Guido Piovene

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Guido Piovene

Guido Piovene (C.E.1907 – 1974), Italian writer and journalist.

Quotes by Guido Piovene:

  • Clarifying to Italians that race is a scientific, biological fact, based on blood affinity, is the first task that the book [Contra Judeos] encourages; second, to demonstrate that the inferiority of some races is perpetual; that in crossbreeding the inferior prevails over the superior; that the Italian race must be jealous of its immunity... The Jews can only be enemies and oppressors of the nation that hosts them. Of different blood, and aware of their bonds, they cannot help but unite against the alien race. The enormous number of eminent positions occupied in Italy by Jews is the result of a tenacious battle. As foreigners, they attempt to obtain triumph over the national culture of others, bringing it to "Europeanistic" forms, detaching it from the popular roots of art, as happened in Italy.[1]
  • Anti-Jewish persecution is only one of the aspects of racism in the world, but it was its most horrible expression.[2]
  • On If I were honest These films in which an ingenious plot, full of gimmicks and misunderstandings, takes place in an imaginary town of twentieth-century houses, millionaires, butlers they have now become our specialty and it is difficult to see a truly bad one. [...] The director Bragaglia also showed accuracy, measure and security of cut, achieving his intent, which was to entertain. [3]
  • On The 3 eagles It is a kind of [sic] on the Caserta Air Force Academy, in which a slight plot has been inserted. [...] It is a film that runs smoothly and is expertly conducted: the acting, in which young people from the School and young people from the G.I.L. participated, proceeds without a hitch; and under the good craftsmanship what is not entirely original in the plot remains concealed.[4]
  • A virtue is always a transformed vice. We must have the courage to admit that every virtue is derived from vice.[5]
  • Traveling should always be an act of humility.[6]
  • On A Garibaldino at the Convent Vittorio De Sica made another excellent film, in which he demonstrates his usual skills, accuracy, finesse, zeal, the right ear, the complete measure, and this time something more. [...] The film is good for the delicate painting of the two opposing families, of the family members, of the conventual pietism, of the Bourbon soldiers (if it ever has a flaw it is that it is too beautiful, too finished and polished); it is good for smaller, lively and freshly invented figures; it is good for the dialogue in which writers have collaborated, for example Adolfo Franci; then in the last scenes, the siege, the escape on horseback, the chase and the charge of Garibaldi, pressing, full of anxiety, De Sica finds the best in him. [7]

Journey to Italy:

