La Paglietta: A Trip to Florence in Rilke’s Company.

 

“If only it were possible for us to see farther than our knowledge reaches, and even a little beyond the outworks of our presentiment, perhaps we would bear our sadnesses with greater trust than we have in our joys.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

In Florence, it is impossible not to rejoice, and at the same time feel candidly defeated by how little I knew of the place! Every single alley and square brought to light many things to discover. The trip was a delightful adventure. No wonder why everyone loves the place! The capital of Tuscany, eminent for its historical importance, it was the ambiguous setting of the lives of many men; Dante Alighieri, Filippo Brunelleschi, and Michelangelo Buonarotti, along with many others, are just a few masters that we all know of.

This past Saturday, I had Elegie Duinesi at my side, a collection of lyrics written by the Bohemian-Austrian poet named Rainer Maria Rilke. After having read a couple of verses,  I admit I did had difficulty understanding what was being expressed in his writing. Yet, the perceived meaning of his work could not help but become uplifted to another level of comprehension by the warm atmosphere of that day. Little did I know, Rilke had also lived in various parts of Italy. He made Florence his “home” for little more than a month, writing a diary of his own stay called: the Diario Fiorentino, a diary written for his beloved.

During the quick visit to Florence, I met a dear friend of mine that I had not seen for more than a year. It was so much fun. It felt as if we had never lost sight of one another; we chatted with the same tenacity of spring birds. Like little children, we boasted the silliness of our ways, eating non-stop all the food we put our hands on.  ❤

“But there is much beauty here, because there is much beauty everywhere.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

La Pagliette

That same day I would found myself attracted to a shop, my attention drawn in by a straw hat called the Pagliette. The Pagliette, is an important accessory that is part of Italy’s heritage. It is said that it is a symbol of Tuscany’s important straw industry dating back to the 1600s. Logic would have refrained me from buying such a hat, but when the sales clerk brought up the names of Renoir, and Manet to bribe me, I could not help but buy it. A woman needs to spoil herself, and only with the best of things. It is so funny though so many people stopped me throughout the trip to ask me about this hat. Some pointed out it was too big for my head. True. Others told me it was for men. That is also true. It moved around, along with each of my head movements, and it indeed look too big. Not a problem. I wore it anyways, and could not help but feel oddly hip. I will buy a simple black dress to go along with it when I will go to Monte Carlo.

Vince Corso la bibliotherapista.

 

 

It is a job with a mission.

There are people out there who have a natural knack for solving cases. They can not help, but become rather involved with the affairs of others in hopes to help, whether it be for selfish intentions or not. Who could not blame these types of personalities for being this way?  We are social beings after all, so I can understand.

“Every Coincidence Has a Soul” by Fabio Stassi.

Vince Corso, a bibliotherapist, is one of these curious people. A character in the Italian author, Fabio Stassi’s book “Ogni coincidenza ha un’anima.” It’s Signor Corso’s job to help others. Prescribing books for his clients in need of bibliotherapy. Giving also a color “code” for every singular type of problem, white for work related problems, green for family, red for love, and so on. He is a simple man, who white collar people might consider a failure. Living in Rome, Italy, living a typical Roman life. The way he read sbooks is identical to his way of “reading” the people around him. With a natural ability for healing others, one day he finds himself amongst an odd puzzle. Similar to being like a detective, he was on a search to find out what was going on with regards to Giovanna Boldini’s brother. The brother, a man suffering an illness called Alzheimer, was a patient of Villa Delle Rose: Casa Di Riposo Per Anziani e Accoglienza Alzheimer. The therapist finding himself visiting him, and sharing the company of that affascinating old soul. Many little details unfold. Vince Corso could not help but wonder “What did thoese phrases ment?” as he ponders how a man so knowledgable of languages could, highly cultured, with a house so rich and ancient that he could lose it all along with his memories.

