From Venice to Amalfi, through Florence, Pisa, Livorno, Genoa, Milan, Monselice,
completing the first circumnavigation loop in Venice
What provided the impetus for this travel/book project was my initial indignation, subsequent reflections, and desire to respond, in a civically minded manner, to the neo-racist and neo-populist policies we are now witnessing in Italy. Actually, what really moved me to act was the increasing dehumanization taking place under our very eyes, both in the real world and in its virtual undertow.
A day before leaving to attend a conference that was to take place in Livorno, an extraordinary free port in the Mediterranean, I was struck by an idea that immediately raised my enthusiasm: a journey circumnavigating the ancient Maritime Republics. It actually began in April 2018 and is still ongoing.
I felt the pressing desire to build a travel itinerary and a reinterpretation of reality that would attempt to reinstate a precise cultural and political position and, at the same time, emanate an image of our current complexity. And as I was crossing Italy, I felt the urgency to narrate its open ports, both ancient and contemporary, in an age that would like them to be closed.
A journey made on slow transports and on foot, characterized by reflection and being present. It generated an entire travel log and hundreds of photographs, all of which soon turned into a report in the form of a story.
My travel took place amid media controversy linked to the Aquarius rescue ship and the Mediterranean NGOs, the census of the Roma people, right wing politicians statements about Roberto Saviano’s security detail, and so on. At the start of the journey I was in the desolate and powerless mood I grew accustomed to in the prior months; but I came back heartened by the realities I encountered.
Therefore, now I feel the need to instill into others the sense of openness that I felt after so many weeks of political discouragement. I do so neither by mythologizing nor demystifying, but simply by telling a story. I will transcribe my notebook by chapters, like a book. I’m aware of the limits of a partial vision, but I hope it will be as deepened and disenchanted as possible; certainly, it will be sincere.
I warmly thank all my friends without whom this journey would not have been possible.
Note: all the texts and photos of this report are by Giovanni Asmundo. They are reusable in copyleft, but I kindly ask you to always quote the author and the source link to the blog http://peripli.wordpress.com.
Chapter I. Venice
Well, this new adventure takes shape with the best auspices of wind blowing against the sails. I’m raising the anchor and sailing at full speed.
The idea of this journey originally took shape talking with F., before a waterbus crossing from San Giuliano to the Lido (the aromatic hill, the light reflecting on the waters of the lagoon and on the copper of the bell towers roofs). And it definitely materialized between sunset and twilight, near the San Nicolò “mouth of the port”, talking with D., C. and P., when, rather tired from the day, and sitting on the dock along the canal, the orange and violet colours of the dying sun were painting the two mixed waters of the sea and the lagoon, and sculpting the clearest clouds I had ever seen in a Venetian summer. Between day and night, between past and future, with the palms of the hands open on the Istrian stone releasing its heat, a warm and soft boundary between earth and water, between two Adriatic shores, a liminal condition already enclosed in the white mass of stone, carbonated by sun and time.
Here, at farthest corner of the world, in finis terrae. In front of the dome of San Pietro di Castello, at the mouth of the Arsenale that no longer receives galeazze ships, but it’s now a confluence of works of art and architecture, a delta of ideas flowing into the global world; not far away, there are other mouths, the jaws of lions and cannons of the Saint Andrews’s Fort, with its Sea Gate designed by Sanmicheli which is ideally reunited with the Zadar Land Gate. And behind me, the Pepe barracks, a cutout square of moon and stars, a campo (square), populated with ghosts. Darkness envelops the dunes, a fresh breeze blowing on the beach, where the shields, the brocchieri of modern Crusaders are shining, as they wait to set sail for the battle of Lepanto. However, not before spending some months in the harbour of Messina, along with all the European Mediterranean fleets, preparing for a clash with their Asian counterparts, a fate that is eternal,\z with an ending worthy of a tragedy by Aeschylus. The great careenage docks of Messina, a little-told story, but what an exceptional and unrepeatable setting it was for the mixture of songs, flavours, languages.