  • Bolzano' It is opulent, modern. But its beauty is Gothic: the long streets lined with arcades, embellished not so much by this or that building, as by the movement of the corners and protrusions, which creates theater backdrops, plays of light. (p. 9)
  • [...] get to know Palladio, the Basilica, the Loggia del Capitanio, the Rotonda, the Teatro Olimpico, the Palazzo Chiericati and the others through studies is an imperfect knowledge. You have to see it in Vicenza. (p. 49)
  • It is the imagination of the Friulians that their land, with the mountains of Carnia, the hills of Udinese, the plains, the lagoon landscapes along the coast, the different races and the bright colors of a time older than ours, is in itself a universe in its variety. Roman Aquileia, Venetian Udine and Cividale Longobard... (p. 60)
  • Verona was Roman, Gothic, then Byzantine and Lombard. It was held by the Carolingians and the German emperors; it was a glorious Commune and a glorious Signoria. She was a Scaliger, a Visconti, a Venetian; The change was rapid, and each phase superimposed its mark on the other. In every historical phase it played a dominant role, due to its strategic and mercantile importance, as a great fortress and crossroads of arteries between Italy and the Germanic world. For variety of styles, none of which prevails, Verona has no equal among Italian cities except Rome. (p. 78)
  • Between blue and white, on the background of the opaque green hills, Genoa is mysterious in the manner of London, the other European city made up of watertight compartments. The imagination, Stevenson says, is stimulated in London, because London is an interlocking of secret circles to each other. The soul can thus play with mystery, delight in acrobatics that today would be called metaphysical, imagining here a, here a cheat, an old duchess, a rubber merchant, a dynamiter, juxtaposing them, mixing them, placing them in occult relationships. Such mysteries are never encountered in simple Italian cities, but Genoa is perhaps the only one that arouses the imagination of clandestine backstories. A mystery book that takes place in Rome, Venice or Florence has something incredible, but if it takes place in Genoa you can believe it (or almost). And, just like London, Genoa has the special theatricality of beings and events on which one feels something occult hanging. (p. 220)
  • But the affection still lingers on Old Genoa, which remains the most real, alive and basically modern. Leaning against terraces that slope down to the slopes, the houses seem to be erected one on top of the other; they all seem to push themselves to the side as much as they can, like the plants of a forest, in search of light; It would seem that a single spiral staircase, inside them, can lead us from the port to the top of the hills. At the top, the new skyscrapers match the vertical appearance of the city. In the crowd there are small gardens of casbah, oleanders, magnolias. (p. 221)
  • Almost all Italian cities were made and rebuilt over the centuries. But the houses of Old Genoa, in a special way. Rather than bearing the signs of transformation, they hide them with avarice. Their walls are ossuaries of styles, chests of vestiges; It is enough to pierce a wall to find a terracotta window under the plaster, here a bas-relief or a fresco. They are walls full of ghosts among swarms of lively people. (p. 222)
  • Parallel to Via Gramsci, higher up, but in continuous symbiosis with the port, runs via Prè, narrow, long, the most popular in Genoa, and perhaps the most Genoese. Although it lies close to the markets and the Stock Exchange, many of its inhabitants never leave it, having too much to do there. Frying, cakes, smuggling to the minute, a subject too important to pass over in silence. (p. 222-223)
  • The Genoese are savers, workers, producers and prudent. Not producers in the way of the Milanese, too much of a player for Genoa and inclined to confuse business with adventure. A moralistic idea of work predominates in this port; Therefore, at least in some, there is a fear of earning too much, that is, of being gamblers, people, according to moralists, exposed to certain ruin. They hide the wealth even more than the Piedmontese; I know rich people who have a large number of employees, but they seem ashamed of it, and they don't see them much. Wealth pours into the home. (p. 224)
  • Genoa is a tough city that delights in being sentimental. She imagines herself rough, but sweet in secret. The good-hearted misanthrope is an important character in the dialect comedy that she plays in life. A good Genoese must never be moved, but once he turns his back he must always wipe away a tear surreptitiously. (p. 225)
  • Mention has been made of the Genoese cult of the dead, which sometimes reveals a grandiose concept of class. A visit to Staglieno, the most famous cemetery in Italy, shows how that concept was handed down from the aristocracy to the philanthropic bourgeoisie. Not even the Monumental Cemetery of Milan offers such an anthology of self-celebrations through the tomb. Here you see the financier in a white marble waistcoat, taking leave of his weeping wife; but he takes his leave in a palace; And to die is to go beyond a brocade curtain with rich folds. Another deceased appears in the guise of an angel pouring a shower of gold coins from a bowl; and another, says the epigraph, "ceased to live but not to benefit – by binding to pious institutes – a non-humble part of his rich census". (pp. 227-228)
  • The port of Genoa is one of the most perfect in Europe; There is no commodity that cannot be quickly unloaded and embarked. (p. 232)
  • A typical reaction of the Genoese producer in the face of the crisis is the moralistic one: "I work from morning to night". Adriano Olivetti in Ivrea spoke to me about this moralism-sorrow of Italian industry, this national fetishism for fatigue, Sunday work and little sleep; in no city is it greater than in Genoa; It is opposed to the crisis, which is therefore suffered as an injustice. Never as in Genoa have I welcomed so many testimonies of people who always work and never sleep. (p. 235)
  • Cesena This pretty town, surrounded by beautiful orchards, and therefore in spring surrounded by a cloud of white and pink trees, leaning against a hill and dominated by a fortress which includes it in part, is also known in the chronicle of the last wars, because it gave a good number of airmen gold medals. There I collected a lot of that Romagna color, which I then poured into these pages only in a small part. (pp. 318-319)
