooking a good dish, but we have the attention, energy, and passion for making it through.