Messina. By a strange coincidence, today I received some beautiful photos of Scylla and Charybdis, with a ferry from a company appropriately named Caronte (Charon) directed to the port known i Homeric, Sicilian and Greek times as Zancle. The city then became the Messene of Bizantine Magistrates, the heart of Mediterranean trades and their hybridization processes, before the advent of the Maritime Republics.
The stars wink at the white Codussiano style bell tower of San Pietro, which in turn blinks at the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Next to us, the illuminated bell tower of San Nicolò recalling its function as landmark at the mouth of the port to welcome sailors. It reminds me of the bell tower-lighthouse of Madonna dell’Angelo in Caorle, “on this side of the river and trees”, a lighthouse that is still in usever there, lapped by foam and eroded by the salty breeze. How many unknown wooden Madonnas arrived from the sea, how many Saints in wooden trunks or hidden in hulls! They landed on the shores of the Byzantine coasts of the Adriatic, the Aegean, the Tyrrhenian… I would like to interpret them as metaphors of the sacredness of the act of landing, of the corporeal nature of the wooden wrecks.
And then this newly born circumnavigation, returning across the warm night, from the sea lion’s mouth of the Serenissima in the direction of the islands. In the days of the Aquarius, the first rescue ship against which Salvini closed off all Italian harbors. From the start, I furiously dissociated myself from the anti-rescue propaganda, opposing immigrant and refugee rights, by the the Government and the crowds of its neo-racist supporters, so this journey that I just started appears to me increasingly like symbolic journey, and as I plan and improvise it.
I feel the sea, its undertow, I settle for this placid lagoon on the vaporetto, with its lights off; and then the night, at a table in front of bronze statues, marble buildings and ancient gildings, following the first ray of a new dawn.
Dawn that is bathing the columns of Hercules in the Piazzetta, sculpting the statues of Saint Theodor and Saint Mark, the dragon and the lion, the gate to the sea and of the multiple Wests, as well as of the Levant and the vast Far East. The waves’ make a lapping sound under the gondolas of today and the tops of vanished moored vessels creak, in this pre-tourist hour, while the Dalmatian, Armenian, Jewish, German, Egyptian, Greek, Syrian, Hungarian, Dutch and Turkish voices fade away on the Riva dei Schiavoni, among trunks and animals, mud and precious goods, among painters, merchants, sailors and dock workers of every nationality. The chains on the Grand Canal are unfastened, the book stands open between the lion’s paws, pax tibi Marce etcetera. The Evangelist is asleep on the salty marshes, among the brackish canals of an empty, silent, untouched landscape.
With the unknown light slipping on the columns, I arrive from Istanbul, Constantinople, Nea Roma, Ilium, Atlantis. From the border, wide open to the breeze of every sea and otherness, I ideally set off once again.
Chapter II. The Arno, Florence, Pisa
Venice and Mestre
Driven by the the north easterly Gregale wind and by the dawn, I slowly walk across Venice and take the tram across lagoon, viewing the complex and articulated landscape and reality of the metropolis on the mainland.
Having taken my luggage, I slide next to the still silent Mestre market, a daily multicultural agora, built on peaceful coexistence, one of the most interesting and lively integrated markets of the PaTreVe. It is in the heart of the city, wedged between the two branches of the Marzenego river, but far from the spotlights. It is a collective space in which pessàri (fishermen)and frutaròli (greengrocers), their hands still tinged with dialect, heirs to the Venetian navies and suburbs, beyond being business competitors, these hands joke with Bengali and Pakistanis fishmongers and greengrocers, in the reciprocity of laughter and pats on the back.
And I board the first train of this journey, towards Florence.