  • The splendid Malatesta Library in Cesena is the heart of Romagna's culture. Built in the mid-fifteenth century by order of Novello Malatesta on the back of an older convent library, in the wake of that of San Marco in Florence, it is a perfect creation of the genius of the Renaissance. Not only for the illuminated choral codices, incunabula of great value that it contains, but for the stupendous hall, the work of Matteo Nuti, a pupil of the Alberti. With the Malatesta temple of Rimini, with the The Ducal Palace of Urbino and with the later palaces of the Este family in Ferrara is the purest that century has given us in which culture reached the extreme point of refinement. [...] The marvellous room appears, with two rows of columns in perspective and the walls to which time has given green and pink shades. It is difficult to associate more distilled purity with more impetus of imagination. (p. 319)
  • Tuscany is among the most famous regions in the world for their beauty. It is a cliché to talk about the sweetness and grace of its landscapes. The valleys around Florence, in the Pistoia area, in Lucca and elsewhere, with their play of light olive trees and dark cypresses, have an enchanting appearance that smacks of painting and artistic perspective, Yet, if you look closely, sweetness is not the most intimate characteristic of the Tuscan land, as it is of Umbria. Even in the most pleasant parts, such as the Mugello valley and Chianti, under the graceful envelope one discovers a precision, a purity of contours, a meagre rigor of design: while the eye is enchanted by the sweetness of the first appearances, a more severe lesson slips into the soul. Tuscan beauty is a beauty of rigour, of perfection, sometimes of asceticism under the aspect of grace. (pp. 359-360)
  • The rigor of the Tuscan landscape emerges in plaghe where, as around Siena and Volterra, the whitish clay shines through the vegetation, fixing as in a diamond the contours of a clear, hard and supremely perfect landscape. Thus an intellectual landscape, imbued with intelligence, which seems to think itself around man and in the highest way. (p. 360)
  • The attachment to the district has nothing to do with ideas, with the political party, with interests. It depends exclusively on the place of birth, on the atavistic, on everything that is prenatal; It is not thought, but passion contracted with the simple coming into the world. The man from Siena feels, most profoundly of all, in front of his own Contrada, what was called "the demon of belonging". (p. 387)
  • A Siena In the days of the race everything is suspended, appetite as well as love and public administration. [...] In the evening [after the Palio], there are two Siene. Light, wine and jubilation in the victorious district and in the allies. But if you peek into the enemy's country, you think you are in an abandoned city; The windows and doors are locked, darkness, silence and mourning. (pp. 387-388)
  • The beauty of Naples grows day by day, week by week, as it discovers its secrets. Until one comes to understand that this is truly the most beautiful gulf on earth. (p. 430)
  • The timetable in Naples can be a practical necessity, never an intimate necessity. You abandon it when you no longer need it. (p. 430)
  • Children, "creatures" are swarming. Even in average restaurants, there are few patrons without children around. Naples is a lactating and suckling city, perpetually pregnant. A Neapolitan demigod is love; In the popular consciousness, love is redeemed through creation. (p. 432)
  • Naples is not a city for purists. I see a small baroque church, which carries the statue of an angel halfway up to the same height, and extends on the same floor with the window and balcony of an unpretentious house. On the balcony stands a woman, elbow to elbow with the statue of the angel; this is really Naples; Let the house and the balcony be torn down, and the church will also have become sloppy. In all cities, but especially in Naples, it is clear that art is not only made up of what we call works of art. (p. 433)
  • It is an accent that I have often heard resonate in Naples in a different form. An enchantment in living, but combined with the implication that living has something painful for itself. There is a kind of pendulum between that enchantment and that hidden implication: you never know which one will prevail. (p. 437)
  • In Naples, as in Paris, it is difficult to hear, at least in conversation, those absolute, radically negative judgments that are heard elsewhere; as in Paris, the tendency is rather towards absolution, naturally with a somewhat skeptical undertone, and without delving too deeply; There is always, in the judgments, a humor and a politeness of worldly capital. (p. 443)
  • Just as they have found a way to live with saints, miracles, science and technology, these people live in confidence with occult forces and cosmic powers. Everywhere he juggles with his mischief, like the little boat on the waves of the sea. This is also why I believe that the volcano of Naples, like the archaeological excavations of the Neapolitan area, have no equivalent anywhere in the world: everything in Naples is humanized twice. (pp. 464-465)
  • A splendid legacy of Bourbon rule, the National Archaeological Museum of Naples|National Museum]] is inside the soul of Naples, and a foreigner notices it more than a Neapolitan himself. [...] Roman life here loses all academic solemnity, and approaches with a loquacious realism; confidence takes the place of reverence; you couldn't think of a museum like this if not in Naples [...] (pp. 465-466)
  • It may be that Neapolitan cuisine, as one gastronome told me, is poor city cuisine; a primordial cuisine, born from the three elementary products of the land and water, wheat, vegetables and fish; Played on the variations of three foods, pasta, fish and the ancient pizza. Many foreigners do not like the cuisine of Naples because, led by different habits, they never discover it. But, when it is good, it contains, at the same time, antiquity and nature; it leads to communion with nature and with a remote past; It's simple and mythological. (p. 473)
