Lorenzo & his humble friends

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

Tag: dani

Books I have read in 2019

I first saw The Schopenhauer Cure in Luxemburg, Torino, next to a dozen other books by the same author. Irvin Yalom is a psychiatrist who turns philosophy into a work of fiction. Arianna gave me this book towards the end of 2018. For some reason, I remember reading it on two distinct occasions: in a café on the hill leading up to the Sacré-Cœur during a cold December night; and at the RER stop in Gentilly, on my way to the Maison Doisneau on a grey January afternoon. I would suggest this book to those who are curious about psychotherapy, meditation, and pain.

The Schopenhauer Cure

Arnold Odermatt, worked as a photographer for the Nidwalden district police in Switzerland from 1948 until his retirement in 1990. He was initially trained as a banker and took up photography as a hobby. His work, which I discovered at Images Vevey, is gracious and ironic. I read and smiled over On Duty in Arianna’s temporary apartment in Marcadet, Paris, courtesy of Mavi. In the future I would like to add to my humble collection his other books, Karambolage and Off Duty.

On Duty.jpg

At some point in January I had to go back to Switzerland, but all trains were full. I remember reading La photographie sociale at 6 in the monring inside Coffee & Friends (a cozy café in the train station of Geneva) after a seven-hour bus ride. This little book is one of the gems of a wonderful collection by Photo poche, Actes Sud. (In Italy, these books are available as Fotografia Contrasto and can be easily found in most museums).

La photographie sociale

I read most of Waiting for the Barbarians on the train to the Diagonela; then I lost it, found it, lost it again, found it again, and finished it once and for all. I am happy to keep it on my shelves because it reminds me of Florence: I took this book when I left the apartment in Via Ponte alle Riffe, where we (Ada, Dani, Jonas, and I) originally found it in 2013, abandoned there from the previous tenants. The story is not really Florence-like, though: harsh, matter-of-fact, existentialist, with a desolate atmosphere of imperialist denial and defeat. It reminded me of Il deserto dei tartari and Mad Max – weird combination, ain’t it?

Waiting for the Barbarians.jpg

I listened to The Human Stain following Alkistis’ suggestion to dig a bit into the work Philip Roth. I started in Cuba, in 2018, during my wacky journey with Thomoose. However, the general mood of the vacation did not bode well with this book. I stopped for a few months and then resumed. I listened to it mostly on the plateau next to Neuchatel while training for the Marcialonga. This is why it reminds me of these valleys. Ironically, one of the most iconic scenes of the movie is set in a place that could very well be La Sagne, Eglise. This is a difficult book with some truly extraordinary pages. I recommend it highly, although it takes some time to get into the flow. It is a story about public morality and political correctness.

The Human Stain.jpg

Back in Trento for a couple of days after the Marcialoga I read Il gusto del cloro (which reminded me of Turin, when I used to go swimming quite often ), 100 Brani di musica classica da ascoltare una volta nella vita (this, too, I had first seen it in Luxemburg, Torino), and another book on classical music, Twentieth-Century Classical Music: A Ladybird Expert Book (I remember buying it at Shakespeare and Co.). What a waste, having moved out of Florence where in Winter I could – and often did – go to classical music concerts at La Pergola every Sunday evening. I did not understand a thing, sometimes I fell asleep, but I enjoyed every single session. These are simple books that you can read in-between breaks. Did I learn something new? Probably not, but I felt more intelligent while reading them.

In March I listened to The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception. This is my fourth Emanuel Carrere book, and hopefully not the last. The story is relatively short, so it only took me one lonely, pleasant day skiing in Les Portes de Soleil. (Sometimes you have to take yourself out on a little date on the snow). This book is mesmerising; but if you want to get into the heclectic prose of Emmanuel Carrère I would humbly suggest to start from some other books he wrote.

The adversary

In March I went to Brussels where Arianna and I were elegantly hosted by Delina and Giacomo. During our short stay I bought some high-quality bande dessinée: Le Chat, Tome 21 : Chacun son chat (you gotta love Belgian authors); and Egon Schiele (beautiful: brought me back to the exhibition I had seen with Arianna in 2018, Schiele and Basquiat, Fondation Louis Vuitton).