At Santa Maria Novella, my eyes and my crooked mouth start filling with salt, in my walk between the station’s brass bars designed by Michelucci so dear to me, and the even dearer Rucellai stone sail, swollen by a lucky wind on the church’s facade designed by Alberti.
By an incredible coincidence I manage to meet, in this hub that is Florence, my friend C. and his sister M., coming from Palermo and currently living in Milan They are about to take off for the north; I join them for a quick chat in Nazionale street, an artery of the contemporary city. The more or less nineteenth-century mouths of the street, that’s what I would call the doors and shop windows, open onto a mixture of fancy shops, globalized chain stores, anodized and conditioned entrance halls, vegan shops offering vegan shakes, flashes of the Old and Wild West, transplanted corners of China.
This morning my friend C saved saved me with the sugar of his miraculous Savoiardi biscuits (my mind flies to the Gattopardo). Now I am close to the brass pietas of the Baptistry, to the genius of the Brunelleschi’s Dome and to the light colored marbles of Giotto’s bell tower. I will not go into detail now about my wandering around the city, among many personal memories.
As usual, I manage to reach my favourite lampredotto (Florentine tripe) outlet, on Albizi street, which was recommended to me some years ago by my friend G. There, I share a small tabletop with a Tuscan couple, just enough room to place our glasses of red wine. We chat and our conversation shifts from the Venetian and Friulian sòpa de trìpeto to the frittola and pani ca’ meusa you can eat in the Vucciria market in Palermo.
I really love Florence, its residual humanity hidden from the eyes along the streets of the city centre, its simple wonders, carefully folded an stored like a silk dress with a floral pattern. The lives of people with every skin colour, marked by the breath of the Oltrarno. The city streams wealth everywhere, a haughty beauty, suspended in time, as well as contemporary and pluralistic. Sometimes, walking along its streets, you can almost hear the throbbing heartbeat from a chest made of white marble, the artistic but also consumerist heart of this country. And with a bitter note, thinking of Pasolini’s Scritti Corsari, I walk across the nineteenth-century market, that was revisited as a “food court”, more or less at the same time of the Milan EXPO. and the long rows of stalls selling leather which, year after year, is increasingly more similar to plastic. I find the city filled with an unspeakable tourist crowd, under a blue sky with Hopperian clouds, almost fake too.
San Lorenzo church rests without a facade. Orsanmichele is silent. Amidst the astonishing colours by Benozzo Gozzoli and dusty pages by Ruskin, I witness “Florentine mornings” lost among tides of ice cream cones. Piazza della Signoria is burnt by the sun, with its medieval stratigraphy that was purposefully hidden under the pavement. I have visions of nights and memories…
And then, the Uffizi Galleries pleasantly renovated, but perhaps plagued by the need for perpetual novelty: newly opened locations, new event-exhibitions, new military garrison, new cocktails on the Lungarno. A pleasant westerly breeze is rising from the river, bowing under the luxury shops of the Ponte Vecchio, caressing the waters, the emerald landscape of cypresses and green marble from Prato, reaching the non-tourist districts, unpretentious, Martian, dripping serene or afflicted humanity, between quiet cobblestones, pergolas, family settings.
I can’t look at it, up there, San Miniato, a treasure chest of so many wonders. Breathe, “Fiorenza la bella”, breathe.
So now I am heading towards our origins, towards Pisa, with its white, Romanesque reverence, its Pasolinian and Dantesque memories, the merchant friends of Roger I, the Norman Great Count, the dense medieval urban fabric and, further, the coastline that I know by heart, thanks to the nautical chart “From San Rossore to Portofino” – that was the bottom of our wooden desk at home, over there in Palermo. Said chart was my consolation as I was immersed in my studies – and I retraced the coastline with my pencil, year after year, looking beyond the contour lines that fade from hydrography to topography, far away toponyms, traced and imagined lighthouses.
