Editoriale | Editorial: Di città in città | From City to City

Authors

  • Lucio Barbera

Abstract

The glimmers of the Mediterranean. That time, returning from Tehran, we decided to take a Pan Am flight that allowed us, at no extra cost, a two-day stopover in Istanbul before taking off again for Rome. The weather over Anatolian Turkey must have been really bad if the jumbo, upon leaving Tehran, was diverted over the Mediterranean, which it had just reached, after an hour’s flight, at a stretch of the coast between Antioch and Laodicea, between Turkey and Syria. When we had been told of the deviation, Quaroni wanted to change seats and went to sit next to the window. The large Pan Am was certainly not full. We were off-season; in fact we, were enjoying our “low season” tourism offer. The hostess brought us, unsolicited, a bottle of Shiraz wine, Persian, and two fine glass chalices; the captain began to inform us, from time to time, on the flight route, as for making amends for the deviation that lengthened the flight and not by a little. The city of  Antioch to our right, he informed us. Too late. We managed, however, to catch a glimpse of Cyprus – yes, Cyprus – to our left. Ludovico – so he told me – hoped to see the islands and the ragged coast after Rhodes; “beautiful islands, even more beautiful, the coast” he exclaimed. He was from the generation for whom that group of islands scattered between Crete, Cyclades, and Samos – the Dodecanese islands – for thirty years had been an Italian asset, especially dear for some architects who had been his teachers at the faculty; historians and planners. He remained fixed at the window while the names announced by the captain – Antioch, Laodicea, and Cyprus – and the first glass of Shiraz warmed our conversation. We were coming from Persia, we had met in Tehran: now we were flying over the Greek sea, over its ancient cities, over Aphrodite’s island – Aphrodite’s ... worth a toast, Ludovico! – and we were headed towards Constantinople on the last leg of our trip to Rome. We were crossing in its entirety the space of the ancient world, that space where, at that time, by pure chance we would meet from time to time as we moved, each on his own task, among its cities of greatest fate and the most beautiful. The thoughts of that world had soared with us; with us always. Of that world we used to reason between us each time we happened to pass an evening alone together or with our refined Iranian hosts, strolling aimlessly along walks under the monumental sycamores of Tehran or sitting in the garden of an old hotel in the countryside enjoying Iranian vodka under the very bright sky of Fars, on the border of the desert. Even when we had not met for months our conversation picked up as if it had never been interrupted. “Here” Ludovico turned to me one of those evenings, after a moment of silence, “when my wife, Gabriella, asks me what we talk about so much, you and I, when we meet here in Persia, I answer, we converse... comparing... the departed seasons, and the present and alive, and the sound of her.” He chuckled in his beard at his irreverent use of the words of the great Giacomo [Leopardi]. But it was true. In those conversations swaying between antiquity and our time, between history and that instant of our lives that witnessed our being thrust into another time, only the way we dressed reminded us we were from a future that in our hearts did not hope for those places. And we conversed with our Persian friends like travelers outside of time, really comparing the cities of our many modernities, dead or dying, to the antiquity here and alive of present Persia. It was in these conversations that I understood how much in Ludovico the vision of the future city was bound to the transfiguration of the ancient city, as if to finally design a new world worthy of the great past of our history it would be necessary to erase and forget all the models of modernity experimented in the West and imposed universally, stacking one over the other, in all their monumental, mechanical archaism; and failures. In him was ever present the cultural training of a generation of Italians that could not help but confront – even if only to refute – the original Futurism, that of Marinetti “the Egyptian” who sought vital energy in the technology of the future and in the native strength – even brutish – of the past: to destroy the West. 

Published

2020-12-30

How to Cite

Barbera, L. (2020). Editoriale | Editorial: Di città in città | From City to City. L’architettura Delle città  - The Journal of the Scientific Society Ludovico Quaroni, 13(17). Retrieved from http://architetturadellecitta.it/index.php/adc/article/view/304

Issue

Section

L'Architettura delle città-The Journal of Scientific Society Ludovico Quaroni