  • There were those who told me that the two gardens of Ravello, at Villa Rufolo and at Cimbrone, are the most extraordinary gardens in the world together with those of Charleston in South Carolina; And it is right in the sense that neither one nor the other has equivalents elsewhere. Perhaps the gardeners in Ravello were influenced by the British. Of course, they have acquired the art of matching very different colors by throwing them haphazardly, as if on a palette, refraining from overly drawn flower beds. They are gardens, those of Ravello, romantic, of a brilliant scapigliatura. (p. 477)
  • Salerno is different from Naples, in appearance and spirit. This is where a lot of clichés about southern Italy fall. The appearance is in fact almost northern, and the cleanliness almost Swiss. The speeches are dry, short, typical of active people. [...] Those who know Salerno life intimately tell me that it is a mixture, typical of southern Italy in this phase of transition, and in the leading places, of still patriarchal customs and modernisms sometimes even strange and excessive. [...] If you look closely at Salerno, you get the impression of a fairly typical centre of the transformation phase of southern Italy. Industrialization and prosperity are progressing, even if the old liabilities still weigh heavily. (pp. 477-478)
  • The Royal Palace of Caserta The charm of this Neapolitan Versailles [...] comes for me above all from a certain gratuitous and fabulous that emanates from this palace of disproportionate size rising in the middle of a flat plain: there is, as we have already said, a Neapolitan avant-lettre [[surrealism], which was born from the theatrical splendour of Naples: and which consists in living great architectural fantasies where they least expect them. The park itself, crossed by the waters falling from a mound, then flowing in a slight slope from basin to basin, interrupted by white groups of large statues, animals, divinities, winds that swell the cheeks, Actaeon transformed into a deer and torn to pieces by dogs, is a macroscopic fantasy, in which everything seems to be a little bigger than it should be; This generates a disturbance of the imagination, which the Baroque called wonder. There is a clear desire to surpass in pomp the great European palaces and the great metropolises; the contrast between this dream and the reality of the environment means that Caserta, much more than that of Versailles, is a fantasy palace. (pp. 493-494)
  • You climb the tawny yellow side of the mountain; at the foot there is the plain, the immense quadrilateral of the palace; Then you go inland, and the plain disappears. There exists in Provence a splendid and illustrious city abandoned among the rocks, Les Beaux; [sic], Lombard, built in the eighth century, formerly the seat of bishops and counts, is its Italian equivalent. Only Les Beaux is of two styles, medieval and Renaissance, Caserta all medieval; and Les Beaux is celebrated in France, while old Caserta is almost unknown to us. Capable of accommodating many thousands of people, it contains about two hundred. It is a knot of dead and monochrome houses and alleys, the yellowish color of travertine; all around a landscape of barren, stony hills, sown with spikes of towers; A still and perfect landscape. (p. 494)
  • There is a greater civic and historical pride in Benevento than in the other provincial cities of Campania. (p. 496)
  • Benevento is not Naples, and he wants to let you know. Their character, the people of Benevento point out to me, is already very different from that of the rest of Campania: harder, more closed, more Alpine. Salerno has something Milanese about it as much as is possible in the South; I found in Avellino perfect specimens of a certain type of Southern intellectual, intelligent, pessimistic, who contemplates himself and his ailments as a chapter of history. The people of Benevento, on the other hand, carry, if anything, to the South some characteristics of the Trentinos. The climate itself is cold, not very Campanian; The beautiful views of the province are alpine. (p. 496)
  • After the fall of Rome, Benevento had another period of splendour under Lombard rule, and was the most important Lombard fief in the South. Under Rome, and in the Middle Ages, it was a great center of commercial traffic between the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic Seas. The people of Benevento care about that distant background of internationalism. The very names, scholars tell me, in the documents in the archives, show that the families came from all over; the population had an international composition, and Benevento something of the metropolis. (p. 496)
  • Today Benevento is largely a brand new city with oases of beautiful monuments. Even in the
    remnants of what was once the intellectual aristocracy of the South, alive although numerically restricted, I have noticed here a passion for art, a defense of the artistic and archaeological heritage, which are less common in the North of Italy. It is that humanistic passion that in the South of Italy now threatens to be shipwrecked, but which here is kept awake, as I said, also by civic pride. (pp. 496-497)
  • [...] the Arch of Trajan, perhaps the most beautiful and harmonious of the existing Roman arches, more beautiful than those of Rome. And it is also a strangely modern arch, since you can see Trajan in the bas-reliefs dedicated to social and welfare works. (p. 497)
  • Italy, with its landscapes, is a distillation of the world, the Marche of Italy. (p. 508)
  • A trip to the Marche region, not hurried, leads to see wonders. (p. 513)
  • Ascoli Piceno [...] is one of the most beautiful small towns in Italy, and I don't see any other that resembles it. Gide preferred it [...] as beautiful as some cities in southern France, not so much for this or that monument in a special way, but for its whole, for its anthological quality, for an enchantment that comes from nothing and everything. More than any other, it must be defended from stupid disembowelment. You must have walked through it, starting from Piazza del Popolo, the Italian square that together with that of San Marco in Venice gives more of an impression of a hall, surrounded by arcades, closed by the stupendous apse of San Francesco; or along the Baptistery of the Duomo; or along the steep banks of the Tronto; and in the narrow streets, called "rue," where the palaces are countless; and that spread out into small squares [...] Ascoli is a city of towers, anthological as we have said, because there are many styles, the Romanesque, the Gothic, the Renaissance, the Baroque. But the Romanesque remains the constant background, the color; stone-walled, windowless churches; a travertine of a warm, uniform grey, without plaster [...] That grey marble is all ornamented, worked, engraved [...] here, on every door and window, you see fruit, foliage, female caryatids, flowers, animals, stars, or even simply proverbs and carved sentences. (p. 534)
