Lorenzo & his humble friends

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

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.

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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.

walking-out

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?

 

 

The world of today

This post was written on Thursday evening

It is the last time I am going back to Torino by train.

Since I moved there in October I have gone back so many times – on top of my mind I can recall four from Florence, three from Trento, one from Milan… I have discovered new train stations, like la Mediopadana. I have listened to bands I did not know before, like Snarky Puppy and Hiromi Uehara. I have also went back to some other bands I knew already, like The Cat Empire, Passenger, and Bon Iver. I have changed two apartments, but kept my mate Niels with whom I spent countless hours in the night playing ludo, chess, and that bizarre historical game of dates. It was always good to go back.

In Torino I found an elegant, bright, lofty city and I would have wanted to stay. But next Sunday I will have to move out again. Time always passes, seasons come and go, and so do I.

Perdere il voto

Al centro di ricerca con cui collaboro da qualche anno ci occupiamo di studiare, tra altre cose, come cambia l’estensione del suffragio elettorale tra paesi e sistemi politici diversi. In pratica, confrontiamo centinaia di elezioni in tutto il mondo per capire chi ha diritto a votare e chi no. È un tema importante, perché a seconda di dove viene tracciata la linea tra questi due gruppi si favorisce un candidato anziché un altro. L’ultimo caso in cui le decisioni relative al suffragio potrebbero aver avuto un esito determinante su una competizione elettorale è quello delle presidenziali americane del 2016. Leggete il resto del mio articolo su Unimondo.

Let’s be ready

Few have been the posts I have published here in the last couple of months and this is due to a variety of reasons. Three of these are more important than the others and I want to discuss them with you.

First off, this space was born for myself, my family, and some close friends. In the last ten years of my life I have moved frequently, so this is a good instrument for communicating what I do to all those people who are nowhere near me. The problem is that the number of readers has grown over time. I think this has to do with the fact that nowadays some of my posts pop out on the search engines. Several of the people who read what I write barely know me or do not know me at all. This has changed my approach: at the beginning, this space was a conversation between me and my friends, now it feels like talking to an audience. Too often, this awareness has stopped me from writing, because, you know, certain posts read by the wrong kind of people are like a piss against the wind. Anyways: this is not how it was supposed to be. From now on, this blog becomes a conversation between me and my friends again.

However. My work has changed over the last semester or so. I am completing my Ph.D. dissertation and this is depleting all my energies. It is not so much about the amount of work – sure, though, that is a lot and I have started again to work until the wee hours of the night, just like when I was a student. Rather, it is the type of work: it feels like I am living in my mind the whole time. This makes it hard to communicate with others – personally and impersonally. This will come to an end soon. But not yet.

For now, my dear reader, I have one good advice for you. Invest in your friends, for they are the cornerstone of a rich existence on this planet. The quality of your life depends so much on them. I like the kind of curious, ironic, resilient people; but maybe you will be looking for something different. It doesn’t matter. Once you know that you have found people who make you feel good, keep them close. You can do it even if they are far.

Below you will find some pictures we took during our sixth new year’s even reunion with the Canadians plus and then some other pictures from a weekend with my florentine brothers. This weekend, really. All these pictures were taken in Torino, where I am living now. You know how they say about Mahomet and the mountain.

Articoli del 2016

Ho chiesto a Piergiorgio quali sono stati gli articoli più letti su Unimondo negli ultimi 24 mesi. I vincitori: un approfondimento sull’aumento rapidissimo delle domande d’asilo di cittadini del Gambia in Italia (anche se la quasi totalità dei gambiani non ottiene lo status di rifugiato); un pezzo  quello sull’aumento dell’esportazione di armi dal nostro Paese (tra cui 5.000 bombe partite dalla Sardegna inviate in Arabia Saudita e utilizzate dalla Royal Saudi Air Force per bombardare lo Yemen e oltre 3.600 fucili della Benelli inviati alle forze di sicurezza del regime di Al Sisi) e un tributo alla donna che nel Rajasthan indiano ferma i matrimoni tra le spose bambine (proibiti in molti ma non tutti gli stati del Paese).

 

Un dilemma democratico

L’ultimo articolo che ho scritto per Unimondo parla di come comportarsi con Donald Trump: collaborare o resistere? Lo potete leggere qui.