“A well-dressed child, a bit naughty, who wrote mocking words on walls with a chalk… but a good student as well, especially in Italian, so good that sometimes his teacher doubted that he had created his compositions without any help… ”
Pier Paolo Pasolini (Bologna, 5th March 1922 – Rome, 2nd November 1975) was an Italian poet, writer, director, screenwriter, actor, songwriter, playwriter and journalist, among 20th century’s greatest artists and intellectuals. Thanks to its cultural versatility, he stood out in many fields, working also as a painter, novelist, linguist, translator and essayist, writing not in only in Italian but also in Friulian language.
Attentive observer of the transformation of society, polemic spirit contrastingmiddle-class habits, Pasolini served as the critical conscience of a homologated, degraded Italy, prey of the lack of values. He also gave voice to a heartfelt protest against the devastating effects of consumerism, homologation, political corruption, false respectability and any kind of violence.
Le radici dell’infanzia di Pier Paolo Pasolini risalgono a Sacile. All’epoca Pier Paolo era un ragazzino di sette anni che da grande voleva diventare un poeta, come spesso diceva alla madre e che, intanto, giocava fra le vie e le piazze della nostra Sacile.
The roots of Pier Paolo Pasolini’schildhood are to be found in Sacile. At the time, Pier Paolo was a 7-year-old boy who wanted to be a poet, as he often told his mother, and used to play among the roads and squares of Sacile.
He had reached Sacile with his father, an Army Official sent to the local military base dedicated to Scipio Slataper. Like many children of army officials, he moved many times: after the kindergarten in Belluno, he attended his first year of primary school in Conegliano, hissecond year inCasarsa, his mother’s hometown, then he moved to Sacile in 1929: the family lived opposite Duomo di San Nicolò, in Via Solferino e San Martino (now Via L. Gasparotto). The young poet wrote his first verses in that house, which now hosts a plaque created by the local sculptor Alberto Pasqual: “The work is his portrait, showing an austere, thoughtful look, conveying feelings even though it seems speechless, flanked by a barely outlined Duomo and a weeping willow”.
“Portici Di…Versi” (verses under the porticoes)
In the city centre, opposite Duomo di San Nicolò, Via Gasparottogreets its guests by paying homage to Pier Paolo Pasolini. The house of his childhood is decorated by a dedicated bas-relief, while a series of texts and poems placed on the columns of the porticocreates a commemorative path in honour of the artist who loved Friuli. Pasolini chanted the genuine beauty of a land of primroses and storms, of a Sacile that can now boast having seen the poet as a child who played among the streets of its centre. Pasolini never forgot writing his first verses in Sacile.
“I did not begin writing verses with “The Ashes of Gramsci”, I started much earlier, and more precisely in 1929 in Sacile, when I had just turned seven and was in my second year of primary school.”
“…I recall a photo taken in 1929 where, with a brown and white striped suit, I stand on the balcony of the clergy house togetherwith another thirty children, my classmates. It is extraordinary, I still cannot avoid feeling moved by my fierce aspect, my impudent quiff, the bronze tenderness of my complexion…”
“Every time someone asks me to tell them something about my mother, to remember something about her, the same image always comes to my mind.
We are in Sacile, during spring in 1929 or 1931, mum and I walk on the path of a meadow quite far from the centre; we are alone, completely alone.
Around us, there are only bushes with small buds but still wintery in their aspect; trees are naked as well, and, through the multitude of the black trunks, the blue mountains are barely visible in the distance. But primroses have bloomed already. The water edges are full of them. This gives me an infinite joy that, up to now, while I talk about it, suffocates me.
I hold my mother’s arm very tight (we are walking arm in arm) and I plunge my cheek in the humble coat she is wearing: in that fur coat I feel the scent of spring, a mix of bitter cold and warmth, of perfumed mud and still odourless flowers, of home and countryside. The smell of that humble fur coat of my mother is the smell of my life”
(from Enzo Siciliano, Vita di Pasolini)
The Primrose (in Sacile in 1929)
My mother, almost a young girl, bowed
over theLivenza, picks up the primrose
erect, extraneous… The Moors from the tower
toll in the completely pure air
in midday air… And the fresh weight
of my little boy shirt,
the undefined cloud in the blue,
the smell, like a silent cry,
of prepubescent fields…
P. P. Pasolini
Leaving Sacile (in Sacile in 1932)
The crying boy wants to impress
In his heart that what flees indifferently
Behind that coach that has almost
Already comforted him. And meanwhile he catches a glimpse,
the last time!, the dark green glass
ofthe Livenzarippling under the bridge
in a heinous peace.
P. P. Pasolini