Lorenzo & his humble friends

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

Category: travellin

Camminata appenninica

Until this month of October I had never properly hiked on the Appennini. Finally, thanks to Nicola and the Slowcai I have gotten to know this group of mountains a little bit better.

We hiked from Passo San Pellegrino to Passo Cerreto in three days. Actually, the core group hiked from Lago Santo to Cerreto in four days: Federica and I only joined on Friday night. It was fantastic to arrive at Passo San Pellegrino in the night, park the car in the deserted village, hike with the lights to Rifugio Pradaccia and found a warm meal. As Federica told me, the cabins on the Appennini are simple and welcoming, a bit like those I visited in Switzerland. Less luxurious, but more authentic and cozy, than most huts on the Dolomites. The place is somehow forgotten, which is why it is so charming.

On Saturday we walked from Rifugio Pradaccia to Rifugio Battisti. Before us, the scenic mountains of the Apuane, which were the target of the last three years Slowcai expeditions – two of which failed, with no victims, the last one succeeded. The photos below record the wind and colours. Alas, they do not fully capture the usual light hearted spirit of this company that I adore (Nicola, Birgit, Federica, Francesco, Federica, Alessia, Michele, Francesca, Lorenzo, Ale, Carola). Also, I did not take any picture when we were walking in the beeches but that was quite cool. I am slightly ashamed to confess, but it made me feel like one of the characters of the Hobbit. Our destination, Rifugio Battisti, is managed by a group of people from Reggio Emilia in their 20s. They cook good food and paint beautiful paintings.

On Sunday we walked from Rifugio Battisti to Passo di Predarena, where we had a tumultuous lunch at Rifugio Carpe Diem (on a large road full of motorbikes). We left at 15:00 hearded to Bivacco Rosario, where we arrived at dusk – of course… We set up the tents (figure which one is mine) and the fire and had a good night. I missed sleeping it a tent, even though I almost froze to death. Note to self: buy a sleeping bag for cold temperatures.

We enjoyed spending Monday morning at the Bivacco. From there, it was a short hike down to Passo Cerreto. We rented a van to drive back to the point of departure and then took another three hours to return to Florence.

Sul Brenta

Con Arianna, Gabo e Sara siamo partiti da Molveno, dove i parcheggi costano carissimi: non lo faremo mai più. Abbiamo pranzato al Rifugio Selvata e poi, con meteo piuttosto brutto, Gabo e Sara sono scesi a valle. Io e Arianna siamo arrivati al Rifugio Tosa Pedrotti, dove abbiamo pernottato. La mattina dopo abbiamo traversato per poi scendere dalla valle delle Seghe. Una gita un pò vorrei ma non posso: ce ne saranno altre, più ricche.

Montalbano

Ecco un bel giro ciclistico di centotrenta chilometri di distanza e circa duemilacinquecento metri di dislivello fatto con Giallu attorno alla catena di Montalbano. Anticamente luogo di insediamenti etruschi; successivamente teatro della contesa tra Firenze (che sta a ovest), Pistoia (a est) e Lucca (ancora più a est); infine, riserva di caccia preferita dai Medici che vi fecero costruire svariate ville, e poi ricco terreno per la produzione del vino. Brevi incursioni su terreno sterrato, tanti ciclisti, vista splendida sulle pianure che circondano Firenze.

Chiesanuova-Cerbaia-Montelupo-Vitolini-San Baronto-Quarrata-Carmignano-Montelupo-Malmantile-Santa Maria a Marciola-Scandicci-Galluzzo.

August in Calabria

Il Film Festival la Guarimba in Amantea. Thanks to the organisers: Alex, Julio, Sara, Miguel, Martina, Marta… And thanks to Ale, who set up the whole thing for us. It was special to watch the movies in the parking area, meet the organisers around the town, swim, share a flat with Ale, Cianci, Ludo, get to know Chris and Alessio.

Le granite: soprattutto quelle di Sicoli per colazione e quelle del Bar Riviera di Locri, con panna. Quanto è bello fare colazione a mezzogiorno, ai piani alti del paese, con ritmi rallentati e tanta frutta. E poi: le brioche e i cornetti ripieni di gelato, le bruschette pomodoro e acciughe, le alici ripiene, il capocollo, la nduja un pò ovunque, il peperoncino fresco, la sardella, la spremuta di melograno, le cipolle rosse nell’insalata, quei panini con il capocollo nell’alimentari di Amantea scovato da Michi.