In early April, before spending a few days in Iceland, I wrote to Leonardo, a talented writer and avid cycling fan whose work I throughly enjoy. He answered promptly and most kindly with a list of readings. I only managed to read one: The Good Shepherd. This slim book tells the story of a man who goes looking for lost sheeps together with his dog – Leo – and his wether – Gnarly. The book smells like snow. In case you want to read other Icelandic books, you can start from Leonardo’s own book, Il libro dei vulcani d’Islanda, Luce d’estate ed è subito notte, or the other suggestion by Leonardo: Sotto il ghiacciaio.

The good shepherd.jpeg

Back in Paris at the end of April I went for the first time to Arianna’s new apartment, which is also a little bit mine. Nearby we found a good bookshop, Librairie l’Humeur Vagabonde, and we bought Un anglais dans mon arbre and Orwell. Both of them are elegantly drawn, but not particularly original in their story telling techniques.

In May I spent one happy weekend in Rome with Arianna. I was amazed by the exhibition dedicated to Mapplethorpe at Galleria Corsini, where the provocative pictures were thematically blended with other paintings in the crowded galleries. Shortly after I read Mapplethorpe Rodin that, I believe, I found in one of the boîtes d’echange in Neuchâtel.

Mapplethorope Rodin.jpg

There are a few books that I read in my Swiss apartment and on the lake shore sometime between late May and early June: Adieu La Suisse ! Construction Et Deconstruction d’Un Mythe (I saw this book at the museum in Winterthur and bought it shortly thereafter), Marx, Freud, Einstein: Heroes of the Mind (this was Arianna’s gift from Shakespeare and Co) and La ragazza con la Leica. I had great expectation on this latter volume, but it turned out to be boring, unexciting. It was a disappointment. Gerda Taro, whose story inspired this book, truly was an exceptional character.

During a short visit to Florence in June I discovered a strange place: Galleria Immaginaria. I was walking in via Cavour and looking for a quiet spot to work and I bumped in this gallery, wine place, and bookstore. The guy who was there invited me to stay ‘but I have to leave. Here, take my keys. My colleague will be back in half an hour‘. And he left. I was slightly worried this would turn out to be some sort of an insurance scam, but I went with the flow and stayed, a lonely kid managing a shop he just discovered. The colleague who arrived half an hour later was happy to find me there and invited me to a full Chianti tasting, which they have on the menu. In exchange I bought from their library I colori nell’arte. Sweet book. If you visit this place, remember the door is made of glass – I did not realise it and smashed right into it upon leaving the place fully drunk.

I colori nell'arte.jpg

In late June I read L’ombra del vento at the Circolino. It was a suggestion of Fabio. Probably a younger version of myself would have liked this book better. Then, just before traveling to Portugal, I read Donna di Porto Pim; in the Azores I read Viaggio in Portogallo; and upon returning from Lisbon I read Poeti di Lisbona. If you have to choose, read Tabucchi and some of the poems written by Pessoa.

 

Ricordo di aver letto Cacciateli!: Quando i migranti eravamo noi nei giorni in cui ero a Murren. Del libro mi ha colpito la desolante descrizione delle domeniche svizzere per gli immigranti italiani, nella quale mi ritrovo ancora oggi. Però nel complesso non raccomanderei questo libro, a differenza di un altro lavoro di Concetto Vecchio, anche quello molto personalmente sentito, che invece regalerei volentieri ad amici e conoscenti.

Cacciateli.jpg

On the train before my hike on the Pale di San Martino with Giallu I read this collection of essays by Susan Sontag. It is one of the greatest classics in the field of photography. You are likely to find a copy in the bookshops of all photo-museums and exhibitions. For me, this is one of those books that I could easily read over and over again because of its depth and beauty. I was genuinely happy to able to recognise most of the examples used by Sontag, mostly because of the many photography books that I have skimmed through over the last three years. I reckon the essays might not be as interesting for those of you who do not care that much about photography.

On Photography.png

Back in Paris in October, I remember reading the following three books. First, a short but powerful collection of essays: Sull’Iliade. This is a poetic and profound text for all my friends who like epical tales like I did as a kid. Second, quite unrelated, Modigliani: Prince de la bohème. Bought it in Madrid at the market next to the Buen Retiro, I read at Le Village in Place Michael Petrucciani. The third book is another comic text on an artist from the twentieth century: Capa. L’étoile filante. I must have bought it in Brussels. This is a good one, although I recommend Capa’s own ironical autobiography or his and Magnum’s biography by Russel Miller.