The train is running smoothly, without whistling, flowing like the waters of the Arno river we’re chasing. at great speed. Now we’re between Santa Croce and Fucecchio; crowns of Roman pines and tanneries all along the valley, before landing in the buried port, in the vast ancient and disappeared lagoon, at the confluence with the Serchio river.
Once in Pisa, I find my friends A. and P. in the company of C.; we take an unforgettable walk together, between the excitement of our visit and the dazzling beauty of the surroundings we happily share.
A lady sitting on a bench seems to have escaped from the two-dimensional surface of an artwork by Keith Haring. Walking along Corso Italia street, A. tells me about Livorno. She’s introducing me to the city’s presence, which is different from the elegance of Pisa; she doesn’t want to spoil my forthcoming impressions or surprises about the city. She limits herself to describing its turmoil and outlining its vitality, which I’m approaching gradually.
At the Ponte di Mezzo (the Middle Bridge), we come out onto the dazzling Arno river. I need to stop, I apologize, I need to look out, it’s just gorgeous. I’ve been here so many years ago so I have retained some very precise memories, but in the form of isolated images, which I now rediscover little by little, like going through picture from a photo album. I’m breathing the sea breeze and feeling the heat on my skin, I’m squinting at the chiaroscuro, against the light.
I smile at the buildings similar to Venice’s fondaci, I will soon observe one of them with forepart and polifores, I can imagine them teeming with life. The fondaco speaks a single language, similar in plan, similar in cross-section, with similar ogives, from here to the Near East and to all the shores of the Mediterranean. Its hard to believe the obstinacy of a typology that is found constantly, even with all its variations, between pàndokoi, fonteghi and funduq: an architectural body founded on the same word.
A Mediterranean building typology that, placed side by side, load-bearing wall by wall, in its multiplication and variation has woven different fabrics and yet so similar textures and patterns, constituting the individual canvases of a single composite fabric, the coastal cities of this Mediterranean sea basin, this “liquid continent”, of a salty and bright Middle Ages.
We stop in front of San Michele in Borgo stretto, I sneak photos of the facade, that is blissfully poised between a Romanesque weighted mass and a Gothic lace, between two eras and conceptions, influenced by references at different and expanded geographical scales.
A bunch of very contemporary balloons brings me back to today and I try to include it in the frame.I am intrigued by the painted inscriptions, which I later found to be dated in sixteenth-century and dedicated to the election of a University rector. I enjoy the free-spirited variant of a medieval,celebration that I’ve found elsewhere along the Tyrrhenian coastline.
And here it is, the dazzling Campo dei Miracoli. It’s even more amazing than I remembered. In this afternoon light, the inner space is exciting, just as the balance of the masses never ceases to amaze. The stone surfaces, which I remember as they were before the restoration, are now shining, perhaps too clean and sandblasted by these interventions, but everything is wonderful. In particular, I am struck once again by the unity of time, place and inspiration, at least so it appears, that this political-cultural manifesto of the Maritime Republic may have produced in the course of the centuries. The arches, the mouldings, the geometric decorations of the facades coming to life like the waves of Mediterranean culture summarizing and crystallizing it.
The Campo is invaded by mass tourism, but in spite of the consumerist consumption of the sense of place, generated by the rituals of souvenirs and the superficiality of the new world of worn out images, the scene can still appear incredibly lively and swarming with life. And perhaps, in this sun drenched and lucky afternoon, you can forgive everything, smile, and feel part of the boundless tide of innumerable limbs from every corner of the world converging here to simulate, individually but all together, a ‘correction’ of the Leaning Tower. In addition, thank goodness, for once, this is a photo that cannot be taken as a “selfie”, since your arms are busy straightening the tower, social interaction is required, which brings me even more joy.
