11/2008 – ”La Bancarella”: books, authors, editors and music

“La Bancarella”: books, authors, editors and music
at the third annual “Eastern Adriatic Book Fair”

Trieste. Extremely summery weather formed the backdrop for most of the third annual “Bancarella” book fair, promoted by CDM (the Center for Multimedia Documentation for Istrian, Dalmatian, and Fiume culture), together with the ANVGD and sponsored by the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region and the city and province of Trieste, and with financial support by the Savings Foundation of Trieste and the Ministry of Culture. The response from the public was tremendously positive, which was evident by the way they packed the exhibit every hour of its five-day run. This year, as always, a winning formula was followed: a wisely-chosen cultural program and intelligent entertainment, interspersed with the presentations of books “hot off the press”, by authors of great interest, concerts, exhibits, and pertinent debates and roundtable discussions, while nearby local editors were displaying their works.
Roberto Molinaro, the regional representative of the Ministry of Culture, summed up the scope of the “Bancarella”: It is a cultural initiative that speaks of Trieste’s past and a significant part of this region, but it is done in a way that is absolutely modern, with the recovery of memory that has to do with the future.” The inauguration, September 10th, saw the presence of Trieste mayor Roberto Dipiazza, Renzo Codarin, president of the Federation of the Associations of Exiles, also CDM president, and Lucio Toth, president of the ANVGD, along with Rustia Traine Foundation president Renzo de’ Vidovich.

Adriatic Culture between Past and Present:
Osmosis, contamination, and the role of pre-Romance and Veneto Dialects.
Lucio Toth opened the speeches on September 11th, with an overview of the entire fair and its motives. The “Bancarella” cannot be complete without reflection on the past and future of Adriatic civilization: a long list of pertinent figures was present for this discussion, including writer Stelio Spadaro; University of Venice Ca’ Foscari professor Ulderico Bernardi; director of the Historical Research Center of Rovigno, Giovanni Radossi; professor and national council member Donatella Schurzel; and the president of the Fiume studies society, Amleto Ballarini. Ballarini made the case for the importance of dialogue amongst various groups, discussing his society’s historical research, and how classical authors, such as Kobler, Samani, and Tuchtan should be recovered. He also brought up the new studies on Fiume city history, which, he remarked, is European, and especially Italian history. Ulderico Bernardi discussed the profound implications of drastic changes in local demographic make-up, that eradicates a dialect from its original habitat and dialect’s importance as a vehicle of communication and identification.
 Radossi picked up the theme of history and identity in dialect; he spoke of CDR’s six different dictionaries and announced the soon-to-be-published Buie-dialect volume. Radossi had harsh words for the manipulation, which began in 1991, in the Croatian part of Istria, of property listings and place names. There is a risk, he noted, that in a few short years, personal names will be “translated” as will historical names. Professor Schurzel also spoke of identity, discussing Giulian and Dalmatian authors, who were at the same time witnesses and protagonists of a strong Italian culture, that they considered their own.
 Spadaro picked up the thread of History, insisting on the Eastern border as a matter of national, and not local, importance: a truly national matter should not be fenced in as a local issue. The comprehensive image of Venezia-Giulia needs to be part of the  national conscience, as it is a laboratory of shared existence in a historical sense, and throughout the centuries it has constituted a connective fiber which is of vital importance today, for the elaboration of a future of positive confrontation.