It is a pity that I can not seem to find this book in an English version online. Despite its need to intrique: the book is a nice, humble read that also highlights, from time to time, details in relation to the experience of living in Rome today. I have lived in Rome for many years, so I can say that I know the place well. It reminds me of (with a smile)  the various places that I visited during many instances of my life. I found the book downstairs at a coffee shop one morning this past week. The author is a friend of a close friend of mine. I can not help but feel happy to have read this book in which I have found another person whom I can relate to.

Above being said: Books are rather healing do you agree?

(Book scheda:  Ogni coincidenza ha un’anima by Fabio Stassi, 2018, Sellerio)

The Profound Lagh de Còmm.

 

Meet me where the sky touches the sea.

Strolling the sidewalks of Como I found the above phrase as I wandered along, taking in the uplifting atmosphere that played out so lively around me. Many where the Americans who shared an accent similar to my own. They where on vacation, chatting in the presence of pizza, and/or a glass of wine. I know they must have felt the same as me, so fortunate to be in such a place; on vacation. The sky glistened as the lake mirrored. Running into the woman whoes shirt had such phrase printed across. She did not noticed me, and will never know how her shirt touched me with a sense of hope. A hope that was not limited to a single context. Watching the tourists, the Americans. I could not help wonder if they could recognize me as their similar. I wanted to tell them that I am one of them too. I knew they could not unless they heard me talk.

Though we eat little flesh and drink no wine,
Yet let’s be merry; we’ll have tea and toast;
Custards for supper, and an endless host
Of syllabubs and jellies and mincepies,
And other such ladylike luxuries.
― Percy Bysshe Shelley

The acclaimed, and well-known Lago Di Como is a popular vacation home of the rich, and the elite. Despite this fact, I found the place to be rather humble compared to what one could imagine. Filled with generous amounts of restaurants, stores, and hotels for all budgets. I enjoyed snacking on an apple at the pace of a dazed gait as I observed inside the shops’ windows of the many boutiques. Lake Como is the third largest lake of Italy, being deep at 1,300 feet it is considered one of the most deepest of Europe. The lake whoes shape resembles the greek letter lambda (a upside down letter y), resides in a pre-alpine territory called the Larian Triangle within the Italian region of Lombardy. The letter lambda is the 11th letter of the Greek alphabet.

It is impossible to not feel like a poet, as a person find themselfves looking at the boats parked on the surface of that bed of water. A boat, in which within my inner workings represents a symbol of yearning. Many poets where said to have passed by the town of Como. Like that of the young, intellectual, rebel of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley inspired by the idealisim of “The Age of Reason”, and a fine Romantic true in his ways. Durring a fugo d’amore along with Mary Wollstonecraft, the author of Frankestein, they fell so much in-love with the place. Both desired to make it their permanent residence, even if it did not ended in that way. Anyways, who could blame them for loving Como very much! Even Luigi Pirandello, the Italian writer, and dramaturge passed by Lake Como, making it the scene of his tormented love for the exceedingly younger actress Marta Abba.

“La solitudine non è mai con voi; è sempre senza di voi, e soltanto possibile con un estraneo attorno: luogo o persona che sia, che del tutto vi ignorino, che del tutto voi ignoriate, così che la vostra volontà e il vostro sentimento restino sospesi e smarriti in un’incertezza angosciosa e, cessando ogni affermazione di voi, cessi l’intimità stessa della vostra coscienza. La vera solitudine è in un luogo che vive per sé e che per voi non ha traccia né voce, e dove dunque l’estraneo siete voi” 
― Luigi Pirandello

I loved Como. I will be back again to visit to get a closer peak of its many treasures to type about. In the meantime I will leave this post as it is, for it is really late in this part of the globe.

Have you ever visited? Let me know in the comments!

A Few Thoughts on Uhlman’s Reunion.

 

Reunion, a memoir of “Friendship”.

