‘Il ponente ligure’, the western part of Liguria where Casa Didun is located, is also called: ‘La riviera dei fiori’, which translates into ‘the flowers’ riviera’ — an evocative poetic name to celebrate one of the area’s main industries: Flowers!
In this ending chunk of a croissant shaped region, an army of green houses climb up and down the laddered terraces, ruthlessly invading the narrow strip of land. From this edge of the rainbow curve a spread of glass constructions glares off the hills, their presence blinding that romantic image for which its name, ‘riviera dei fiori’, calls for!
‘Le serre’, how they are named here, randomly stretch from the hills to the sea. They create a rather curious, chaotic architectural ensemble that makes me only glad that they are made out of glass and not cement. Like my friend Ilia would say: “it could have been worse!”. The natural landscape could have been polluted by the ruthless property speculation, as it has in most parts of Liguria!
Listening to Monica I understand that many of these ‘serre’ are slowly emtping out and voiding themselves of any function. The shifts of economic interests and the fear of hard manual work, has turned them into an unappealing business. The result is that these deserted and ghostly vegetable barracks are now passive protagonists in a western desolated landscape: a destiny awaiting other places, like Peru’ for example, where the world’s flower production has momentary moved to.
Monica feels that her ‘serra’ should not go wasted. The potential for such spaces are many therefore they have to be repurposed to contain new ideas.
In this context the green house is representative of an era. They symbolized the regional process of industrialization of agriculture. Like my plastic bags, these green houses embody both positive and negative connotations and link into a series of contradictions. If on one side they epitomize men’s avid dependence on consumerism on the other they suggest a positive compromise between modern society and nature.
Definitely they stand as another step in italians evolutionary journey, another experience to learn from and to keep in mind when tuning the future into a more harmonious balance.
The ‘serre’ are there, they exist, part of an intricate pattern: the social, economic, political cultural inheritance of this region. They are now rooted into the history of this land. Should we not try to make the most out of them? Should we not turn them into a new beneficial opportunity instead?
Just as I have been transforming my plastic bags, Monica will transform the purpose of her greenhouse to set an example.
Maybe we have become oblivious of the fact that agriculture is what links us to what has created us, to what support us, to what feed us: nature.
It is time for Italy to gracefully ‘capitalize’ on the past: on its historic experiences. It’s time to finally put in practice the learnings in order to calibrate a myriads of successes with centuries of mistakes. It’s time to plot a new route to trace a fair course for everybody. It’s time to draw a line in order to re-align our relationship with nature and with ourselves.
The process of urbanization first, followed by the one of ‘suburbification’ have contaged healthy italian communities distracting them, like the rest of the world, from the essential.
The excitement for growth, for the new, for advancement and experimentation has been an infectious elixir for all. The flow of this concoction has caused a new phenomenon. It is what I call the phenomenon of ‘fence-fixation’. A spell that has made us our own jailers as well as prisoners of an unhealthy system that is killing us.
The act of owning, the need for possession, the concept of property are the main causes of this conflict as it implies the dominion over nature.
The once vibrant Italian neighbourhood communities have now their inhabitants locked into their isolation, hostages of a trivial system that has suppressed true passions and real needs, captive of the functions of economic appearances instead.
An act of love is what ‘Italy’ really needs to feed its new generations with. How to love themselves – ourselves, through the love of nature should be the new motto.
Individualistic economics cannot rule our lives and cannot blind us from our passions. It’s time to let our true inclination run free and re-discover our innate skills for caring and develop them instead. Maybe then we can really fulfill our insatiable italian egos. But this time with the pleasures that come with doing good in the interest of the greater. The love for ourself is tied to the love for the others that is inevitably linked to nature.
What has happen to that beautiful Italian communal spirit that the whole western world has ridiculed while secretly envying it? Right now it seems lost inside an empty hybrid, barricaded behind some fence. A sad place where the mere accumulation of individualistic politicians has priority on the spread of wealth to the entire community.
Hopefully Tea and Sophie will be able to discover their true gifts and passions and to cultivate them in the interest of a fulfilled society, where good intentions are recognized and can grow to become real.
Will Italy be able to facilitate such vital service?
We don’t inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children (native american say), and while we discuss, nature acts (Voltaire).