Speaking of Magnum, in October I read Magnum Mountains, which I bought at the related exhibition in Le Locle where I went with Arianna on a grey Swiss Sunday. Around the same time in Switzerland I read Dalla mia Terra alla Terra and Quino’s Manger. Quelle adventure, which I bought in a little Neuchâtel bookshop when Iris came to visit me.


I found the book below in an exchange box in Neuchâtel. I have not read many female Italian writers, so I jumped right into L’indomani. It is a short story, intimate, melancholic. A few months later, in the same exchange box, I was to find another book that probably speaks more to my feminist conscience – more on that at the end of this verbose text.

L'indomani.jpg

After reading about Mordillo’s death I recovered some of his books at my parents place, and a bought a couple others from second-hand retailers. These are strongly recommended to all the readers of this blog: All’arrembaggio, Lovestory, and Football.


When I went to visit Alberto in Milan, I had a couple of hours to kill, so I visited the Mondadori store in Piazza Duomo and bought Storia d’Italia in 100 foto. My suggestion, if you go to Milan, is to visit the Hoepli bookstore instead. Do not read these random books put together rather haphazardly.

Storia d'Italia.jpg

Di ritorno a Parigi in ottobre, mi sono letto d’un fiato le Settantacinque poesie di Kavafis, un regalo di Arianna. Valgono per questo libro le stesse cose che ho scritto per Sull’Iliade e, non a caso, quelle che scriverò poi per le Memorie di Adriano. Un tuffo elegante nelle gioie e nelle contraddizioni della cultura classica. Negli stessi giorni ho letto anche L’arte di essere fragili: Come Leopardi può salvarti la vita. Era sulla mia lista dai tempi di Torino, dopo aver ascoltato un volontario che ne leggeva alcuni paragrafi al circolo per i non- vedenti. Sono rimasto piuttosto deluso: ho trovato il libro ripetitivo e, a tratti, stucchevole quanto il blog che state leggendo. Magari le condizioni non hanno aiutato: lo ho letto nel treno notte verso Parigi, un’esperienza particolare. Ricordo di essere salito pensando a Grand Hotel Budapest. Prendo una birra nel vagone ristorante con Jack (autore di questo bel podcast). Poi lui mi saluta: buona fortuna e buona sopravvivenza. Cosa avrà voluto dire? Prendete anche voi un treno notte e lo scoprirete. En Cuisine avec Kafka. Letto a Reinitas, simpatico, snello.

It is time for the book of the year: Mémoires d’Hadrien. This was a present from Eliana. I started it in 2017 when I was doing research for my Ph.D. thesis in Spain. I dropped it half-way through, because I became unable to find any pleasure in reading. I started again this year, when I found a used copy in this little bookstore next to our house in Paris. I read it and read it all over again. This is a wonderful work, historical, philosophical, poetic, all at the same time. I highly recommend it to all of you, my dear readers, and I suggest you find a version that has the author’s notes with it. Yourcenair’s diary is as poetic as her prose. There is one example that I have posted in a separate space. It is a long quote, but it is magnificent.

Mémoires d'Hadrien.png

I bought Koudelka: Zingari: bought in Milan when I was with Anna, Jonas, and Irene – right after visiting the Museo del Novecento. This is not an expensive photography book as others. Get a copy. It is a wonderful collection of portraits made in different European countries. I read in Paris together with other photographic classics: Bill Brandt: Shadow & Light; Sebastiao Salgado’s Kuwait, a Desert on Fire and Terres de café, voyage au pays de l’arôme.

La prima guerra del football: ho letto questo libro a Trento, in maniera intermittente, tra giugno e dicembre. Mi ha fatto pensare a Giacomo Zandonini e alle sue avventure con Francesco Bellina. Particolarmente belli i racconti sull’Algeria, Nigeria, e Sudafrica.

La prima guerra del football

Chiudo l’anno con due libri in italiano. Il primo è L’inverno del disegnatore, riprendendo in mano un fumettista strepitoso. Questa storia relativamente è corta; come per tutti gli altri autori che già conoscevo non è la migliore, ma disegnata benissimo e con un taglio storico originale. Se però volete conoscere Paco Roca iniziate con i suoi libri che ho letto nel 2016. Il secondo libro, che si legge piuttosto in fretta, lo ho trovato una delle bussole di scambio libri a Neuchâtel. Invoglia a cercare antichi testi arabi di letteratura erotica.