Recently contemplating a friend’s profound views on what she considers is the use of the well-known word: friendship. I could not help, and not become aware of the importance to understand its meaning. So vast in significance, and personal within each’s own range of perspective, the truest form of this idea must be a complex one to understand. A quick, superficial glimpse of what our “piece” of society deems its definition is seen by looking up the word’s etymological meaning within Google’s search engine.

Stumbling upon the following:

Old English freondscipe “friendship, mutual liking and regard,” also “conjugal love;”

The Online Etymology Dictionary’s definition is a helpful clue. It is logical, but what is mutual liking? What does it mean to be in regard of another? Conjugal love sounds also rather romantic! How confusing is all this! Whatever may be the many conclusions of this ponder, it would be interesting to comprehend what causes the definition of a word to inspire reactions so diverse from one person to another. That being said, at times it is best not go through the traditional route of logic, and live the definition in it’s most sincere form

Fred Uhlman: a man saved by friendship. 

Reunion, is a novella of less than a hundred pages written by the German painter, and lawyer named Fred Uhlman. The story starts in Stuttgart Germany, the author’s hometown, narrating a instance of life between two young boys whoes friendship begins in a period of time pre-dating World War II. Hans Schwarz, is not a typical boy, neither is his dear friend. Hans a sixteen year old from a bourgeois, Jewish family, and Konraid von Hohenfels, a young boy of the same age, deriving from important nobile origins. Ever since the first day when Konraid came to class so unique, and elegantly dressed,  Hans could not help but desire truthfully for the attention of that future friend that had captured his interest. With much effort, he was able to do so, succeeding with his quest; to find the boy to be timid similar to himself. The subjectivity of Hans consistently touching, his sensitivity guides his curosity as he tries to find out what hurtful truths lies hid behind his friend’s family.

The life of Fred Uhlman was a rough one, being a Jew in the period of the rise of Nazi Germany he was able to save himself by a call of his friend, Pazaurek, that hinted to him that it was the best moment to be in France. Escaping to Paris he found himself amognst many difficulties, the laws that regulated imigration did not allow foreigners to work. Living, and working undercovered Uhlman painted selling his art. He was able to have success despite the difficult quest to find buyers. After moving many times, including the country of Spain, in England he was exiled three years after his arrival in 1940. Sent to the Isle of Man where he spent half year with other immigrants that came from enemy countries. Uhlman was not a professional writer, and did not consider it as his career. I found the novella to be perfectly written, in a style similar to the character of the sixteen year old. Each word fluidly leading from scene to the next, each “mini chapter” where not many pages long. Expressing ha deep sense of humanity, one could not tear as they read the book. Being a short novella it took less than a half a day to read it all, it’s final being a touching one. That leaves a person pondering about the meaning friendship.

(My Book’s Scheda: L’Amico Ritrovato, Editore: Feltrinelli, scritto 1971)

Lake Orta’s Little Gozzano in Piemonte is a place full of ducks.

Residing within Piedmont, the well-known region of the city of Turin, there is a lake named Lago D’Orta. Lake Orta which is located on the region’s north-eastern border, confining Lombardy; is not too far from Lake Como. Having a length and width of 13,4 by 2,5 kilometers, anyone who decides to compare this lake with one of the larger neighbouring lakes like Lago Maggiore, will find that there is a vast difference. This gorgeous locale situated in the provinces of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, and Novara is a hidden jewl. The Lake’s Island of San Giulio dates back centuries, with its main historical development pertaining to the 4th century’s evangelization of the area. Far off from a short distance, with clear view of the Island, I along with a group of friendly acquaintances decided to go out to eat for dinner at Gozzano, right on Lago D’Orta.  Perfect for thoes of a sensitive nature, that do not need the eccentricities of architecture, and shops to feel a sense of wonder. The humble town with a population of little more than five thousand habitants, would have been quite silent if it was not for the local restaurant that attracted the nearby residents of various villages. Sitting at the table, with chairs situated on a pleasing patio, the place was lively. Tempted by the wonderful pizzas that passed by around me, I stayed true to myself by being healthy, and ordered a simple salad with sparkling water from a cool glass bottle. Enjoying that lovely, Italian evening amognst a happy conversation. Gozzano was nice and relaxing. If I get invited to go back soon I would be glad to, even though I have many other exciting destinations to go to on my Upcoming Trips List:

Lake Como, Lombardy

Florence, Italy

Monte Carlo, France

Rome, Italy

I can not wait!

