I have heard so many times the word magic during my stays in Marche and Umbria, magic meaning a peculiar characteristic, uniqueness of the Sibillini territory. This peculiarity was highlighted during Concita De Gregorio’s interviews to the “Women of the Sibillini” too. Most of the women’s answers on the meaning of “home” and “future” after the earthquake, were connected in an essential way to the territory women belong to. I, as an external “character” and not involved in that specific place, started thinking about this topic. I asked myself “what would I tell a tourist to convince him/her to visit these places?”
I thought about it for a short time but. As I tend to base my judgments on parameters as much objective as possible, the word magic has begun to be unconvincing. To be more precise I do not think that only “magic” can define a place. Defining a place as magical is an emotional and subjective criterion, what is magical for me may not be for others. So I started looking for the meaning of “magical”:
“In general, practice and form of esoteric and initiatory knowledge that presents itself as capable of controlling the forces of nature; in various cultures and in different historical periods, it has been object of opposite evaluations, now considered a form of superior knowledge, now rejected as imposture and condemned by civil and religious authorities.
“Capable of controlling the forces of nature …” No, it’s not, in that territory still destroyed by earthquake, I would say no, it is not magic. So what is it? I tried with sublime. The dynamically sublime is “nature considered in an aesthetic judgment as might that has no dominion over us”. We are getting closer but not enough.
The relationship between Nature and Man
In both cases it is clear that we are not talking about Nature and Man (human being) only but we focus on the relationship between Human Being and Nature. On one hand, Human Being aspires to the control of Nature with magical arts, on the other he/she is fascinated and overwhelmed by Nature
Perhaps we have taken a step forward, no, better say a step backward and I wonder (and I ask you) “Why, the Sibillini and not the Dolomiti? Just an example” What are the criteria for my choosing a mountain or another? I mean, as a normal person, I am not a climber. I’m returning to subjectivity but based on reasoning and not on emotion only. The difference is therefore made by the human being and his/her relationship with nature. Let’s try to make a hard and simple evaluation: both mountain ranges have spectacular landscapes. The softer and more rounded Sibillini, the more impressive Dolomiti. Their differentiation is based, for me (subjective), in their colors.
Very bright colors (the red of the poppies seems redder) and the ocher in the Sibillini at the end of the summer (an American friend seeing a photo said “The Golden State”!). In the Dolomiti, in addition to the rock, many shades of green.
In addition to the landscapes, however, I expect something else. Now we are entering the field of what can be offered combining interaction between Human Being and Nature. In other words, what other services are available for me “tourist by chance” ? Please, let’s skip excellent food . In Italy you can never eat badly, you have to put a certain amount of effort into it … From my point of view (subjectivity, again …) it is the harmony between the urban fabric and the environment. In these two photos you can see two examples of what I like: the version of “a fairy tale” of human intervention on the landscape and Art that blends with nature as in Arte Sella.
In the end the difference between choosing one mountain or the other (or not choosing, as I do happily, jumping around from one side to the other) is made by human beings living in those places and what they have been able to build as a relationship with other human beings of those places (let’s call them “neighbors”) and with Nature. And above all the tale, the experience, the stories of that urban and natural fabric. I have described the mountains. I live in the plains but also here, land of water and fog, the relationship between man and nature has a story to tell. What is your story? And please don’t tell me anything about magic!