Read my ‘books I have read‘ posts from 2018, 20172016201520142013.

Scattered notes with a Lusitano flavour

Lisbon. 
With Arianna, Flavia, Jonas, Dani, Anna, Joao.
July 25 – July 28

Fact: this is the only European capital on the Ocean.

Bright, bright light.

Alafama reminds me of Bari Vecchia.

Do not wear Birkenstock if you want to go out dancing.
Going on the seaside on a trotinette with Arianna and Flavia is fun.

I do not think I would like to live here: too big of a tourist industry, too narrow and steeps the roads in the city centre, too far the mountains. There are a few really beautiful things about this city, though: many of the inhabitants have roots in Brazil or in Africa; the buildings are colourful, the graffiti are intelligent; the food is good; the prices are low.

The heroes of the tourist industry are poets: Pessoa, Camões, Garret…

Never before in my life have I been offered such an extraordinary variety of drugs at all corners of the Bairro Alto.


Rabo de Peixe, Island of San Miguel, Azores

With Arianna, Jonas, Dani, Anna, Mariana, Matte, Ludi
July 28 – August 5

This is my second visit to a volcanic island this year, third in three years.

A lot of green: reminds me of the West coast of Ireland.
Cyan, azure, white: hortensias.
Some black volcanic stone.
Brown cows and their smell early in the morning.


Notice the big, fast, well-paved roads. Alas, there are virtually no public buses traveling on them.

The Tosanists are photographers working on the island. Their style is unique: through their masterly use of black and white they turn everyday moments into Kafkaesque representations of life.

Simple, square, and colourful houses.
Elderly men idling in the shadow with their cigarettes.
Village bars – crowded already early in the morning – are inhabited by men only.

Books I have read:

  • Antonio Tabucchi, Donna di Porto Pim. Did not quite like it first, then I read it again and I started to understand. I bought a fancy edition in Portuguese in the Livraria da Travessa. I will never read it but it looks cool on my shelfs.
  • José Saramago, Journey to Portugal. Bright idea: feel the journey, forget the names of the places. Alas, way too many churches.
  • Internazionale, Lisbona. I should have read it before, and not after having visited Lisbon
  • The Passenger, PortogalloTakes some time but it is worth the read: go look for the articles on surfing in Nazaré, on African-Portuguese music, on the exodus from Angola and Mozambique to Portugal, on the illegal search for clams in the Tago
  • Autori vari, Poeti di Lisbona. Short selection of poems with the text in Italian and Portuguese.

Picarésco

Agg. [dallo spagn. picaresco, der. di pícaro (v. picaro)] Relativo a un genere letterario sorto in Spagna nella seconda metà del sec. 16° (il cui prototipo è considerato il romanzo anonimo Lazarillo de Tormes, 1554) e diffusosi poi nel resto d’Europa, caratterizzato dalla descrizione delle avventure dei picari, popolani furbi, imbroglioni e privi di scrupoli: letteratura p.; romanzo p.; novelle picaresche. Anche, che ricorda o rispecchia l’atmosfera, le situazioni, le trame tipiche di tale genere letterario: avventure p.; un gusto pper il rischio. Un esempio dell’uso di picaresco nella conversazione tra amici relativo alla descrizione di questo bel whiskey.

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Dani: A voi è mai capitato di ritrovarvi con una falsa impressione di eau-de-vie?

Lorenzo: Sì, non preoccuparti: a me capita spesso in coincidenza di fugaci apparizioni della liquirizia, ma poi di solito la frutta torna al centro del palcoscenico (del mio palato, ovviamente).

Dani: Classico comportamento picaresco della liquirizia.

Natale col Gingerello

Two romantic pictures from my Florentine vacation, December 20 – 23 2019. In the first picture I am murmuring to Minda as she refuses to wake up in front of Dani’s house in Lastra a Signa. In the second picture I am sailing through the highway and I feel like Batman.

 

Firenze a giugno

Caves Ouvertes

Some snapshots from a very Swiss Spring weekend at the beginning of May. Features: Dani, Giallu, Jonas and Tosan – one year after our last reunion in Torino. Keywords: Europcar, Bains de Pâquis, fondue, marché, Auvernier, Pastis, Downtown, Creux du Van.