The Campo Santo lawn is a pure and untouched green sea. And I tell the story of the Pasolini’s Medea and a Corinth reinvented through the juxtaposition of Campo dei Miracoli and Aleppo. There is a scene in the movie in which Glauce, who has fallen prey to madness, escapes from this constrained whiteness, in which we are now, and runs outside outside the palace, finding herself on the walls of the citadel of Aleppo. That scene is exemplary for the fluency of its editing and its perfect conceptual continuity. My thoughts shift to Syria, which in recent weeks is no longer trending in public opinion.
But in the meantime my friends’ joy is infectious, we tell one another other the latest chapters of our lives. They are radiant, as I observe them they restore my faith that a more smiling and open world can actually be achieved.
Moving along the tower’s perimeter, I look for a bas-relief, while squinting because of the glare. Finally, I can see it, barely sculpted by a shadow line. A wonderful depiction of the Portus Pisanus, open to the landing and departure of ships and goods, at the peak of its splendor as an open, free port. Enchanted, I take a photo that immediately becomes for me an emblematic image of the journey I am making.
As stated in the introduction, this narration wishes to be intentionally political. In some passages, I focus on the beauty and balance that can still be read today in the spatial richness of the ancient Maritime Republics. Its narrative style belies no aesthetic or hedonistic purpose. To the contrary, the idea is that these sites should be safeguarded as they are fundamental witnesses of past and present intercultural complexity. The beauty of the cities in which we live appears to me increasingly the result of this complexity.It seems to me, that it certainly it wasn’t closure that allowed and generated such complexity , but rather the openness to hybridity and cultural metabolization, which have nourished all identities over the centuries, whether we are conscious of it or not.
Interlude. Palermo as a garden city and “all-port” city
Crossing Italy far and wide, but always coming back. Here I am, my dear Palermo, reinventing you here as well as elsewhere, Returning to a pulsating, tasty and open city. Your contradictions are as immature and strident as always, perhaps even more than usual; but you are more alive than ever.
And I feel that I must try to tell the story of all these things.
The balate, cobble stones, are bright with rain, in the balance between horns blaring, pedestrian chatter and cheerful caciara, mayhem, in every language. Your urban spaces are gradually freed up. You wade across the flooding rivers of your troubles. You shout and whisper your resilience. Everything here is in ferment, you are luxuriant. The entrance halls that were closed before are now opened, and there is a blooming of words, exchanges, a desire for redemption. The righteous are remembered and honoured. We think about the future and build a better present.
Panormo, you are “all port”, you are open and contemporary. Cultures are mixed in a single pot, such as the one I’m listening to now, beaten with a hammer, in Calderai street. Your baroque churches vibrate, filled with the singing of Asian choirs. Your markets weave together banniate (market calls) and Central African languages. A complicated freedom merging the shores of the Mediterranean runs in the main arteries of your old maritime centre.
Zyz, Punic flower, your petals resist, they will be reborn. You look for harmony everywhere, you plant seeds and concrete attempts, from the heart of your Theater of the Sun to the laboratory of the South Coast, but also to your most complicated outskirts, the Northern Expansion Zone.
Palermo, ephemeral as much as lasting. You are necessary in this historical moment. You’re freeing and creating space and words. Painfully, you’re offering and requesting poetry.
Chapter III. Buried ports and windroses
Leaving the Duomo square behind, we stroll along streets with exquisitely crunchy brigidini, the famous aniseed waffles that I had forgotten in the meanders of my memory. I discover only later that they took the name from some nuns in the city of Pistoia devoted to Saint Brigida. I smile at the idea of ancient convents that were famous for their confectionery productions, and in a flash I tumble to the other end of the Tyrrhenian sea, towards the martorana fruits (almond past shaped like fruits), the pasta riali di mennule (almond paste), a recipe that is said to have been invented by the abbess Eloisa Martorana in a lost cloister of Norman Palermo. And the mind flies to the sweets prepared in Orthodox monasteries, on the Aegean shores of this Mediterranean. The biscuit koiné. And while strolling at a slow pace, we chat about Roman streets, we come back to Pisa along the Via Egnatia, from Anatolia to Brindisi, then the Via Appia, and finally here we are again, between the Via Aurelia and the East.