  • Wherever you feel the space. Therefore The Eagle is gay. Located at over 700 meters, the highest, if I'm not mistaken, among the Italian provincial capitals after Enna and Potenza, it is a city that breathes. The gaze, as soon as it finds an opening, immediately goes far away, with the immediacy of a submerged body that comes to the surface, up to the Gran Sasso and the Sirente, dominating the vast basin. (pp. 557-558)
  • On Calabria It is certainly the strangest of our regions. In its vast mountain areas it sometimes does not seem to be in the South, but in Switzerland, in South Tyrol, in the Scandinavian countries. From this imaginary North you jump to olive forests, along coasts of the classic Mediterranean type. It is wedged with canyons reminiscent of the United States, stretches of African desert and corners where the buildings retain some memory of Byzantium. It would seem that the debris of different worlds has collapsed together here; that an arbitrary deity, after having created the continents and seasons, amused himself by breaking them to mix their shining fragments. (pp. 559-660)
  • [...] about the Alpine municipalities, I will say in passing that one, Capracotta, is the highest of the Apennine municipalities, and therefore the winter is closed by snow and ice. (p. 575)
  • Palermo The design of the mountains and rocks surrounding the port, tending to ochre and violet, on the waters of a deep blue, as contemplated by the Pilgrim, is less sweet, less tender, but purer than that of the mountains surrounding Naples. As in Greece, in Sicily nature has remained stuck in eternal models, and instead men have changed. Contrast makes nature even higher and farther away; The soul of the beholder is forced into a kind of perpetual seesaw. (p. 585)
  • The encounter with nuraghe art takes place first in Cagliari, in the National Archaeological Museum. Here it can best be compared with foreign civilizations. In fact, the Roman department is also important, and even more so than the Punic one, with its sensual and cruel divinities. But the Nuragic department stands out from the rest and marks Sardinia better. There is the rare case of a museum without repetition elsewhere, embedded in this land like nature and customs. (p. 707)
  • The Lucania is a part of the South, which suffered acutely from isolation, from a very long decadence, from an ungrateful land. [...] Many villages received water and electricity only after C.E.1945, and others only in recent years the road; Recent statistics indicated that a good half of the population was illiterate. However, Lucania produced numerous geniuses, some of great importance. She possesses in abundance the virtues that we will call ancient, being industrious, strong-willed, quiet, with a deep feeling of family. (pp. 737-738)
  • You can reach it from bare beaches, and suddenly you see a mushroom grove of tall modern buildings. Power is growing visibly, gripped by building fever. This cladding of tenements [...] surrounds the old core of the Bourbon town, which, however, is far from dead. As soon as you enter it, you find it again, with the main street narrow, and with the alleys arranged in such a way as to cut the wind; In fact, Potenza is a city in the middle of the mountains, with fine and windy air. The wide, modern streets are on the outskirts. The interior has its grace, and some beautiful churches, such as the cathedral, St. Francis, St. Michael the Archangel. (p. 738)
  • It seems that Matera overlooks an uncovered and inhabited subsoil, which together forms a larger city. Such a gathering of semi-cavemen, in which the existence of prehistory is uninterruptedly prolonged, has no parallel in Europe, and is among the Italian landscapes that generate the most amazement. Crisscrossed by rocky valleys, Matera is a kind of Siena of the South, more remote in time [...] (p. 747)
  • Puglia is our region where the East is most felt. The people of Bari remember as a recent fairy tale the years in which the Albanians crossed the sea laden with gold coins; since the Albanians then considered Bari their market and even went down there to buy a hat. (p. 767)
  • Bari refutes the clichés about the South. Commercial and bourgeois, it has few traditions of baronial and landed aristocracy, unlike, for example, Lecce and Brindisi. The typical average Bari man is sparse, exact, dedicated to his business, fond of old administrative methods and savings. You can see him in the shop, until late at night, through the door ajar, concentrating on the accounts. (p. 768)
  • On the whole, Bari does not resemble Milan, as is claimed, but rather Genoa; and, between the two cities, Bari is more composed and more northern in appearance. In fact, there are few cafes; the street life has neither the importance, nor the color, nor the flair usual in the South. The street of Bari is a passage, with only a practical function, not a living room or a stage; with the exception of the working-class neighborhoods of old Bari. The people of Bari, and the Apulian in general, especially of Swabian descent, have a taste for cleanliness that is not felt even in the Po Valley. Even in the poorest streets, the inhabitants never cease to scrub the houses, polish them, give them lime. (pp. 768-769)
  • Rieti is a beautiful city, lively and aristocratic. The Middle Ages of the Romanesque Cathedral, although rebuilt inside, of the Palace of the Popes, which dates back to the end of the thirteenth century, with its powerful Gothic arches, and of some districts with narrow streets, external stairways, severed towers, archivolts, is superimposed on the work of centuries later, the loggia of Vignola, many noble palaces. [...] As we have said, Rieti gathers a nucleus of Roman aristocracy, and bears its imprint. (p. 809)
  • Ninfa That park is one of the most beautiful places in Lazio; so lost and segregated that, thinking of the pompous villas of the Roman aristocracy, it seems to have changed the world. Rather, it would seem that they have been suddenly taken to the East; or in that garden of a short story by Boccaccio, which a necromancer brings to life in one night. (p. 817)