Books I have read, 2017

January. Cold, grey, busy Torino. After celebrating NYE with my dear Canadian friends, I fall sick. Marco, Leila and Etta come to my rescue. On Sunday January 6 I move into my new apartment where I will soon be rejoined by Niels. The place is full of books and I profit from it. I read The elegance of the hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, To the heart of the storm by Will Eisner, The hundred-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, and Novecento by Alessandro Baricco. The first is the subtly humorous story of concierge Renée Michel and her strategies to conceal her intelligence. I am not really fond of it; and I am not hooked by Jonasson’s book either. In the end, I drag along with the former and I leave the latter unfinished. Of these four, I would therefore highly recommend only Will Eisner’s comic novel on 1920s Germany and Alessandro Baricco’s short piece on Danny Boodman T.D. Lemon Novecento. Good stuff.

In February I am often on the move. There are two books, in particular, whose memory remains inescapably linked to the rail-tracks. The Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian tells the story of the individuals behind the commercialisation of citizenship by a global business elite. I spend most of my time writing about citizenship as part of my research, so it is not a surprise that I find this story a compelling read. However, it is probably the other book I read while train-spotting that I would recommend to you, my friends: The Courtier and the Heretic: Leibniz, Spinoza, and the Fate of God in the Modern World by Matthew Stewart. What an amazing story this is! When I read a manuscript, I have the habit of underlining the sentences that strike a chord with me; but with this book it does not make sense, for I find myself underlining everything. It is a bit of a heavy story to read, but it talks about philosophy through the virtues, vices and ideas of two opposite characters.

In the rare moments I am in Torino with some spare time away from my monstrous Ph.D. thesis, I volunteer to read at the Mauriziano Public Hospital. This is possible thanks to a fantastic association. Initially I am a bit lost: I stopped reading short novels when I was a child. So in the first week I only include in my repertoire two books by Stefano Benni: Baol and La Grammatica di Dio. The following week I add a series of books that I collect through life’s best strategy for survival: asking around. Our coordinator Sara puts me on the right track with Francesco Piccolo’s Momenti di trascurabile felicità; the unconventional librarian of the café where I go to write together with Teresa sells me Andrej Longo’s Dieci; and the infallible librarians of my favourite place in the city give me Julio Cortazar’s Historias de cronopios y de famas and Daniil Kharms’s I am a Phenomenon Quite out of the Ordinary. All these books are extraordinary, in their own way.

Already quite a bit of reading, eh? Keep in mind that I am finishing my Ph.D. thesis and I am lonely. Reading is a way to keep my brain going.

In March I leave the apartment. I am officially homeless. In the mountains of Trento I read Martina’s present: Le otto montagne by Paolo Cognetti. This is a simple, fetching book about silence, loneliness, and wilderness. In the same period I read another book that was given to me as a present from Dani, although it had arrived to me through the outlandish hands of Giallu: Tim Krabbé’s The rider. Here again, my friends, what an amazing book this is! If you want to understand how I felt when I was racing my bike back in 2016 you have to read this story. Let me transcribe the incipit here.

Meyrueis, Lozère, June 26, 1977. Hot and overcast. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Tourists and locals are watching from sidewalk cafés. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me.

In April I hail to Spain for a series of interviews that are part of my Ph.D. thesis in Madrid and Andalusia. In those pre-depression day I read another book courtesy of Martina: Joshua Foer’s L’arte di ricordare tutto. I finish it, but, for once, I would rather have not.

In May I fall into a depressive anxiety. June, too, is a ghastly month. Giallu, who sacrifices much of his well-being to stay close to me, lends me Cormac McCarthy’s All the pretty horses. I dig into it. I read the book sitting on Ponte Santa Trinita unbothered by the gallivant tourists wandering around me. If you do not care about getting this book, try at least to listen Calexico’s homonymous song.

