Alberti's Rome: a danger for walkers
A walk through the favorite corners of the artist and his life in the city
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El Trastevere, one of the author's favorite neighborhoods © Getty Images
"Rome stalks you, Rome procures you, every moment Rome demands you, Rome has you already, Rome takes you prisoner of his golden teeth" “What to do, what to do, oh Rome in such a state, ingested by you, desperate, void the tongueDoes the movement null? ”he asks Rafael AlbertiSee 25 photos
Traste (I'll see) I'm in Rome
The Andalusian poet, who lived exiled in Rome for fourteen years with his wife, the writer of the Generation of 27 Maria Teresa León, left in his book Rome, danger for walkers(1968) the testimony of the time he spent in the city of the Tiber. The story of his life in the Roman exile, in the illustrious neighborhood of Trastevere, manifests his fascination with the city, where beauty and the vulgar combine with realistic and explosive comic.
Alberti inherited that realism from Gioachino Belli, a Roman poet whom he admired and whose figure is entrusted in the opening of the book. He dedicated the initial sonnets of the book, all headed by Belli verses.
Alberti's Rome is not that city historical and monumental that everyone talks about. It is not the eternal città, nor that of the Dolce Vita Alberti's Rome is a compendium of microhistories of rats and nocturnal cats, of alleys and stones, of empty windows and dark nights, of loneliness and silence, from his panic to the most dangerous trasteverino traffic, of garbage and piss.
Yes, piss. Of priests, of dogs and even of disguised nuns. A Rome seen from below, from the eyes of an outlaw poet and nostalgic of his land
Alberti wrote to the Rome of cats © Getty Images
In 1963, Rafael and María Teresa lived in a house of Via Monserrato 20. The same one that, previously, had served as home to the saint Ignacio de Loyola. A lovely apartment, in whose courtyard resided a beautiful nymph and to whom he dedicated the verses of the poem that bears the title of the exact address of the place: Monserrato 20.
Later, with the money from Lenin Peace Prize, the Cadiz bought an old and beautiful house from the beginning of century XVIII in Via Garibaldi 88, a place that became a sanctuary for anti-Franco pilgrims. And what María Teresa León called "The house of friendship", it made him evoke the atmosphere of other homes in his past, like the one on the street Marquis of Urquijo of Madrid, back in the thirties.
María Teresa León wrote in her work Melancholy Memory about those meetings with people who went from Spain just to see them, to observe the marriage in their new trasteverino habitat and to transmit to them, in a loud voice, the situations who lived on earth where they were expected by many others:
He told, funny, Alberti that the Spaniards they went to Rome to see the Pope or to see him. And so it was. Many were those who traveled to the Italian capital to visit the marriage in that reddish building of the Roman Trastevere.
"People who are like returning dreams knock at the door of our house in Rome. You? And we are cut short because it is as if we look at the clock of time, our own clock. Many people are called to our house. reflections, like lights. We see them for the first time, but our people of Spain are already known, and then we remain subject to their eyes to discover in them what happened with that fountain or with the square or with the Plateresque facade of the church or if the wall that never ended was standing or the tree where we supported the back or that wide street and painter where cars, bullfighters, girls in flower, teachers of politics, art, were standing of science and then enter the cafes to pontificate ... "
Corners of Trastevere that inspired Alberti © Getty Images
Among those strangers who knocked on Rafael and María Teresa's door, was my mother. He traveled to Rome and looked for communist poet, he brought two bottles of wine from his Cádiz land, and the memory of that encounter was brought back to Spain, several signed books and a painting with a dedication that, since then, presides over the living room of the house where I grew up. I guess, that's why I grew up dazzled by the poet of sailor hat
Few know that Alberti was also engaged in painting. He bought a loft in Vicolo of Bologna, and there he spent the days painting and writing. That was undoubtedly His great painter stage. Thanks to the painting he made important friendships, like the one he shared with the artist Carlo Quattrucci
With him he spent a lot of time working in studios for painters of Via del Riari, and at the bar counter Settimian, in front of his palace of Garibaldi. There, he met, also, with the Russian-Argentine painter Alejandro Kokochinski.
They were his home in Garibaldi, his studio in Vicolo del Bologna and his corner bar Settimiano, a fundamental part of his Roman routine But often you could see the poet sitting on a bench fresh in Santa María in Trastevere or giving long midnight walks, sharing the stage with the stray cats to which he dedicated more than one verse. Possibly, thinking about your "schoolgirl and seafaring childhood" in the Port of Santa María. He also used to frequent the Caffe di Marzio, where some paintings and poems that Alberti gave to his owner are still preserved.
Alberti liked to hike at midnight © Getty Images
When changing the Argentine exile for the Roman, Alberti wrote to his new city: "I left for you everything that was mine, give me you, Rome, in exchange for my sorrows, as much as I left to have you. "Well, there was a lot he left in that Buenos Aires after almost two decades “Between those shores of unreachable skies, crops and horses”.
Rome, on the other hand, gave him chaos and art, good friends and a new great love. It was Alejandro Kokochinski who gave him his first meeting with the Catalan biologist Beatriz Amposta, who, at that time, worked in Rome with a scholarship.
She inspired the only unpublished book of the poet, entitled Love in vilo, which is in possession of the Barcelona. A hidden book, since its birth, because the portense carried the handwritten verses hidden in his shoes, which made him go limp.
His romance developed in silence, since Maria Teresa was very sick with Alzheimer's. He visited the young scientist to bring poetry. After the relationship between Rafael and Beatriz ended, a great friendship arose that led the poet to ask him to make sure have your heritage of Via Garibaldi safe, when he and Maria Teresa returned to Spain after Franco's death.
Today, Amposta continues to reside in the same reddish palace of Via Garibaldi, in the company of his cats.
Rome inspired more than one book to the poet © Getty Images
Rafael's exile was long. He did not return to Spain until 1977, after almost 39 years living in Paris, Buenos Aires and Rome. When he returned to María Teresa, he met again with his seafaring land, with old friends and discovered that it was true what those who so often dared to knock on the door of his house in Trasteverina told him, who not only remembered him, but also his poetry was still alive and read, also, for the new generations.
Upon returning, he said “I left with a clenched fist and I return with an open hand ”. There was no resentment in the return of the painter of the sea and the words.
Abandoned the place of exile, this it was not forgotten and, on occasion, Alberti said: “Now I hope that someday, on some anniversary date, el Commune of the Eternal City stamp on some vicolo, not far from me Via Garibaldi, a plaque that says: "Vicolo di Rafael Alberti (before Cinque, Cedar, etc.) ", because I settled here, I became neighbor of this neighborhood to sing it humbly, graciously, avoiding the Monumental Rome, loving only the unofficial, the most antigoethiana you can imagine: the trasteverina Rome of the artisans, the broken, painted walls of political inscriptions or loving, the secret, static, nocturnal and, suddenly, dumb and lonely”.
Alberti arriving in Madrid from Rome received by crowds © Iberia AirlinesSee 25 photos
Traste (I'll see) I'm in Rome