Alberto Savinio

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Alberto Savinio

Alberto Savinio, pseudonym of Andrea Francesco Alberto de Chirico (C.E.1891 – 1952), Italian writer, painter, playwright and composer.

Quotes by Alberto Savinio:[edit]

  • In Catania the baroque is an eruptive disease.[1]
  • In fact, at the bottom, Etna forms a cone. But how different from what you imagined! Is this the terrible Mongibello, the fiery prison of Typhon? The most harmonious mountain in shape, gentlest in appearance that I have ever seen. I had locals point it out to me, to make sure it was really him. Except that all the clouds in the sky, whether few or many, he gathers around him, like hens chicks.[2]
  • We enter sleep through an act of daily selfishness: into death through definitive selfishness.[3]
  • The present, which is in time what the facade is in space, prevents us from seeing things in depth.[1]
  • In Sicily I relive my childhood. In the night of my childhood memories, the wheels, the stars, the fireworks rockets shine. Pyrotechnics are alive in Sicily; perhaps throughout the South.[2]
  • In Sicily women are in the foreground and in all sectors of social life. Confident, loose in manners, in speech, in dress.[1]
  • What we call the modernization of life is nothing but a continuous and increasingly greater demonic complication.[4]
  • [Speaking of the harp This tiny, stringless lyre is a voice vibrator. It makes the human voice say what the human voice alone cannot say. It is not a musical instrument: it is a confessor of the depths.[2]

Game postponed:[edit]

  • The true compared to the false, is more false than false. (Ministerial Trip, p. 34)
  • It's the first time I've seen Sicily. It is the cradle, my father told me, of our people. That land over there, drawn in blue by a very skilful hand, is therefore in a broader way than strictly human, an ancient mother for me. Yet my heart doesn't skip. Don't I have the heart of a son? And my car, the first time, had written "heart of lily". (p. 42)
  • The female element is necessary for zoological life, but it is equally necessary for social life. It is equally necessary for mental life. It is equally necessary for psychic life. It is very necessary for civilization.
    In moments of higher civilization, the woman is more present, more involved in social life. Is it the greater participation of women in social life that determines greater civilization?
    The "active" presence of women in social life not only enriches and improves social life: it improves man. She turns off the "too masculine". She lights up a greater and better light in his eyes, in his face, in the movements of his mouth, in the color of his skin, on the plane of his forehead. (Where there are more women but only men are seen, p. 68)
  • What is love?
    It is the bringing together of our "deepest" with the "deepest" of others. Of our "furthest from the surface" with the "furthest from the surface" of others. Of all that in us is less made up for the beautiful figure of the surface. Of everything in us that is most secret, uglier, most shameful, most unspeakable.
    Twenty-three years ago, when I met the one who is dearest to me in the world, I said to her: "I can't wait for you to get old" . Deep love wants to overcome the skin of youth and beauty, these "obstacles" to love. (Match postponed, p. 105)

Fate of Europe:[edit]

  • The concept «nation», which at its origins was an expansive concept, and therefore active and fruitful, and as such inspired and informed the nations of Europe among which we were born and have lived until to date, it has lost its expansive qualities and has instead acquired restrictive qualities. Restricted and impoverished, this concept no longer has active force but has become passive, it is no longer centrifugal but has become centripetal, it no longer responds to ideas of development, growth, enlargement but obeys ideas of impoverishment, narrowing, reduction : a sign that the concept "nation" as conceived by those who created the nations has in the meantime lost its virtues and from a fruitful concept it has become an infertile concept, from an active idea it has become a passive idea, from a beneficial principle it has become an evil principle. (Beyond Barriers, p. 12)
  • The danger of politics lies above all in this, that politics is practiced by politicians. (Firefighters, p. 20)
  • In the military and in the priests there is, in addition to all, the obstacle of the uniform. Like pigs in a condition of communicability, if I am in civilian clothes, that is, dressed like everyone else, and therefore in a certain sense "undressed", and the priest instead is closed in his cassock like a pea inside its peel, the soldier is closed in his uniform like the turtle in the carapace? (Fate of Europe, p. 42)
  • They shout agitatedly against the bourgeoisie, and they do not know that, in the best case, their agitation will end in the creation of a new bourgeoisie. (Enciclopedismo, p. 48)


  • As for Italian cuisine, it is a «cuisine-truth». It is the cuisine to which everyone sooner or later must inevitably return, after every ill-advised, after every unfortunate foray both among the devourers of locusts and among the tasters of quintessences. Italian cuisine is for man what the Earth was for Anteo: it restores strength, dispels any disagreement between the wandering mother's son and our great teacher Nature. (Food Symphony)
  • [...] the criminal, that is to say a doubly heroic man who defies not only the danger of action, but also that of judicial sanction [...]. (Crime novel)
  • Our fate is common. It is the "nationalism of life". The only legitimate one. There is a profound "sympathy" between us, in the sense that "together" we "suffer" the same events. And all together, held in an ideal embrace, we march united towards death. Leave us alone, "let us lose ourselves" they say in Rome. Don't look at us. We have finally found our religion. Our most "legitimate" religion. We have finally found the rightest and most justified reason to gather together and stay united. We have finally discovered a "serious" reason for collective living. A feeling similar to ours united the first Christians in the unanimous expectation, in the "common" expectation of the kingdom of God. From this "consensus" the most natural and therefore truest and profound communism is born. Together we will face... What?... When there are many of us, it doesn't matter what we face, what awaits us. It will be, brothers, what will be. En avant, route! (From canteen to canteen)
  • It is understood that reproduction is the most impure act that we perform. A perfectly pure man would forbid himself to reproduce, for fear of staining himself, but a "perfectly" pure man cannot exist. Many men forbid themselves from reproduction, but for reasons other than to not taint their own purity: out of greed, because they don't want "hassles". Moreover, through successive reproductions of these impure acts, man, and if unconsciously it doesn't matter, hopes to gradually arrive at purity, as if through many decanting operations; and in this is the "holy" part of reproduction. (From canteen to canteen)