All the pretty horses.jpg

In July, again, I am unable to read. But August is the month when I rebound. During some of the most beautiful days of my life high on the mountains I read Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell. Back home, I read another book from Martina (La casa, written by an old acquaintance of this blog: Paco Roca). She, and he, nail it. Then, on the shores of the lake of Caldonazzo I read a book that will have important consequences my way of living. Magnum: Fifty Years at the Front Line of History. The reason why I read this book is that during the last few months I have visited two Magnum exhibitions: one in Torino, together with Guillaume, upon my very last day before moving out (a sunny day, dawn of Spring time, an yet a feeling of twilight as I bid farewell to the place); and another in Cremona, alone, after interviewing a doctor in the historical city centre. These were remarkable exhibitions that made me think of how photography can be an extraordinary tool to decipher certain customs and conducts that we take for granted. So I read this book and now I just cannot stop. (Note: since August 2017 I visited more than ten photo exhibitions and read countless photography works).

September. I move to Neuchâtel. Fall is coming and I find it fitting to read another book from Martina (You & a Bike & a Road, a comic book by Eleanor Davis), one from J.H.H. Weiler (Un’Europa cristiana), and, as I said, many classics of photography. In my trips to Paris I read Astérix chez les HelvètesAstérix en Hispanie, and Concita de Gregorio’s Cosa pensano le ragazze. I also read Albert Camus’ L’Etranger – in French! I am rushing through now: I realise this post is already too long. Mercifully the best books of the year are already behind us.

In December I spend a few days in London with Francesca, Marco, Camilla and Isabella. In the occasional breaks from baby-sitting I read Darina al Joundi’s Le Jour où Nina Simone a cessé de chanter. Wonderful present from Giulia. If you want to read about undaunted women in Lebanon, this story would make. I also read 101 Things to Learn in Art School, finally succumbing to a book I have seen in all the bookshops of the exhibitions I visited during the year. (This was The Photography Gallery‘s one: I spent three  hours reading in their cafeteria). Not amazing.

My year comes to an end with an eclectic dab, combining Banksy’s Wall and Piece and Hergé’s Tintin in Tibet. Okay, this is really it. You might have expected a grand finale for this post, but I have used all my creativity and spare time to write it. Let us wrap it up and go.

… but in case you are still looking for something good, pore over my ‘books I have read‘ posts from 2016, 2015, 2014., 2013.

Update, March 2 2018.

Grazie Lore, un gustoso viaggio nel passato recente.

Ecco qui un simpatico aneddoto:
Il libro del Krabbé non era inteso al principio come un regalo, ma come un prestito.
Tuttavia, io sono ancora in possesso del “cavalli selvaggi” di gianlu che considero ormai come un ostaggio.
Si tratta quindi di un chiaro caso di stallo alla messicana letterario.

Un abbraccio

Daniele

2018: resolutions

Go ski touring in Switzerland. Finish the Ph.D. in style. Improve my French. Memorise twelve poems: one per month. Cook. Read one, big classic of Russian literature. Reunite Dani, Jonas and Tosan. Collect whiskey and photography books. Go sailing. Avoid developing an addiction for the pipe. Continue fencing and playing tennis. Race with the bike. Drink alcohol with Anna, visit Tirana. Hike with my parents, with Giallu, with Nicco. Travel outside Europe, meet Thomas. Spend some days with the Canadians, possibly in Istanbul. Get married. Nervous laugh: I was kidding on that last one.

Reinventing oneself

Some lessons I learnt after living for two months without a home and spending all my time on trains, planes, and friends’ houses (thanks!). A note for the random visitor: these are just scattered notes I write for myself, not a coherent post.

Communication

People seem to waste too much of their time communicating with digital devices. This is an old refrain, I know, but it is scary how people use their phones nowadays – and for what? I have been on trains where all the persons of a family of four never spoke to each other for the whole ride, because they were all incessantly looking at their devices. Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, emails, sms, Twitter, emails, Telegram: even me, I am inundated by applications to chat. I often think of a line of a certain Passenger’s song, we pretend to be friends on the internet when in real life we have nothing to say. As a reaction I have grown increasingly more inept at communicating with my phone. Forget long messages. Rather, I have elected four simple ways of communicating with you: (1) this blog; (2) a short sarcastic message, picture, or video to laugh about; (2) a handwritten letter, for those of you who really matter; (4) a flight/train ticket to come and see each other in person.

