“For its characteristic poetic form which, with great sensitivity, has interpreted human values in the perspective of a life without any illusion”
Italian poet and leading writer of the 20th century Italian cultural scene. In 1975 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
In April 1936, the poet Giovanni Descalzo, driven by the desire to see Montale again and get closer to his spirit, accepted the invitation from Lucia Rodocanachi and went to Arenzano to take part in a convivial meeting between writers and artists. On the train with Montale and Carlo Bo, he began to feel uncomfortable; he didn’t enjoy the environment of the meeting; and he writes about Montale in his diary: “Montale disappointed me much more than the first time. He only feels pain in his left foot, in his right leg and I don’t know where else. Everything that happens, the intensity with which one lives, doesn’t distract him from the small sufferings that he needs to externalize every now and then with a prick or a sour smile on his lips. ” The only time when the two seemed to communicate and to enjoy each other’s company, was an afternoon they spent together in a tavern in Sestri Levante.
“A tribute to the consummate artistic ability, permeated by idealism, which he demonstrated during his long career as a lyric poet, playwright, novelist and short stories writer.”
German writer, poet and playwright. His works include novels, short stories, poems and about sixty plays. This versatility made him a leading figure in the German literary scene of his time, so much to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1910.
Paul Heyse, very attentive to Italian literature, made Leopardi popular in Germany: he wrote a critical study Leopardi’s Weltanschaaung as premise to the first edition of Giacomo Leopardi deutsch von P. Heyse, in two parts (Hertz, Berlin 1878). Heyse visited Sestri Levante more than once, he became friends with the local leaders, especially with the priest Vincenzo Podestà, a local poet and scholar.
The locals on his 80th birthday sent him an artistic parchment written by the painter Ferrea and signed by the Mayor Dr. Bo in which it was written:
“To the great poet and artist Paolo HEYSE, in the fervent spring of nature and memories, the old friend Vincenzo Podestà, the inhabitants of Sesta and the compatriots for your 80th birthday. This strip of Ligurian land that you loved, poet, and that holds your image, wishes to your noble soul the smile of its sky, the glory of its sun and its sea.”
Sulla bella costa orientale del mar ligure, proprio quasi a metà tra Genova e Spezia si protende tra i flutti del mare azzurro un ripido promontorio, ombreggiato di magnifici pini, che nessuno, che in passato abbia preso questa strada, ha lasciato di visitare. Infatti nella cittadina, che si è sviluppata sulla lingua di terra fra la baia profonda e oltre, nella valle all’interno, abitata da marinai e gente umile, si fermavano regolarmente i vetturini che giungevano da sud o da nord, sia soltanto per concedere ai loro passeggeri e cavalli il riposo di mezzogiorno o per fare qui tappa per la notte. Allora il viaggiatore saliva per il vicoletto lastricato verso la villa del Marchese Piuma e camminava, attraversando i lunghi sentieri del giardino, verso l’altura dei pini, per godere là, tra cespugli selvaggi, prunai di aloe e tamerici, della vista sul mare, indicibilmente bella, e indirizzarsi poi all’antico castello e al camposanto con i muri a strisce bianche e nere, davanti alla discesa dall’altra parte, dove, dal pendio al di là, guarda giù familiarmente l’antico convento dei cappuccini, tra cipressi e olivi, e sotto si innalzava presso la spiaggia la meravigliosa chiesa solitaria e il muro dell’ospedale, dipinto di rosso, e le case di Sestri, intonacate di bianco si specchiano sulle onde tranquille. […] Quando la parte più calda del giorno era passata, andavo lungo la spiaggia presso i cordai che lavoravano alacremente e davanti alle donne che facevano le reti nella strada principale, a leggere l’Opinione nell’unico caffè indescrivibilmente povero, e salivo poi al Convento dei Cappuccini, dove, nonostante l’odore monacale di tabacco da naso e cipolla, mi trattenevo per ore intere con alcuni vecchi confratelli dalla lunga barba che, posti là in estinzione dal governo dell’Italia unita, prolungavano abbastanza stentatamente la loro modesta esistenza, mentre gli spazi principali del loro convento sono stati trasformati in una scuola e non si fa nulla per restaurare i muri delle celle che si sbriciolano. Quando alla sera scendevo sulla spiaggia, mi sedevo su una panchina di pietra, mentre la luna rosso oro ardeva quasi festosamente incombente sull’orizzonte e guardavo come gli scolari gettavano sugli scogli i loro calzoncini e le loro camiciole di lino e come una schiera di bianchi ranocchi si tuffavano nei flutti turchino scuri, insegnando i più grandi ai più piccoli a nuotare e tuffarsi. I pipistrelli frullavano sulle teste vicino a loro, lontano sul mare svaniva una vela silenziosa, un pungente odore di salsedine, catrame e pesce si diffondeva sulla costa e veniva dissipato quando cominciava a soffiare la più fresca brezza notturna. Erano belle queste sere, belle e tranquille. Forse resterà così quando l’ultimo dei buoni Cappuccini riposerà nel chiostro accanto ai cipressi e il nuovo Agostino, invece che in maniche di camicia, porrà sul tavolo il fritto misto in marsina nera?
“Following the tradition of medieval jesters, mocks power by restoring dignity to the oppressed ones”
He was an Italian playwright, actor, director, writer, author, illustrator, painter, set designer and activist. His plays, based on the peculiar traits of the Italian comedy, are successfully performed all over the world. While his texts reflect his deep political commitment (left parties), through elements of social and political satire.
