12 November, 2019
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Title: Perugia Undergroud, stories of sex, women and power in Perugia, during the Twentieth Century

 

Author: Andrea Maori

 

Publisher: Francesco Tozzuolo Editore

 

Year of Printing: 2018

Features: 108 pages, photos cm 21 x 15, paperback illustrated black and white

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In his latest book, Andrea Maori – archivist and researcher from Perugia – leads us to discover three stories, in which women are the main characters. Three events that go through the last century and which, thanks to an accurate documentation and specific researches, bear witness to the condition of subordination of women and of their denied individual freedom.

The first story, Bell’Epoque in Perugia: “Illicit relationships” in the women’s prison house is set in 1909, in Perugia, inside the reformatory and the women’s prison of the city, in which at that time, happened violence and abuses on prisoners. These violences came to light thanks to two brave women, Zita Centa Tartarini and Maria Rygier, who brought the issue to the attention of the public.

In the second one: At the margins of history: Cecilia Aurora and Agostina between prostitution and anti-fascism the author Andrea Maori followed their lives of marginalization through few traces found in the archives. Two women, Cecilia Aurora Tavernelli from Città di Castello and Agostina Tortaioli from Perugia, recorded as anti-fascist prostitutes forced to move from one city to another until we lose their traces. From that point on, it is possible to find their faint presence only through police files.

In the third one: Public morality from the approval of the Merlin Law to the seventies. The case of Perugia the author analyzes with punctual numbers and data, the phenomenon of prostitution before and after the the Merlin law, which would have given dignity to women and avoided exploitation situations. In addition, Maori examines the constitution of the female police whose purpose was to safeguard public morality and to monitor the press by repressing that which was considered immoral.

«The book brings to light three local stories that inevitably are linked to the national italian context of that time. In every one of them, the central topic is the subalternity among social classes and, above all, the male domination on the female sexuality», as professor Paolo Bartoli underlines in the preface.

Remarkable is the striking image on the cover, which reproduces the work that the Spanish artist Daniel Munoz created in 2012 on the outer wall of the former Perugia women’s prison. The mural (acrylic on cement) entitled Abandoned Women of the Perugia Prison was destroyed in 2017 during the restoration works of the building. «The idea of ​​the mural» explains the artist «was to create a symbolic representation of the submission of women through history. I chose this topic because the building was the prison of women».

 

TITLE: Love at the time of design

 

AUTHOR: Stelio Zaganelli

 

PUBLISHER: Bertonieditore

 

YEAR: 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you remove a diamond from a perfect building, everything seems to crumble …

On the cover stands out this perfect diamond and, while I was reading, I wondered what was the reason why a diamond is on the cover of a book, mostly set in Perugia. Then, continuing to read, everything appeared perfectly clear to me. Not only because the action moves to Ferrara and it is mentioned the legend linked to “Palazzo dei Diamanti”, but because the diamond also represents the precious uniqueness of each member of a group. Inside this group, if an element is removed, it produces a terrible explosion that inevitably leads to the fall down of the unit. From that moment on, everyone alone, has to choose his own path to become an adult.

The stories of Santo, Babila, Elettra, Mirro and Sandrino, if on one hand bring us to think of what it is the most fascinating film about adolescence – Stand by me: memories of a summer, from the famous novel of Stephen King – on the other hand, they make us enjoy the memories of a Perugia where life was marked by different rhythms. The city center was not only for tourists, but it was a lively place, the beating heart of the city. A downtown perhaps more run – down than today, but full of real life.

Love at the time of design is a charming book that tells not only a love story, the story between Santo and Babila, which, as a common thread, accompanies us from the very first page to the last one. At the same time it takes us back to a difficult period of the Italian history. These events make everything very real, without weighing down a story that is so captivating, thanks to the capacity of the author to influence the events that disturb him, through the force of his mind.

 

Stelio Zaganelli

 

Like every book, this one too is partly autobiographical, in fact Stelio Zaganelli remembers all the cities dear to him: Perugia where he has always lived, Ferrara where he was born, Florence where he obtained his degree as an architect and Milan which he often visited both for work and for pleasure. When he talks about the escalators and the restaurants of the city center of Perugia, it is inevitable of thinking of a tribute to his grandfather, of whom, Stelio brings the name. He was mayor of Perugia from 1977 to 1980.

Certainly also in the characters, so alive and authentic, there probably be the memories of people met by the author. The fact of choosening special names – which appear a little curious, in the vivid narrative of a time that seems so distant to many of us – helps to hide real identifications and to remain in the field of pure fantasy.

Of course, at the end of the reading, an entire generation of inhabitants of Perugia will carefully put this book on a shelf, but it surely remain in their heart and mind, because of the personal history, recognized in it.