Literature as a vehicle of knowledge

There was then a roundtable discussion on the function of literature as a vehicle of knowledge. The discussion leaders were Cristina Benussi (Trieste University), Gianfranco Sodomaco (writer and playwright) and Elis Deghenghi Olujic (Pola University). A no-holds-barred discussion, in which all three leaders told about their respective experiences in study and research, and their personal ideas on literature. Elis Deghenghi’s participation was quite interesting, as a contributor of important studies on contemporary local authors. The public intervened numerous times, and the atmosphere was informal, a mix of research and divulgation.
 Patrizia C. Hansen then held a discussion on Brancati, Pasolini, Yourcenar, and Junger, four “looks at Istria, and Dalmatia” by authors with very different styles, but similar in their perceptions of the individual character of nature and people. The conversation was accompanied by the narration of Nadia Giugno and the piano music of maestro Gianni Signorelli.
 The third day of the “Bancarella” opened with a “Books and Authors” theme, with the presentation of Daria Garbin’s book Salona negli Scavi di Francesco Carrara, an accurate study of one of the most influential cities of the Roman empire, not far from Spalato, and its discoverer. Alessandro Cuk was also present: he is a cinema critic and writer of the book Cinema di Frontiera. Exile themes were highlighted in the next roundtable discussion, “Being Exiles, Today” taken from an idea by Carmen Palazzolo Debianchi, who introduced the speeches of Marino Micich (Fiume Historical Archive, Rome), Francesca Briani (member of the ANVGD national council), Donatella Schurzel, Fausto Biloslavo, Livio Dorigo, Guido Rumici, Marianna Deganutti, Tinzetta Martinoli. It was a lively discussion, about how the Exile experience, in our day, can be preserved in a life ethic.
 Lucio Toth headed another “Books and Authors” segment, presenting his book La Casa di Calle San Zorzi (Sovera Publishers). The actor Maurizio Zacchigna gave an original theatrical reading, directed by Rossana Poletti.
 Gisella Sanvitale (soprano) and Andrea Binetti (tenor), with Federico Consoli at the piano, gave a concert that was received with enthusiasm. The spirit and irony of their performance attracted a huge crowd, who called for numerous encores, generously conceded until late in the evening.

Place Names in Istria, Fiume and Dalmatia: Historical, geographical, and legal Profiles
 Giovanni Radossi’s theme of two days prior was picked up again in the rpesentation of the volume Place Names in Istria, Fiume and Dalmatia: Historical, geographical and legal Profiles. This work was born of a collaboration between the Coordinamento Adriatico of Bologna, the Military Geographical Institute of Florence, and the Popular University of Trieste. The presentation, by Luciano Lago, Valeria Piergiorgi, and Giuseppe de Vergottini, had its contents and procedures illustrated by Davide Rossi and Guglielmo Cevolin.
 For the cultural music section, ChiaraBertoglio held a conference whose title was highly significant: Sì bella e perduta: the Exiles of Istria, Fiume and Dalmatia, and the aria “Va’ Pensiero”. Taken from Verdi’s opera, this was the subject of the young musician’s university thesis.
 The fair closed in splendid style: the “Mitteleuropa Ensemble Chamber Quartet”, under the direction of Mario Fragiacomo, gave a concert entitled Forse un giorno si racconterà di un popolo…(“Perhaps, one day, the story of a people will be told…”): music and words of Istria and Dalmatia which had already enjoyed great success with the public of Turin last March at the Readers’ Circle. And to finish the five days of the fair, there was a concert of popular music from the Istria-Veneto and Dalmatian areas; the concert was named “Songs of the Istrian Exile: The great Istrian poets of the 1800s”.

Positive results in every sector. The next “Bancarella” will be in 2009.

All of the promoters of “Bancarella” were quite satisfied, especially at the great turnout all five days of the fair. Rosanna Turcinovich-Giuricin, a key organizer of the event, underlined that “the guests from nearby Istria were numerous, and they helped to contribute to the enrichment of the fair, which every year seeks to transmit the Adriatic identity through stories, photographs, conferences and music.”
 This year, the central location of the fair, within the pedestrian zone of the city, encouraged public participation. The official turnout was estimated at more than 10,000 people. Renzo Codarin said that it was a notable amount, and was pleased to state that the CDM is working on ways to expand the number and types of participants, so that they can continue to promote, “here, as everywhere”, the values and historical contents of the identity of Giulia and Dalmatia.

The Editors
(traduzioni di Lorie Ballarin)

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