Il MuSaBa di Nik Spataro e Hiske Maas. I have always imagined there would be one museum like this in the world.

Notes to self:

(1) In many towns there is at least a square or a street dedicated to ‘Gli emigranti‘. Italians are now obsessed with immigration, but here it is still visible how much emigration has been the most important phenomenon in the past.

(2) Why is there no famous writer from Calabria? And why have there been so many singers (Mia Martini, Rino Gaetano, Brunori Sas…)?

(3) Why are there Christmas decorations and lights all around the city centre of Amantea in August?

(4) The light in Calabria is so strong – I am not good at taking picture with it.

Talamone

Tre foto di un fine settimana da incorniciare.

Tables and chairs

There is a reason why all of my recent posts were about Paris: from 1 April 2021, Arianna and I no longer live there. In this post I will tell you about our final 24 hours there.

On the late afternoon of Sunday, we ride to Saint-Denis. This is our last chance to visit Atelier Baptiste and Jaina, our two neighbours we got to know thanks to the pandemic. In Spring 2020 we looked out of our windows clapping, at 8pm sharp. This is when we started to wave at them, since they live right in front of us. Then, in June, once the lockdown was lifted, we met at Patakrep, in Place Petrucciani, during a warm early summer evening. It has been almost one year since they first invited us to visit their Atelier. Finally, we go.

The Atelier is an incredible place: located along the Canal de l’Ourcq, in front of the Stade de France, in the first banlieue north of Paris. The Atelier is part of an old abandoned factory, with four rows of low, red-brick houses, each occupied by a group of artists: sculptures, cartoonists, web-designers, painters, blacksmiths, etc. There are two large streets with small tables where scattered groups of people sit to drink a beer and smoke a cigarette at sunset. Baptiste and Jaina welcome us in the house they share with eight other artists. They work on the clay, and guide us through their latest creations. We leave the Atelier late in the evening.

Monday is our last day in Paris, and it is sunny. We finish painting the apartment and we leave outside our furniture: it is gone in less than thirty minutes. Same story for the food that we deposit in the Frigo Solidaire outside La Cantine du 18e: an initiative to learn from. We go to have lunch along the Canal Saint Martin, near Place de la Republique, with Marco and Estelle. In the afternoon we bid farewell to the owner of the house. She has been rather unpleasant with us for some time now, but shortly before leaving she opens up about her troubles. Each person travels with their baggage, and sometimes it can be very heavy to carry.

The house is pretty empty now. We dine on the small table, one of the last things left in the apartment, right next to the window. In front of us we see Baptise and Jaina, and wave at them one last time. When they close their window, Arianna notices a reflection. It looks like there is someone walking on the roof of our house. Isn’t that weird? Curious, we leave the apartment and walk all the way up the stairs. There is a small ladder that leads to a manhole. When we put the head out, we are mesmerised. We can walk on the roof.

Sunset in Paris, a view on the whole neighbourhood, Butte Montmartre bustling with little lights. Four people are having drinking beer and smoking on the roof. They welcome us there. (They are down-to-earth, funny, half-French, half-Russian, half-Swiss, half-Argentinian. Could have become fantastic friends, if only we’d met earlier). This is quite a shocker. I spent much of the last twelve months complaining about the lack of space and light in our apartment. I did not know that we had one hell of a terrace at our disposal. I could cry about it, or laugh. Arianna and I decided to take it as a final gift, our grand Parisian finale.

Itinerario fotografico a Parigi

Marais

Qui ci sono due piccole gallerie, una grande galleria, un grande museo e due negozi. Le piccole gallerie dove ci sono mostre di grande qualità sono la Polka Galerie e la Fondation Henri-Cartier Bresson. Sono poco lontane l’una dall’altra. Poco più a sud, scendendo verso la Senna, la Maison Européen de la Photographie ospita regolarmente grandi mostre. Nella stessa area, al Centre Pompidou è sempre possibile trovare due o tre mostre fotografiche. I negozi che mi sono segnato sono Images et Portraits all’interno del Marché des Enfants Rouges (per stampe e cimeli) e Comptoir de l’Image (per libri).