In 1997 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
In the same room in which, in 1962, the world premiere of “The exterminating angel” by Luis Bunuel took place, on October 1, 1969, “Mistero buffo”, monologue in a single act is almost entirely performed in grammelot by Dario Fo.
The work is brilliant in its drafting and execution. It doesn’t only represent a turning point in Dario Fo’s production, but it also introduces a complete novelty in theater. The theater becomes,according to Fo, a total and militant art: where the discovery of the tradition allows the comedian to express, thanks to the violent carnival discouragement, a suppressed subversive potential.
Fo came to Sestri, at the time marked by a strong industrial presence (over 5,000 employed in the industry on a population of 20,000 people), invited by the union and moved by the willingness of favouring a public of workers rather than the usual bourgeois one: “I am tired – he said on that occasion – of slapping the bourgeois and being repaid by their applause. I want to target a different audience and start a constructive provocation to those who have the duty of correcting the distortions I denounce “.
On the other hand, the local public, which received Mistero buffo and some comedies with enthusiasm, reacted very badly to the performance. The audience, composed mainly of communist militants, seemed to be personally offended and in the end, despite all efforts, the show had to be suspended.
“In recognition of its fertile, varied and excellent production in dramatic art”
German poet, playwright and novelist. In 1912 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature
Madonna, quante volte al tuo sacrario,
Della nordica notte mi traesti;
Oh quante, dico, e non ho mentito
Ché una volta vale qui per cento.
Beata vetta, ove nel marmo splendi,
Dal vigore del sole penetrata,
Dalle punte dei pini avvolta,
E profumata come un dolce vino.
Tu mi conosci, Vergine diletta,
M’attendi come fido cavaliere
Ché in te nel meriggio mi riscaldi.
Tu, che benigna miri ogni minuzia,
Concedimi una volta ancor la gioia
Di toccar con un bacio la tua grata.
Sestri Levante, 1921
Central character of Catholic culture in Italy, between 1930 and 1940 he cooperated with the magazine “il Frontespizio”, founder in 1941 of the publishing house “Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura”. Intrigued by Hauptmann’s sonnet, he asked his friend Carlo Bo, a literary critic from Sestri, author of the essay Letteratura come vita (1938) and a reference point for the Hermetic movement, if he could give him information about the “shrine” to which he makes such a tribute to the German writer.
Carlo Bo replied:
“[…] It could be a chapel dedicated to the Madonna on a very pretty hill that was once the destination of foreigners’ walks (Sestri was a winter colony of the Germans and Hauptmann himself went to the Jensch hotel, I remember very well his figure): the place is called in fact “La Madonetta”.
“In recognition of his contribution to the development of wireless telegraphy”
Italian physicist, inventor, entrepreneur and politician. He developed an effective communication system via wireless telegraphy using radio waves or radio telegraph which spread considerably. Its evolution led to the development of modern systems using wireless communications, which earned him the Nobel Prize for physics in 1909
On the top of Sestri Levante peninsula, on the foundations of an ancient tower, rises the “Torre Marconi”, now included in the Park of Grand Hotel dei Castelli, built by Riccardo Gualino .
The artifact, of circular section, is about 10 meters high, develops on three floors, and is entirely made in brick. After centuries of neglect the Tower was used again during the 20th century, thanks to its strategic position on the sea: Riccardo Gualino, after having bought most of the peninsula by the Marquis Piuma, historical owners, built a magnificent villa, divided into several bodies. Friend of Guglielmo Marconi, he put the tower at his disposal. The scientist conducted there many experiments between 1932 and 1934.
On July 30, 1934, in the presence of technicians, Italian and English Navy officers and numerous press representatives, Marconi successfully realised his experiments on the possibility of using microwaves to obtain a radiotelegraphy system to be applied to ships with poor visibility. Sailed from Santa Margherita, the ship Elettra headed towards Sestri Levante, on whose promontory the beacon had been installed; at about 800 meters from there, there were two buoys spaced 100 meters apart, among which the Elettra passed with precision, guided only by the signals emitted by the beacon.
In honor of the scientist and in memory of his experiments, the Tigullio Gulf is referred to as the “Golfo Marconi” on nautical papers.
“For his lyrical poetry, which with ardent classicism he expresses the tragic experiences of life in our times”
Italian poet, significant exponent of Hermeticism. He contributed to the translation of various compositions from the classical age, especially Greek poems, but also plays by Molière and William Shakespeare. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1959.
Around Carlo Bo (1911-2001), one of the greatest literary critics of the 20th century in Europe, the highest Italian intellectuals and poets met: his house in Via XX Settembre, full of books, hosted Sbarbaro, Montale, Quasimodo, Gadda, etc.
In this photo, taken on the beach of Sestri Levante, we can recognize, from the left, Giovanni Descalzo (1902-1951), a delicate poet and narrator, a great example of the strength of a literary vocation that has been able to prevail over very difficult environmental conditions; an unidentified girl; Leonardo Sinisgalli (1908-1981), a poet of hermetic taste, happy prose author, manager of industry (Olivetti, Pirelli, Agip), founded for Finmeccanica the magazine «Civiltà delle macchine»; Quasimodo and, seated, Carlo Bo.