Just so you know, because I love sharing stories. At one point in between laughter, and finding myself chomping away to rucket salad. I was taught a proverb Piemontese, that was completely unfamiliar to me:

(Che bello amo i proverbi!)

Al ris al nassa int l’aqua e ‘l mora int al vin.

Rice is born from water, and dies in wine.

As everyone knows Piedmont is famous for the extensive cultivation of rice. To visit this region without trying the renowned risotto called Panissa would be a pity. Slowly cooked  for many hours it is made out of beans, onions, red wine, lard, pork rinds, along with many other substantial ingredients. The Panissa is perfect for the cool autumn weather setting in. Do not worry about the extra weight, in the meantime enjoy yourself. If you do decide to wander to this part of the globe make sure to prepare yourself with fork, and spoon.

So why I did not order rice? I have no clue maybe next time I will! Rice is so delicious!

Italian Seasonal Fruit far from Krögers.

 

 

“Un kilo di fichi per favore!”

Voreei  un etto di more, e un melone intero!”

“Magari, se aggiunga un’ po’ di uva non sarebbe male!”

Seasonal fruit varies from region to region, and obviously place to place. A wonderful thing to point out is that after being able to comprehend a “Kilo is a kilogram.“, and that a pound does not amount much in weight. The humble, Italian signora tending to her fruit stand, selling fresh products, is also able to teach you a vast amount of valuable information on how to choose the correct type of locally grown fruit.  Like a sage, she can guide you on how to use your senses of smell, touch, and sight, so you can become a master on how to choose correctly the perfectly riped fruit for the current period of the year. With September about to arrive, and this being the time of prickly pears. Prickly pears, known as fichi d’india, are flourishing, ready to be eaten. Deriving  from the southern areas of the country like Sicily, Sardegna, and Puglia. They are quite common to find in shops, and on stands in huge quantities. Now that we are in the time of year in which we are able to find a rich selection of fruits, my Italian neighbors, and I are lucky to find shops plenty of  figs, melons, apples, grapes, and incoming pears to stuff ourselves!

 “La Frutta Di Stagione di Septembre” Mini Vocabulary:

Take note to follow the farmer’s advice pick the riping fruits by the end of September under a waning moon. Make sure to read up what fruits are ready for attention in relation to your area.

Un grappolo di uva - A bunch of grapes

Un melone - A melon

Le more - The blackberries

Un figo - A fig

Un ficho d'india - A prickly pear

Una mela - An apple

So that being said.

What does Seasonal Italian Fruit have anything to do with Krögers?

Good question, let us keep moving on.

Tonio Kröger,

a 1903 novel of self-reflection by Thomas Mann.

Having won the nobel peace prize, this particular book’s main character was Tonio. The character, essentially  who felt constantly torn between two worlds was one of a complex personality. Partaining from two distinct nationalities, and what one could superficially believe two diverse social clichés. Was the son of a rigidly bourgeois, German Consul, and a lively, artsy mother from Brazil. The man finds his sensitive nature, attracted to the arts, and the intellectual life constantly under self-relfection. The book’s starts when the man was just a child of fourteen years. Feeling like an outsider, and not similar to other children, Tonio, had a name so unique. Unlike his beloved friend Hans, who through horseback riding, and athletics gained him popularity amognst his peers. Kroger felt separated from the rest preferring poetry, and letterature. This causing him to have a difficult time being able to relate with others, specifically to his dear friend that he loved. Tonio returning back to Lübeck,a city in Germany, after many years as an adult decides to embark on a  journey of reminiscence to see his father’s home in quest for understanding, and to connect to his roots. Finding his home to be clearly altered, this detail, among many others is a clear use of symbolisim used by Mann’s part to represent a deep-seated  meaning. The character, also risking to be arrested along his journey towards Denmarks, finds himself going deeper, pondering his dear friends to understand his need to resolve his personal dilemma.

“Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced. ” Tolstoy

 

What do you think? Do you like peaches or pears?

Vivid Grey, The Duomo of Milano, and Hip, High Fashion.

 

 

Being far from humble, Milan is somewhat discreet behind the vivid grey atmosphere that pertains to the city’s unique charm. Just as one arrives to Milano Centrale, the center train station, a visitor finds themselfves in the second most largest station of Europe, a focal point, connecting Northern Italy to various surrounding destinations. One should not be confounded when being drawn in, welcomed by the multitude of passing commuters, as it is the capital of the region of Lombardy. Of immense importance, already in the distant past, Milan, once was called Mediolanum. Conquered by the Romans in 222 a.C from the celtic ethnic group of dubbious origins named the Insubri. The city is now a melting pot of entrepreneurs.  Still currently part of the famous “industrial triangle” once formed with Genoa, and Turin. Today’s formation changed to Milan, Padua, and Bologna. Many Italian imigrates transfer themselfves from all parts of the country to this city in hope of  a better future.

Not a suprise, the city defined as one of the “Big Four” High Fashion Capitals across the globe along with Paris, New York, and London. Milan, to the newcomer may seem like a gigantic, open shopping mall. Where on every corner there is a business of some sort. Difficult to comprend for the non-adaptable, make shure to be hip, and up-to-date like the locals with Google Maps in your cellphone, on hand to guide you around. Milan is similar to  a labyrinth.

It took many centuries to complete the well-known, gothic cathedral of “Basilica cattedrale di Santa Maria Nascente”, known simply as The Duomo. The cathedral’s large dimensions of size far passes that of St. Peter’s Basilica of The Vatican City. Under the guide of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Milan’s first duke of Pavia. His desire to build a house of worship was inspired by the innovating European architectural modes of that time. Starting a quest to build the cathedral in the style called the Rayonnant Gothic, this style, pertaining to French architecture of the mid 1200s, and 1300s was new at that time. The cathedral was built with many other diverse designs in the course of ages, making it a historical landmark of a bizzare kind. You may wonder, how does it feel to be in the prescene of such piece of history? To be truthful, it bewildered me with the divine variety of detail of its “decor”. A person, like myself finding herself infront of such view could not help, and not succumb to a moment, resting speechless,  allowing myself to feel pleasantly ignorant.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, just near Piazza Duomo was my preferred place when visiting Milan. The structure built in 1867, representing within the context of imagination the era to perfection, had me dreaming to be an elegant contessa of the era walking, fashionably dress underneathe the tunnels. Now, being the location, of many bars, and restaurants whoes focus are clearly directed towards tourists. The historical library called Libreria Bocca, with a story dating back to 1775 is one of the oldest of Italy. It’s first location being in Torino opened by two brothers named Giovanni Antonio Sebastiano, and Secondo Bocca. I was glad to find myself casually in that place. The librarian, and the various client’s friendly manners, along with the shop’s creative interior design could not help cause me to have a smile on my face. Every writer would dream to sell a book in there!

Of course, like the majority of places you require more than a day of to be able to see it, and a life-time to know just a part. What I can state from a personal prespective, it is not difficult to become distracted by the shops when visiting Milan. Tempted by the many colors that contrast the vivid grey hues of the city, it is easy to forget to visit the historical monuments. So be hip, when in Milan do what the Milanesi do, in which I can truthfully say I have no clue.