Smartphone apps, more generally

There was a moment of my trip when I was craving for a map of Berlin. Until that point I had been getting around anywhere just fine using googlemaps. Sure, the app was working well; but I realised it was my fourth time in Berlin and I still had no idea of how the city was structured and I could not even remember the name of the neighbourhood where I was staying. The way I use googlemaps is just to get to A to B and, as a consequence, I never memorise the information. I made a resolution for myself to start using old paper maps again – like these. It is not for a case that when I was still in Trento I had the ambitious project of creating one. (I failed, but not for lack of trying).

Being a guest

I received precious hospitality by Giallu, Martina, Pietro, Giulia, Jonas. I learnt to wake up in the sun, listen to classical music, treat wooden objects with respect, prepare a smoothie, separate clothes in the laundry machine. But – hei – I am just not made for being a long-term guest. I feel like I am invading someone else’s space. So this experience confirms that I am a bourgeois deep down in my bones. The word bourgeois, as you know, denotes a person that takes for granted the sanctity of property. This brings me to point 4 of my diary.

Stuff

Niels, who is going to live with me in Torino in a couple of days, says that he wants to have his belongs packed in one simple bag. A-ha: nonsense. Living in Florence for three years I have accumulated an incredible amount of stuff: books, clothes, games, bikes, paintings, a scooter, laptops, tables, all sorts of technology. This stuff -material stuff, really- reflects my personality; in some ways, it is even an extension of it. This is why I feel so strange knowing that it is now scattered around six different houses (err – and I take the opportunity to thank again my friends for their patience).

Home

Material stuff reflects my personality, sure. There is another reason, though, why it is so important to me: it also captures a particularly happy period of my life. So now when I take up Bruti I remember the late evenings playing it with Dani; when I take that one glass of whiskey I remember the night when I was with Thomas and he knew he got into law school; when I look at the little school bus I remember of my improvised journey all the way to Denmark with Iris; and so on: you got the gist. Now – of course you realise I have been bloody sentimental about leaving my home in Florence, but I think that is for a reason. At the moment I doubt I will ever find a place so welcoming, so radiant, so relaxed as that. But then, who knows? When I got there in 2013 I had just experienced Brussels with Mindo, a truly marvellous flatmate and friend. So I was convinced I could not find anything better than that. In fact, half an hour after my arrival in the house Ada and I were fighting -literally fighting- over the consequences of Spanish colonisation in South America, leaving short of words both Jonas, who had rented the cheapest room but was forcefully assigned the most expensive one upon his arrival ‘because you are the last one who arrived and since we have already put our luggages in the other room it be a bit of a hassle to move them now, no?‘; and Dani, who had been accepted in the house at the last minute just because the girl who had been favoured over him turned out to be pregnant. It ended up going swimmingly: they are my closest friends now. So let us be surprised again.

Sembra di stare a Roma

It took us six months longer than initially announced, but we are now moving out from our house and we are leaving Florence.

It is a huge change for me: this has been my life for the last three years. I cannot imagine a better place and a better routine than this. But as I have written previously, I am a bit like a bike: balance only comes when I am in motion. So off again.

Before moving to the future, I wanted to take a second to recollect some thoughts on the past. Daniele and Anna have been my point of reference since I moved here. I am not going to bore you with the usual sentimental rants: Daniele is a brother to me, full stop. Rationally, however, I can identify those things that brought us together: we shared the same silly irony, the cultural references (boris, stories about panache, impressions, suicidal bunnies), the desire to take up little nerdish things and get passionate about them (poker, bruti), the striving for new projects (gingerello, cineforum, hostels, dinners and presents) and plans for the future (morocco, dolomitesmaremma, poggio la noce, pelago – am I the only one to see a pattern here?). With him, just like with Matteo, it was a constant sdrammatizzare. (It is term that I won’t bother translating in English). Looking back at these experience I realize we always involved other people. It is going to be a lot harder without him, and Ada, Jonas, Meha, Nele, and Markus.

The house, of course, was special also because it came with a certain magic of itself. The last few days we were packing everything and cleaning up the storage room and the mezzanine. It was a bit like public works in Rome: any time we were moving something some strange memories from the past would emerge. I will write more on this in the next few days, as I will officially move out next week and I will spend some days in Ponte alle Riffe 39 alone with all my demons.

Before that, I am off to Switzerland for the hardest bike race I have ever done, with the worst preparation I could possibly have, and with a very messy road trip ahead. The red team is on the move again. I am very happy I am going to go.