Montmartre

Qui c’è la sede di Magnum Photos , che è sempre possibile visitare e ha periodiche esibizioni. A Le Bal  c’è un’originale selezione di libri, e un bello spazio per leggerli.

Altri arrondissement

Vicino a Gare de l’Est c’è una libreria specializzata in fotografia: La Comete. Nella zona di Odeon, La Chambre Claire ha una selezioni di libri rari. La maggior parte delle mostre fotografiche che ho visto a Parigi le ho visite a Jeu de Paume, a Concorde. Infine, a Hotel de Ville capita talvolta di trovare una mostra di fotografia.

Librerie

Rimpiango non essere stato un cultore delle librerie ai tempi del mio erasmus a Dublino, in Irlanda e trovo strano che la straordinaria Library del Trinity College non abbia acceso la mia latente bibliofilia. Quest’ultima rimase nascosta anche durante il mio periodo di studio a Victoria, Canada, dove pure ci sono sicuramente librerie uniche al mondo. A Bruxelles confesso di non aver mai avuto una libreria indipendente e di aver sempre frequentato Filigranes, che credo sia una delle più grandi d’Europa.

La prima libreria indipendente che ricordo davvero con affetto è la Armchair Books di Edimburgo, dove capitai per caso quando stavo lì nel 2014. Poi a Firenze mi innamorai della Todo Modo e ancora oggi ci torno sempre appena posso. A Torino, dove vissi tra 2016 e 2017, ero un assiduo frequentatore della sobria ed elegante Luxembourg a due passi da Piazza Carignano. Quando torno in Trentino mi concedo spesso una deviazione a Rovereto per visitare l’Arcadia, anche se lo scorso anno Stefania mi ha fatto scoprire una nuova libreria nel quartiere di San Martino: la Due Punti. A Neuchâtel frequento il Centre Social Protestant, che non è proprio una libreria ma ha un’ampia selezione di volumi usati di cui faccio incetta. A Parigi ci sono due librerie vicine a casa nostra: l’Odeur du Book per libri usati ormai fuori commercio, con una bella selezione legata all’arte, al cinema, e alla filosofia; e l’Humeur Vagabonde, con fumetti e fotografia. Risalendo verso Lamarck c’è un posto polveroso per fumetti usati, Encre du Chine, dove si trova letteralmente di tutto. Ogni tanto mi piace sperperare soldi nelle varie sedi di Gibert Joseph – soprattutto in quella del Quartiere Latino, che però sta per chiudere.

Ci sono anche librerie viste quasi di sfuggita. Lo scorso anno sono finito in un posto bellissimo a Madrid, pieno di scaffali e legno, specializzato in volumi di montagna: la Desnivel, a due passi da Anton Martìn. Mi è spiaciuto non averci portato Arianna, che era appena ripartita. Altre librerie visitate di sfuggita e nelle quali spero un giorno di tornare sono l’ampa ed enorme Libreria di Palazzo Roberti a Bassano e l’elegantesca e variopinta Hoepli a Milano. Sempre a Milano, Dani mi ha portato una volta alla Libreria del Mare: mi sarei comprato tutte le carte nautiche, anche se non le so interpretare. Sui muri di casa, però, farebbero un figurone.

Going out

I came back to Trento one week before a new round of restrictions to mobility entered into force. During these days I went up the mountains: Bondone, Paganella, Folgaria, Lusia. It was my time to listen, speak, think.

In the introduction to the book of Walter Micheli, Passioni e sentieri, Franco de Battaglia writes that gasping and panting during the ascent, men and women of different ideas discover that they share a similar fatigue. I always had the suspicion that Walter liked mountain trails for this reason too, not only naturalistic, but also a little socialist (own translation from Italian).

Palpable

My first hike of November 2020, together with Jimmy and Luca. It could have been worse.

I would like to add to these photos another one that I did not record on my camera. In the picture there would be three middle-aged men sunbathing at the crossing between Rue Norvin and Rue du Mont-Cenis: this year, the area around the Sacre Coeur looks like a little village on top of a hill. So very different from any other time of the year, when the mass of tourists gives it a different look. A few youngsters drink wine at the window. Elderly joggers stroll in the street.