Zena. Today I am writing about Genova, Genoa, Zena mainly because a songwriter, a musician called Fabrizio De André. 15 years ago he died..
A death anniversary is not the most pleasant way to introduce a city, so I beg you pardon for the unattractive start. But there are some cities that are incredibly tied with their history and peculiar citizens it is frankly difficult, I might say impossible, to tell about them without talking of inhabitants, present or past ones. De André described his city with devotion and sincerity: two great examples are “Via del Campo”, the street where a prostitute lived, or the album “Crêuza de mä”, entirely in dialect. Masterpieces to understand the rhythm and pace of Zena, its hard on the surface, sweet inside heart, moreover its pulsing, vivid blood.
The other day there was the anniversary, and my mind was running free through his songs and I could feel like being back in Genova. I love the city; I love it because it’s nestled in hills ending in the sea; I love it because of there the grey turns in orange and light blue, and the light is fierce like the eyes of its citizens. There is a delicate balance between sight, perception and knowledge: multiple directions, infinite discoveries and, from time to time, the harbour and the see. Bliss.
I thought of short descriptions to explain what Genova is, and I came out with:
– verbally violent (those walls has hosted an impressive quantity of swearing)
– anarchist (800 years as indipendent sea Republic still count. A lot..) but full of churches everywhere
– totally blunt (it’s not being rude, it’s being brutally honest and good, like a focaccia)
– multicultural (the harbour, the mix of cultures, the language so different and funny to hear)
– inspiring (Porto Vecchio, the harbour is peacefully active for every mindset)
I know I can’t fit in Genova, because I come from “the end of countryside” (P. Conte “Genova per noi”) but I fulfil my desire of Genoa by humbling walking up and downs and taking pictures of dark tight alleys becoming little squares of light. There, in my silences, I’ll be part of this particular city while laughing and observing the sun laying down beyond Magazzini del Cotone, when the lighthouse is already switching on.