Fabrizio De André’s Genoa

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No classic tourist guide trip. No app to hand. To relive the spirit of Fabrizio De André’s city, the ‘authentic’ Genoa of Genoese like him, I got caught up in places, smells and tastes which have traces of the notes of his songs.

Not by chance “At every bump on the road you pass, at every corner you turn, you discover reality and different situations”. (A ogni dosso che superi, a ogni curva attraverso la quale tu giri, scopri realtà e situazioni diverse, from the lyrics of one of De André’s songs)

carruggiI choose to rediscover the city recounted by De André in the days which celebrate the anniversary of his death. I do so without nostalgia, but with the knowledge that Faber is not dead. His songs, his tales and his Genoa are immortal. His memory lives on in the Ligurian capital, especially in the alleyways- the famous ‘caruggi’- in the historic centre which he, like a true Genoese, so loved.

It was an indissoluble emotional link, that between Genoa and ‘Faber’, as his childhood friend Paolo Villaggio lovingly nicknamed him.

piazza Del CampoIt’s a moving walk, especially in Via del Campo: amidst the confusion of people of every age and ethnicity and the numerous shops of every kind, I was immediately immersed in this ‘parallel’ world which was so fascinating and described with the poetry of the Genoese singer/songwriter. A sort of open-air kasbah.

That which surrounds me is an unexpected part of the city which voluntarily hides to then open itself all of a sudden in all its splendour- try, like me, raising your eyes to any point in the sky and you’ll see frescos from noble palaces of the Renaissance. An area full of rich contrast and at the same time characterised by a disarming simplicity. Always.

“Via del Campo c’è una bambina
con le labbra color rugiada
gli occhi grigi come la strada
nascon fiori dove cammina.

Ama e ridi se amor risponde
piangi forte se non ti sente
dai diamanti non nasce niente
dal letame nascono i fior”

In the same street, at number 29 rosso to be precise, there is a temple dedicated to De André and other singer/songwriters from the Genoese school (Tenco, Lauzi and Paoli to name a few).

Viadelcampo29rosso is a modern place of remembrance in which, in the wake of the historical shop ‘Musica Gianni Tassio’, a collector and expert in the traditions of singer/songwriters, I found original vinyls, images, books, magazines from the period, oddities and the great ‘Esteve ‘97’, the guitar belonging to Fabrizio.

targa via al mare fabrizio de andréFollowing the porticos of Sottoripa, “were good God’s sun does not shine” (dove il sole del buon Dio non dà i suoi raggi, from the lyrics of one of De André’s songs) in the tourist area of the Marina del Porto Antico, near the Acquario di Genova and Muma – Galata Museo del Mare, you find the old Spinola bridge. Here the city has dedicated the promenade to him as a testimony to the special bond and love which De André felt for the sea.

Sant'ilarioThe spirit of De André is even present a little outside the centre: from Sant’Ilario, the small town in the hills above Nervi which is mentioned in ‘Bocca di rosa’, where you can delight in a breath-taking view which is good for both heart and mind, whilst the classic ‘Crêuza de mä’ – the ‘crêuza’ or ‘crosa’ in Genoese is a small brick path lined by a wall– is easily recognisable even in the romantic fishing hamlet of Boccadasse, a natural source of inspiration for numerous painters and artists.

Breathing in the atmosphere and beauty of all these places, with his songs in my head and heart, has given me a new point of view; that of being able to rediscover my city through new eyes, halfway between poetry and reality.

Thanks Faber.

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