A trip to Italy brings us to the most mobile, most fluid and most destructive society in Europe. [...] Few other countries seem less attached to their past. In no other country would it be permitted to assault and deface cities and the countryside as we do, according to the interests and whims of the day. Italians are not afraid of being un-futurist. They are more so than the others, without realizing it; Although this doesn't always mean being more advanced. (p. 860)

  • Our country is inferior to none in the number of minds and in the quality of intelligence at the source. But that intelligence can hardly take on a political value and a political prestige, and seldom emits voices that carry with it a universal interest. In no other country like us does the whole field seem to be occupied by activists of all kinds; Nowhere else, almost by tacit agreement of businessmen and sociologists, is the conviction that only money and food problems matter. (p. 863)
  • The main tool that remains to assert itself to European countries is their old culture. Our political class does not seem to be convinced of this. [...] Italy's risk is to become one of the peoples of low culture, since it is possible to be intelligent and of low culture. (p. 865)

Under a veneer of smile and bonhomie, Italy has become the hardest country in Europe to live in, the one in which the struggle for money and success has become the most violent and harassing. (p. 872)

The Straw Tail:

  • I abhor false coherences and the fiction of the conclusions reached.
  • I love the dead transmitted to poetic memory, not unburied corpses.
  • The problems of culture today move to the foreground, leading us to react on this terrain where slow infiltration, served by the crowd of mediocre intelligent people, replaces the massive frontal attack.
  • The self-criticism that I like is quick, dry, turns the page immediately.
  • The successful man, within the walls of his own home, is often unsuccessful and unhappy.
  • The writer must give himself whole, only once the trajectory is completed will it be possible to judge where in it he has focused best.
  • I believe that the modern writer must live everything in public, in the company of dialogue with others, outside the myth of restraint.
  • One of the offices of art is to convey regrets and remorse.

