Friday, June 26, 2009

torino, empty

I spent Wednesday afternoon wandering though the emptied streets of Torino, feeling like I had been written into an Italo Calvino story. The city was quiet. I became quiet. After exploring sun-drenched alleyways lined with 16th century churches and shuttered tabacchis, I eventually emptied out on the Piazza Castello. It's huge and white looming castle loomed all around me, with only it's covered arcades offering shelter from the sun.

From there, after six days and seven nights, you arrive at Zobeide, the white city, well exposed to the moon, with streets wound about themselves as in a skein. They tell this tale of its foundation: men of various nations had an identical dream. They saw a woman running at night through an unknown city; she was seen from behind, with long hair, and she was naked. They dreamed of pursuing her. As they twisted and turned, each of them lost her. After the dream, they set out in search of that city; they never found it, but they found one another; they decided to build a city like the one in the dream. In laying out the streets, each followed the course of his pursuit; at the spot where they had lost the fugitive's trail, they arranged spaces and walls differently from the dream, so she would be unable to escape again.  -Invisible Cities

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