Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Piercarlo Fabio: “A beautiful space trip to the founding of Alessandria”


The cartoon show by Giulio Legnaro dedicated to the founding of Alessandria has rekindled interest in this episode of our city’s past, halfway between history and myth. We publish the speech delivered by the Honorary Mayor, as well as the talented local historian, Piercarlo Fabbio, on the occasion of the important event.

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“There is good news… The good news is a new book on the founding of the city. The author is Giulio Legnaro, who we already have for other shows as a scholar of history. Only this time, repeating an editorial about a year ago, Giulio wanted to re-propose the story of Alessandria’s foundation, using language Comics. A year ago, in 2021, Legnaro dedicated his first comic book to the siege of Barbarossa in Alessandria. The book was a hit and was easily copied Alexandria Foundation. Several partners contributed to and contributed to the editorial creation of the volume, which was conceived, written and illustrated by Giulio Legnaro.

Among the institutions, such as the Municipality of Alessandria, the Ricaldone, and the Cassa di Risparmio Foundation of our city, the role played by the Marquess of Monferrato, who had already supported the promulgation of The siege of Alexandria. association like i Marquisled by Emiliana Conti, who not only allows herself to be forced into the confines of Monferrato, but investigates other areas, identifies connections, proposes historical reinterpretations, constantly overlooks monumental artistic beauties, offers interpretations, deepens news and provides food for new reconsideration. .

But you Marquis It was also the engine of this other comic volume, we must not forget the importance of the language chosen by Julio, that is, those comics proposed in a digital graphic version, which can be decisive or do a lot to bring the story closer to the younger ones, and why also for those who have some white hair And who certainly know how to closely read the events of interest to the birth of Alexandria between characters, dialogues, and historical and non-historical figures.

However, Giulio Legnaro does not throw himself into 1168, but eases himself into history, wandering through time. As do its protagonists, who start from a later time, perhaps 2050, which kicks off the story and use of the fictional and always-wanted time machine, now a magnet for students on a school trip. Obviously I’d have to go with the minimum order to tell you about the book…

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A book that begins with “palea” as the name of a new city, but is located in an area already inhabited by Romans, Celts, and Ligurians. Yet the purely historical overtones end here, as if it were a modest introduction to a much larger story, which, paradoxically, begins with a long sleep beyond what is necessary. It’s the protagonist, Doris, who wakes up just in time to get to the bus that will take her on a trip to the Museum of Time Travel… The car is apparently equipped with autopilot and the destination is likely Pasadena, near Los Angeles, or Lost Hill City, California, USA.

But time travel is not so straightforward. It is true that now leaps to other eras constitute a mature technology, but some rules must be respected: for example, knowing the language of that period, in this case the language of 1168 spoken in our area, and avoiding seeing it as such. In order not to be confused with dangerous enemies. With these precautions in place, Professor Richard Cooper’s school could set out for Alexandria in the twelfth century. The space-time tunnel will lead our students near Bergoglio Forest, one of the villages that founded the city.

Here we pause in the story, but readers are sure to find Alexandrian characters talking about politics, namely the contrasts with the Marquis of Monferrato or the consuls traveling to Lodi to make agreements with the Lombard League or the protection given to the Lombard League. A city rising from Pope Alexander III, or they will know a traffic jam on the bridge of Tanaro already built, which, having a look, is created, not by cars, but by a certain herd of Jagiliodo who after a few years will become famous for the sake of the new city. Meanwhile, the boys from prof. Richard Cooper – a teacher who spent several years in Alexandria during his life in the future – will discover that Jagiliodo is a patron and producer of cheese, an explicit reference to the sculpture installed in the corner of the facade of the cathedral of San Pietro in Alessandria which depicts our hero with a small cheese on his head … at least This is how the most famous legend tells of a statue that was actually placed in the old cathedral that was demolished by decision of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803.

On the trip children will also find other lesser-known Gagliaudo characters, such as Aldo, who has come to New Alessandria in search of his fortune. Aldo comes from Riccaldon and explains the meaning of the name of the city that would later belong to Luigi Tenko: “Rancus to eliminate brambles and Aldo who was at the head of the Lombards five centuries ago”, that is, for us about 1300 years ago.

The landing place is the stalls of the Maior, where still the boys on a journey through time hear the Alexandrians discussing the Genoese, friends and merchants, and enemies of Pavia, who wish to conquer these lands so important for goods and trade between land and sea. Just as they hear about Barbarossa, that is, Frederick I, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, who will besiege Alexandria in a few years. The theme of the siege was already developed in 2021 by Giulio Legnaro, as I told you at the beginning, and it is precisely from these paintings that we begin to understand how the history of the institution can only directly lead to the history of the siege. from the city.

Only Emperor Barbarossa tells himself, through city intruders, what is happening in Alexandria. A real espionage capable of gathering the news of the day, that is, the return of the consuls who signed an agreement in Lodi with the Lombard League of cities and communes … and then the return of the boys to their own time. …but even the most accurate technique can fail, so, in its time…

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Let’s not spoil what’s behind the end of Giulio Legnaro’s book about Alexandria Foundationwhich tends instead to demystify one of the moments in the city’s history, which has been studied the most, but most of which need the certainty which documents discovered so far tend to only partially provide.

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Another question opens and relates precisely to the framework that the author provides for his story. The romantic person who identifies the enemy who bears all the blame in this affair? Or what is the historiography of the twentieth century, which reached its peak in the late 1960s, as an oxymoron in which the people of Alessandria and the cities weren’t right? The first is a strategic vision of the needs of the Risorgimento of the time, of which Barbarossa is unequivocally an illegal occupier of lands belonging to Alexandria and no one else, just like the Austrians of the Lombard-Veneto region. the second, more modern and close to us, where the needs of the Risorgimento have now diminished, in which the Emperor will also be an enemy, but the feudal law will be on his side and Miletus Alexandria would be revolutionary if anything, but with their founding of the city they would certainly be doing something illegal.

Legnaro is in the middle of these two historical interpretations, he defines them and mixes them, as it derives from a humorous film that uses virgit, myth and, why not, magic or insight as if they were history and thus builds a new dimension of the folk story, which takes the reader in his hand and leads him to the knowledge of that story , along with inventions, that serve to better understand the city’s identity.

Bercarlo Fabio

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