The black gazette:


The part played by Giovanni Dorigo in some events that happened years ago in England can only be understood if we know some of his anxieties from the past. Now he has achieved peace of conscience, and lives in a small apartment in Milan, where he has found a modest job, renouncing certain ambitions that persecuted him in his youth. His character has also changed a lot, he has become more affable and happy, and certainly less solitary. He sometimes says that a desperate attachment to life, a selfishness pushed to the core, are precisely the defects which, by transforming themselves, can open our souls to feelings of love better than others. But the brief adventure of his stay in England plays such a notable part in that transformation that it will be necessary to tell it, even if his origin is a sad madness.


  • «Now I understand what good the horror of renunciation and the terror of dying can do. Well, now I say to myself: there is only one way to avoid meeting death, that of dying first. I will have to be afraid, very afraid, and thanks to it I will not give up anything, I will not break any bonds, I will not admit abandonment: I will close myself alive in an absolute world, which is already the afterlife. Then the vice of cowardice and selfishness, avarice and pride, will become a non-mortal loyalty, in which death cannot have an effect, because its passing will be any moment of our absolute life. This is why I won't let you die away from me."
  • Every new moment of life is an additional right to refuse death.
  • Every human pleasure finds its opposite and its destruction within itself.

American Novel:


Michele had landed, years earlier, in the port of New York. His new uncle came to meet him and, not yet knowing each other, they looked at each other carefully. Michele saw a middle-aged man, tall, with somewhat neglected grayish hair, as was his suit; thick eyebrows, and intelligent eyes wide open behind glasses; his mouth turned down; thin, the nose long, slightly curved, and the tip of the chin slightly raised towards it. The slight tendency of his nose and chin to meet made him a few years older, and he remembered that he was born a Lombard; as well as a certain bitterness, which could be seen in that face of his, a somewhat surly, above all guarded bitterness.
John examined his nephew with greater attention. Being a man with a big heart, encouraged also by his wife, he had said yes, without thinking for a moment, when he was asked to take care of him.


  • I hate remorse, which ties man to the past. I believe it is right to revolt in the face of injustice and in fact there are martyrs, but I hate collectors of revolts, who love the revolt itself: it is a terrible chain. (p. 53)
  • The soul is what you make, and the bonds are good if they enter it, bad if they remain against or outside, even if they call them holy. (p. 59)
  • There are no holy laws, in the physical world and in the moral world; but all the laws, as they are discovered, are holy. (p. 61)
  • There are men whose character is given almost exclusively by their way of thinking, but they too exist in nature, no less than the active and the adventurers. (p. 69)
  • The soul lives for the work, only for the work. Without the work one is not a soul. (p. 124)
  • The sky is divided into three, the nearby moon, the stars that burn and escape, and in the middle, half of man and half of the world, the quiet planets, great still affectionate beings that reconcile love and sleep. (p. 129)

The Puppets and the Flying Dragon:


One of my first theatrical memories are some puppet shows, in a provincial city, in a room that could have been a former stable or a former woodshed, where adaptations of fairy tales by Carlo Gozzi were performed. One of the culminating points of I don't remember which fairy tale was the arrival on the scene of an enormous flying dragon, which sailed in the horizontal air like a fish in water, and when it reached the height of a knight it opened its mouth wide and he swallowed everything whole, continuing his movement on the opposite side.


