Saturday, 5 April 2014

Casarsa and Pier Paolo Pasolini's steps. March, Sunday 23rd

places tell stories. i've said and written that over and over. some days ago marco and i visited Casarsa della Delizia, a little village in Friuli Venezia Giulia, to hear some stories about the time Pier Paolo Pasolini lived there. you may have never heard about him, but he was one of the finest, still controversial, and most famous intellectual in postwar Italy. a poet, writer, journalist, filmmaker.

he was born in Bologna in 1922 and died in Rome in 1975, but he spent some meaningful years in Casarsa, where his mother came from. he used to spend his childhood summers there, and during the war and postwar years he moved with her from Bologna, to be safe. he lived in Casarsa for seven years, working as a teacher, before being forced to move to Rome, when a scandal about his homosexuality came out.

in Casarsa he wrote his first poem collections, in the local dialect, the complex friulian language. he was inspired by this land, growing as a man and as an artist. today's Casarsa landscape is not the same as during Pasolini's time, but it is still possible to find some of the topics he wrote about so dramaticaly and beautifully in his poetry. the mulberry trees, the baks of the Tagliamento river. you can still hear that language, in the talks of local people.

we actually listened to the places stories by a group of -very well educated- kids from local middle and high schools, who were guiding visitors around the Pasolini route.

San Giovanni church
first stop - San Giovanni church and lodge
Pasolini was politically commited, and became the local secretary of the communist party. he used to put up handwritten posters in the San Giovanni lodge, near the gothic church: writings in italian and friulian, polemical and usually in opposition to the catholic circles. 
the use of a dialect wasn't popular in the party, a scandal for communists intellectuals, as it was in wartime for nationalists. he was expelled from the party when his homosexuality became public. 

San Giovanni lodge
second stop - Versuta 
this Casarsa's neighborhood is deeper in the countryside. it is today as it was in Pasolini's time. he moved to the village on 1944, during the german occupation. during the hard days of the war, Versuta's kids couldn't go to school, so Pier Paolo and his mother decided to give lessons in the rooms where they were living. the neighborhood has a little church which dates from the mid XIV century. In Pasolini's days many of the frescoes of the churc were hidden under a thick covering. He and his pupils brought them back to the light, rubbing the plaster away with onions.

the class in Versuta with Pier Paolo Pasolini

a fountain dedicated to Pasolini in Versuta. he once wrote "a no è aga pì frescia che tal me paìs" (there's no fresher wather than the water of my village)

Sant'Antonio abate church in Versuta

third stop - the Colussi house
the house of Pasolini's mother family, now hosts a collection of his memorabilia and a research center dedicated to his works. the Colussi house was also the place where he founded his literary salon, the Academiuta, whose plan was to increase the value of the Friulan language, confering linguistic and literary dignity on an exclusively oral vernacular tradition.

one of the old photos displayed in Colussi house, featuring one of Pasolini's passion: soccer. 

fourth stop - Santa Croce church
the small white church is decorated with frescoes and a votive stone remembering the turkish invasion in 1499. from this stone Pasolini draw inspiration for the first drama he wrote. on this very church, Pier Paolo Pasolini's funeral was celebrated on 1975, november 6th, after he was murdered in Ostia, Rome.

Sant'Antonio façade and one of Santa Croce's frescoes

the place i loved the most during the whole itinerary is Versuta. the small church stands in the middle of a typical countryside neighborhood. on the inside, the bright frescoes embrace you, with an humble solemnity. a quiet space to think and be grateful for the beautiful things.

Sant'Antonio abate church in Versuta, side door 

Sant'Antonio abate church in Versuta, frescoes detail

Sant'Antonio abate church in Versuta, frescoes detail

this post was longer and more descriptive than usual. i hope i haven't bored you! have a lovely weekend.

{nikon em + fuji color 200}


  1. Not at all, I've loved every step!

  2. Always so good to learn something :)
    hope your weekend was lovely,Silvia!

    1. this weekend was all about work! but i'll catch up with relax today ;)

  3. really loved this post.
    Pasolini is one of my favourite author.
    Thank you!

    1. grazie francesca! glad you appreciated it.
      i haven't read pasolini's opera omnia yet, but i'll work harder on it, especially after this day in Casarsa.

  4. these photographs are beautiful, dear silvia!
    love the tones on the last two ♥ those frescoes look amazing :)

    i knew pasolini's films, but didn't know he was also a writer. you've tempted me to read his books!

    1. thank you, dear!
      i think pasolini is mostly known for his films, but he was a well rounded intellectual.


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