Between brigidini and Galilean memories, we cross the city centre again and then leave. We follow the course of the Arno river, accompanied by plane trees, long queues of cars stuck in traffic in the opposite direction, “battiali di civette”, winter “invernate”on the fields and bridges narrated by my friend A., coastal woods of a sea whose scent you can smell but can’t see anymore.
Entering the buried Pisan port, you have a sort of underground perception that the landscapehas undergone many transformations. It wears a suit, but it suggests it has worn others that it does not show anymore. Green with pines and golden with wheat, it is especially dense with time. It seems to envelop in itself all the seasons. And it seems to be wordlessly telling ancient chapters backwards. It tells of medieval ships that have docked there, Roman wine amphorae, Etruscan earthenware and before that, mute lagoons, crossed by slow migrations of men, a silence broken only by the isolated sound of birds with the same destiny.
We sail by car, back to the Apuan Alps. When I turn around and see them – moored prow in the absorbed light – they paint the landscape with indigo colour. In the evening, through the story, we travel among the Pontine marshes, the Campi Flegrei and Pozzuoli. At night, with exquisite maraschino and sour cherries, as well as aromatic herbs.
I fall asleep with the gentle lapping of absent ships.
After a restful sleep, I wake up thinking about the buried harbour. The view here is reminiscent of the savannah, the gaze can run free horizontally under the trees, all perfectly pruned by deer up to the same height, and triangular like sails. I cannot prevent my thoughts from flying to the Brijuni islands, in Croatia, where we had immersed ourselves in a similar landscape, I can feel the scent and the grazing light as it was yesterday. The archipelago lies just a little further south, but the vegetation is quite similar. I remain here thinking, extending the horizons, feeling my way in a wider latitude.
Not relying on your vision corresponds to an expansion of perception. Your breath expanding, this is the feeling of an open port.
We are walking with P. through the Mediterranean scrub. The myrtle in bloom was spared from the fallow deer due to its bittersweet aroma, while the hawthorns were carefully tasted. The wild olive trees, which I caress with my eyes, remind me of Vincenzo Consolo and the characteristics of a faraway Sicily in this season.
The first cicada puts its official seal on summer.
After lunch, I witness a joyful multigenerational reunion, people of all ages diving into an embrace. Instantly I find myself in front of a wonderful triptych that is not at all paratactic, and I try to frame into a photo.
I move to my room to take some notes. Looking out the window, the emerald cloud of pine trees and Mediterranean shrubs, floating over a sky of grass, is massive jubilation. The scent of fallow fields is in the sun. The vortex of dust made by a distant tractor reminds me of “Jenny’s skirt in a dance of so many years ago”, with a drop in the eye. The warm, mottled light carved in oil like that of a picture painted by the Macchiaoli. The terrace, fallen into disuse, looks like a photograph by Luigi Ghirri. The yellow stems and the green pergola remind me of an undertow, driven by this constrained wind of the underground port. I’m going out.
I walk in shoes that have come so far from the high waters, from unforgettable Venetian episodes. They have traveled a lot, they come from far away in time and space, they smile with me.
I find an inflatable pool where the whole world has its beginning and its end. Here it is, the Mediterranean that we conceptually continue to name Mare Nostrum, which we insist on defining in this way without admitting it, sitting in a discoloured plastic chair. And yet, that same chair could be transformed into a grandmother’s resting, with her arms open, open to a little hope ready to play and laugh.
I go back inside, a small mirror and a piece of cloth bring me back to my last Tunisian circumnavigations. Their starry shape reminds me of the geometric decorations of the Leaning Tower that I photographed for yesterday’s chapter. Once again, I get lost in the waves of Mediterranean syncretism, among the traces of this Maritime Republic that was once wide open to the sea.