  • The vogue for James Bond is on the decline. The favor of the general public is no longer what it once was. Agent 007 represented a moment, not without interest for me, in the history of the adventure film-story. Whoever makes the history of the genre will not be able to forget it.
  • The cultural industry is largely a myth, a target of convenience, as the devil and witches were in other times. If anything, the industry and public moods are in the same boat: the set of products ends up regularly corresponding to a genuine demand.
  • The films of James Bond, to the usual mixture of violence, sex, technology, add something more, which marked the moment: an aestheticism of images, a touch of dandyism, a preciousness of the horror, in which motifs typical late nineteenth century machines seemed to filter through futuristic and science fiction machines.
  • The genre film, or novel, of espionage is today moving towards new formulas. The triumphant, invincible hero, all gesture, without soul, is replaced by another formula, the meditative, psychologizing spy, who feels the meanness, the sadness, the filth of his profession, the disappointed and disgusted hero.
  • In You Only Live Twice the director (Lewis Gilbert) does not bring a fresh invention. The actor, Sean Connery, has aged. The "bad guys" are insipid, they don't stand out, they don't cause any fear. The love scenes seem wrapped in cellophane

The film You Only Live Twice is halfway between the magic fairy tale and the ballet Folies Bergères
I don't know what to do with it ; I confess it; I enjoy the shooting cigarette and the hippogriff helicopter. I like fairy tales, even if the elements they combine together are always the same. I apologize, but I can't change myself, and if James Bond ends, I will always go and see what will take his place.

Incipit of some works:


The Furies:


I am in Vicenza, in a hotel room, one evening in October.
[quoted in Fruttero & Lucentini, Íncipit, Mondadori, C.E.1993]

The cold stars:


The doctor asked me:
«Worst on the right or on the left?»
«I couldn't distinguish between one ear and the other.»

Quotes about Guido Piovene:



  1. From a review of November C.E.1938 for the Corriere della Evening of the book Contra Judeos by Telesio Interlandi; cited in Rosetta Loy, The word Jew, Giulio Einaudi editore, Turin, C.E.1997, p. 30. ISBN 88-06-14542-8
  2. From an article published in Corriere della sera, C.E.1961; from The Straw Tail, Mondadori, C.E.1962.
  3. From Corriere della Sera , March 4, C.E.1942; quoted in If I were honest,
  4. From Corriere della Sera, August 31, C.E.1942; quoted in Francesco Savio, But love no, Sonzogno, Milan, C.E.1975, p. 361.
  5. From the preface to La gazzetta nera, Mondadori, Milan, C.E.1953.
  6. From De America
  7. From Corriere della Sera , March 14, C.E.1942; cited in Roberto Chiti and Enrico Lancia, Dictionary of Italian cinema: the films, Gremese Editore, Rome, C.E.2005, it/books?id=UlKjE82BEe4C&pg=PA158 p. 158. ISBN 88-8440-351-0


  • Guido Piovene, De America, Garzanti, Milan, C.E.1961.
  • Guido Piovene, The puppets and the flying dragon, La Fiera Letteraria, October 19, C.E.1967
  • Guido Piovene, The Straw Tail, Baldini Castoldi Dalai, C.E.2001.
  • Guido Piovene, La gazzetta nera, Oscar Mondadori, C.E.1968.
  • Guido Piovene, The Furies, C.E.1958.
  • Guido Piovene, The cold stars, Mondadori, C.E.1976.
  • Guido Piovene, American Novel, CDE, C.E.1980.
  • Guido Piovene, Viaggio in Italia, Baldini & Castoldi, Milan, C.E.2013. ISBN 978-88-6852-019-9




  • Gabriele Catalano. Costanti tematiche nell'opera narrativa di Guido Piovene. Ferraro, C.E.1974.
  • Giuseppe Marchetti. Invito alla lettura di Guido Piovene. Mursia, C.E.1977. ISBN 9205300985.
  • Stefano Strazzabosco. Guido Piovene tra idoli e ragione. Marsilio, C.E.1996. ISBN 8831763601.
  • Simona Mazzer. Guido Piovene: Una Biografia Letteraria. Metauro Ed., C.E.1999. ISBN 888754302X.
  • Massimo Rizzante. Guido Piovene: tra realtà e visione. Dipartimento di scienze filologiche e storiche, C.E.2002. ISBN 8884430178.
  • Maurizio Serra. Guido Piovene. Il diavolo e l'acquasanta. Liaison, C.E.2009. ISBN 8895586085.
  • Enza Del Tedesco, Alberto Zava. Viaggi e paesaggi di Guido Piovene. Serra, C.E.2009. ISBN 9788862271332.
  • Luciano Simonelli. Guido Piovene. Diario del Novecento. Simonelli Editore, C.E.2011. ISBN 8876476989.
  • Sandro Gerbi. Tempi di malafede. Guido Piovene ed Eugenio Colorni. Hoepli, C.E.2012. ISBN 8820352389.

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