Mental exercises. On Kazimiera Alberti’s Two Travelogues

Tadeusz Sławek

(Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach)
E-mail: tadeuszslawek[at]
ORCID: 0000-0002-7148-5063
DOI: 10.31261/FLPI.2019.01.02
„Fabrica Litterarum Polono-Italica” 2019, nr 1, s. 13-38

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There are two modes of establishing a relationship with space. One is, partly general and partly idiosyncratic, manner in which the past makes itself manifest in the present of the life of the human individual. The other is a most profound and intimate connection with a place which is possible when we begin to feel situated in a given space, i.e. when standard historical and aesthetic lines of connecting prove inadequate.

L’anima della Calabria (1950) and Segreti di Puglia (1951), two travelogues in a series of Italia celebre e sconosciuta, explore the two distinctly different regions of Italy investigating the perception of landscape, its rootedness in history and mythology as well as various practices of everyday life they have generated over centuries. Thus, the region becomes more than a series of interesting sights and historical monuments baedekers record and advertise for tourists. Instead, we deal with deconstruction of such ready-made cultural products and, in the effort of “mental exercise”, we not only transit through but are also situated in places which reveal their provisional, metamorphic character, their unfinishedness, becoming thus a challenge to our moral sense. Hence, exercising memory and mind, allenamento della memoria e della mente morphs into allenamento morale e sociale.