Childhood tragedy:[edit]


I don't know if it was spring or already summer: the heat was suffocating, my throat burned with thirst. My mother insisted on not giving me anything to drink, she didn't want to open the mosquito net for me. Why so much evil?


  • Sad to know. More sad and at the same time nefarious is the inclination that pushes us to know at all costs, when ignoring would be all the more pitiful, or if ignoring cannot at least be forgotten. (The goddess Spa, p. 14)
  • Childhood – continuous wave of revolution, and systematically crushed by the "big ones", these reactionaries. (Commentary on the Tragedy of Childhood, p. 149)

All my life[edit]

  • We are going through the crisis of expansion of the universe. Wars, revolutions, human anguish, everything that has been a crisis in the world for several years now, everything is a consequence of this enlargement of this vaster universe in which God no longer finds a place or way to stop and assert himself, at least in that concrete and persuasive form that gave security and protection to man and peace to his soul. (Preface, p. 8)
  • He will not be Christian in the future who does not also bring to animals, to plants, to metals, that Christian love which until now he only brought to man. (Preface, p. 8)
  • The name, thinks Miss Fufù, is the symbol and distinctive sign of the one who wears it, and imposing the name on one's children when the children do not yet have the opportunity to express their liking of the imposed name, it is an abuse of authority and sometimes an infamy. (The pianessa, p. 53)
  • She found the color of her sadness, the smell of her loneliness, the taste of her unhappiness. When unhappiness reaches such perfection, unhappiness becomes a form of happiness: the most jealous, indeed, the most exquisite. Trying to break such a form of unhappiness is a betrayal of happiness, a betrayal of oneself. (Mobile Fathers, p. 133)
  • We people of age and experience know well the art of dissimulation, which is the foundation of civilized living. (Poltrondamore, p. 143)
  • Because men give in to the greatest physical impressions, but are still too crude to pay attention to the most subtle and ineffable things that surround our life; they don't know how to listen to the voices of things that in their ignorance they believe to be silent, they don't know how to see the landscapes that populate the air and that in their massive indifference they believe to be empty, and with big heads that don't understand and veiled eyes that don't see , wander unaware among the mysteries. (Poltrondamore, p. 154)
  • The time has come for concerts without music; silent concerts, equivalent to what is still life in painting. Concerts in which listeners, sitting in comfortable armchairs and surrounded by silence, will mentally listen to the music that each one prefers. What is the most serious flaw of the concerts? To have fixed and equal programs for everyone. Many times we have to listen to music that either doesn't interest us at all or is even unbearable, just because in the program there is also music dear to our heart and pleasing to our ear. (Private Concert, pp. 186-187)
  • I have always thought that in some ways music is the most dangerous of the arts. At the sound of a nocturne by Chopin, a lady friend of mine once transformed into Night, her face turned white like the moon, she wrapped herself in veils, and found herself sitting in the air and swollen with melancholy, above a city who slept beneath her with all the shutters closed. (Private Concert, p. 195)

Incipit of some works:[edit]


Shouting: «Earth! Earth!" launched by the man who watches over the top of the mainmast, the formidable hurray of the crew responds. They all come running, crowding onto the forecastle and, leaning over the bulwarks, focus their greedy eyes on the ghost of that island which rises, smoky and distant, from the heart of the barren sea. Two halcyons, messengers from nearby land, pass high above our ship. [Alberto Savinio, Capri, Garzanti, C.E.2023. ISBN 978-88-11-01137-8]

The inspired house:[edit]

I came to live in the house.
The actions faced with a joyful spirit, are usually completed happily.
But that day was sad. Hopes, having tired their wings in tiring flights, had collapsed in the evening, like kites fall when the wind dies. [Alberto Savinio, The inspired house, Adelphi, 2014. ISBN 978-88-459-7509-7 ]

Quotes about Alberto Savinio:[edit]

  • Alberto Savinio: the greatest Italian writer between the two wars. (Leonardo Sciascia)
  • The brothers De Chirico and Savinio were reunited for the first time in German exhibitions, first in Düsseldorf and then in Munich. They both made literature with brushes, but as a writer the latter is much superior in terms of creative intelligence. (Morando Morandini)


  1. a b c From Scritti dispersi. C.E.1943-1952.
  2. a b c Quoted in Salvatore Ferlita, /il-diario-di-savinio/1462374 Savinio's diary Portrait of Sicily, island of myth and death,, May 21, C.E.2008.
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named dispersed
  4. From Hermaphrodito, Einaudi.


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