Year 12 | 21 January 2020 | TO ENTER | TO REGISTER

Return to nature? A temporary utopia

The novelist Ferruccio Parazzoli reckons that the introduction of TV meant the end of the rural world. Nowadays, even the country language has changed. The success of agro-tourism? Only a transitory phenomenon

Ferruccio Parazzoli, born in Rome in 1935, is the author of several novels, and some religious essays. In 2009, he published the essay Inventare il mondo. Teoria e pratica del racconto (Garzanti), and the novel Il tribunale dei bambini (Mondadori).

My feeling is that the notion of rural world is going lost, at least in the Western world. Do you agree that a rural language is disappearing?
Sure, I have been living away from the country for a long time, but I spent my youth in Macerata, in Central Italy, the birthplace of my father, between 1945 and 1950. I was in a totally rural society that I well knew. At the time, we had no TV, everything was lived among us, at best we listened to the radio, that “stuff” which “spoke” at night, but not all had the opportunity or could afford one. Back then, we spent more time together. It was different. Today, the language is standard, thanks to TV. As a consequence, also the rural language has become specific, as technical as the language of other activities. It is a language used specifically and exclusively to describe given functions and it is not part of the common language anymore.

Still, a return to nature is represented by the search for a dimension alternative to the stress and strain of the city life and witnessed by the success of the rural and gastronomic tourism. These new trends, although dictated by the fashion of the moment and by the quest for evasion, could somehow influence the language of our society?
I do not think so. These are momentary utopias, transitory phenomena. People live where they work and have fun. We can talk of “vacations”, and the return to nature should actually be interpreted just as the research for vacation places, transitory vacus.

What about your personal relationship with nature? You were born in a big city, like Rome, but you also lived in a small city like Macerata...
Yes, I was born in Rome during the ugliest possible period, at the turn of fascism and WWII, in the years of Rome “open city”. While in Macerata, instead, I had a wonderful and direct relationship with nature. In particular during my teenage years, there was nothing better than that to savor freedom and fulfillment. Later, I moved to Milan, which, when all is said and done, is my true city. I do not recognize Rome, too beautiful and stunning. I could not live there. Milan instead suits me. I am definitely metropolitan, and I do not think I could live in places other than Milan. In the past, I dreamt of retiring in my house in Liguria, close to Sestri Levante, on the hills, where I could write in peace. Now, I could not do it for a long period, because I need the noise of Piazzale Loreto, of Milan. I need to wander through the city, and to clear my way among people to get to the door of our building and to the newspaper kiosk. I am lost to the cause!

by Luigi Caricato
01 february 2010, Food Notes > Miscellanea