The world is not perceived here in the buried port, but its presence is captured, as the spatial sense is extended to the terraqueous globe, the spiderweb of pilot books, the ports ringed like necklaces along the routes and the Carta Pisana, the first nautical map. We can caress it from the Black Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, with its two windroses drawn on the upper Tyrrhenian sea and the Aegean sea. We can fasten ourselves following the circle of breeze and wave currents of this ancient, unified basin. And the night navigation, the stars to measure this sea, thanks to the wisdom coming from Damascus to Pisa, with astrolabes, eyes and arms. And the petals of winds and currents rotate, while the rose of the Sabir language of the free ports blooms and blossoms too.
And hopping all the way to Lampedusa, my foot hits the Tunisian footprint-shaped coastline, I walk through granary/hills to the end of the world, to the “Square of the Wind Rose” in Dougga, lying before that last arch of triumph, facing a relative end of the known world, beyond which only the lions were considered to be present.
If for the wind rose the square was engraved
at the edge of the desert, a dull
horizon of a grainy land
at the regret of a stone sea
it was a trace of indomitable emptiness
to teach how to imagine the world
far from the foams, from the snows.
We came back to yellow and pink shores
rocks older than the quick clouds.
We left, though deprived of all stars
towards the vast oneiric East.
(from “Tunisian Triptych”, 2017)
And chasing lost stars, we go back in time, from the Middle Ages up to the ancient age, and then down to the archaic routes of protohistory, pushed by the first trading of metals, stones, and back even further, down to migrations along the coastal arcs or towards fertile volcanic islands whose name is inscribed in the winds.
In the lap of wooden hulls
the silver anchor was barely glowing.
The nights followed barbarous nights
in the mists of the towering sea.
By now, a house was only a dull
eye like a fish drowned on the bow.
Landing among the remains of the rivers
limping, we seemed to leave footprints
on the sand of shattered dunes.
Fleeing from the shrubs, we returned
to sink our feet into a cloudy lagoon
cordoned off by beaches.
Beyond, the mute foam of the sea
ate our lost figureheads.
The stars had all shifted.
(from “Metaphysical journey in archaeological Tuscany”, 2016)
From the window I look at the sea, it is a coat of nascent wheat, beyond the burning wall of this European afternoon of ours. Lying down, I hear someone passing by on the street speaking Arabic, the effect is one of estrangement, I listen and visualize the graphemes, which are indecipherable like waves, for me. I breathe the sea I can’t see, a sea with the fragrance of this and other lands, together with the salt that has dried on some wet paper, from years ago, in Caorle.
A wind that enters the room, mixing itself with the objects with coils and convections, crosses the doors freely (the ones left ajar, are opened and closed with a muffled sound, the same as in the childhood, like the lapping of some bulkheads, flanked along a quay). Past the corridor, it will flood all the rooms, for half a day. Then, punctually according to a forgotten rhythm, it will be the turn of the land breeze, nocturnal coolness, tender alternation of mutual and perpetual breath. It will be a steady breath, puff or gust, a warm nightly throb. Mediterranean homes lives on cross-ventilation and teaches us mutual exchange.
They insist on calling them landings, but they have no mooring, only the breaking of wood like vaporous foam.
Translated from the original Italian by the author, Giovanni Luca Asmundo and reviewed by Pina Piccolo. First publication in Italian the author’s own blog Chapter, I Venice; Chapter II Arno, Firenze, Pisa; Chapter III Porti sepolti e rose dei venti . This same segment was republished in La Macchina Sognante n. 14.
A practicing architect living in Venice, born in Palermo in 1987, Giovanni Luca Asmundo is also a researcher at IUAV University of Venice. His poems have been published in online journals such as Poliscritture and in some anthologies such as La presenza di Erato. he is among the curators of the poetry and photography project”Peripli, Topografia di uno smarrimento” and the poetry and videoart festival “Congiunzioni Festibval di poesia e videoarte 2015”.