This blog (in both English and Italian) will document my writer’s residency during April and May with SabinARTi in Casaprota, a town in the Sabina region, about one hour north-east of Rome.
I was attracted to SabinARTi for several reasons: I saw it as an opportunity to spend time in an Italian village, where I could be the visitor in daily contact with a small community, rather than being the tourist. Hopefully, I will do wonders for my spoken Italian! I was especially attracted to the theme of place and community which is a prerequisite for residency. Some artist residencies seem to almost ignore the local environment: the projects are generated somewhere else, and remain largely unaffected by the experience of being in Italy. While such projects still offer the chance to spend time with other writers, they seem to me a waste of the opportunity to experience a particular place.
This project involves writing and publishing a story. I arrive in Casaprota with the draft of a story set in a village in central Italy. During the residency I rewrite the story to locate it in the town, using significant sites within the village and some local remembered stories. The story is fictional, but something like this could well have happened. It is set during the brief life of the second Roman Republic, towards the end of April 1849, when Giuseppe Garibaldi marched his ‘Legione italiani di Garibaldi’ along the ancient via Salaria towards Rome, and passed very close to Casaprota.
To finish the project, the story is published in the town, each section of the story posted up in that part of the town (piazza, church, alleyway, gateway, balcony, etc) where the action of the story takes place. The story is read through a process of “walking the story”, a process of marking out the place of Casaprota through an imagined event, reflecting one prominent idea of place as a ‘tapestry of stories’.