The defeat still burns with Genoa, seven centuries later. Maybe it’s time to come to terms with … I’m not rooting athlete nor traditions are often a little ‘fake driven by tourism, to draw the very soul of a city.
In the case of Pisa, his "Pisan". In a few cities, as in this, the story, and then the remote past, have left their mark so marked and conditioning. Pisa has too much memory – the Etruscan origin, the size of its navy – to forget. That’s why even today the Meloria is not only the name of a battle ended in defeat, one of many that the man fought on land and sea, but it represents the death of a city-state, the humiliation of its citizens. With Meloria (1284) Pisa has lost her pride, dreams, royalty, and never will forget the lost power. The city-state has bowed his head, perhaps forever, and never forget. Pisa, which was (Rudolf Borchardt) "an empire of sails", is a city forever and ever defeated, humiliated, disappointed. Pisa, or wounded pride. Not only was Meloria to dig the great groove that casts its shadow down to us. To 12 000 dead of the battle that wiped out the soul of the great city-states, were joined by 6 thousand prisoners brought in chains to the prison of the Genovese Module which caused a demographic crisis that seemed irreparable. "This situation – says the historian Emilio Tolain – led to a sharp increase in immigrants from the country that allowed to reconstruct in some way the network traffic." But the return to a seminormalit√† was not true glory: a century later when, in fact, Pisa and Florence will buy its port.
If it is true that each city has its own soul which is the result of the souls of those who have always lived, many agree that Pisa is still a sullen daughter of the most stinging defeat. Grumpy, then, and superb: so Borchardt judged in the last century, remains timely and judgments. For these reasons, and inventiveness nell’effervescente Tuscany, blasphemous in Tuscany, Pisa is located in characters different from any other tower. The "Pisa", even today, because it means diffidence diffidence is the daughter of wounded pride. Not by chance, Curzio Malaparte, in drawing his Cursed Tuscans, Gliss entirely of Pisa. Confess: "I do not understand them, these Pisan. They have a shifty character, insincere. It seems that something should be forgiven. But what? ". The answer would be the same today: to be forgiven for having lost. Yet Malaparte adored Pisa, its nightlife but also silences the voices of students, the extraordinary beauty of marble and the Arno flowing to the sea. Although preferred that river and the ice storms of winter because the "turf" it meant the entry into the EEC Arno. And for a dish of Cee consumed in Piazza Garibaldi, in the tavern Nile Montanari, Malaparte would have given the soul. (Do not know what are the EEC? We can not explain it: come to Pisa and you’ll understand). And with the landlord, friend, Malaparte confided: "You are a strange breed, but cooked well."
Dante saw to his time and with some effectiveness to denounce the horrible guilt of Pisa. After Meloria, Count Ugolino della Gherardesca held responsible for incompetence or betrayal of that defeat, he was confined until it died of hunger, with their children and grandchildren in the historic square tower of the Seven Roads (now the Knights of St. Stephen). The Dante’s invective is strong, but if the poet had known the result would have written worse things. The bones of Count Ugolino, in fact, were then buried in the river along the river side of Tramontana and that land remained forever cursed. Those who now runs his visit Pisa and Arno River, will find that the long line of buildings is broken, just before the church of the Holy Sepulchre, a garden, the only one facing the river Arno. But there is a garden, and is not a cemetery is cursed land. Why not forget Pisa. Even now that the bones of the count found peace – hopefully – in the convent of St. Francis, on that land will never be allowed to build anything.
No, Pisa, a city can not be considered "normal", as well understood Malaparte. Says Professor Silvano Burgalassi, sociologist and lover of the soul than Pisa "Pisa lives of the past and fails to express the values ​​of art, spirituality, intelligence of which carries well. It is a kind of brake, almost a curse of which we know free us. Today we could not do the Piazza del Duomo or embankments because it would lack the ability of inspiration were the first of the Pisan Meloria, when they ruled the seas and saw their mission in this divine something which should be duly celebrated. Since then, the soul is suffering from wounded pride of Pisa and is not capable of expressing a depth of thought that is in tune with their times. "
Yet today, Pisa would have so much to brag about. It has all the requirements to be a happy city, a mild climate, the sea ten miles away, the seven hills, mountains for skiing less than an hour, has a central position, an international airport, a port (the "port of Pisa", which some call Livorno) at 20 kilometers, has three prestigious universities and a national of the larger nuclei of the CNR, finally museums and monuments around the world envies us. But it is a happy city.
How should pass because Pisa recover its serenity, forget their defeat and lost his empire, because the "Pisa" is finally to become a positive feeling? Nobody knows. But no such folklore to heal the wounded pride. The Pisan have in contemporary folklore that simulates a false shadow, once a year, the glory of a maritime republic that no longer exists. Indeed, consider the race a little ‘blasphemous, a comparison of muscular athletes who do not have the right to evoke the splendor of an era.
Still the "Pisa" sick, this grumpy mood, this malaise of this, visitors often escapes. If Malaparte was wary of Pisa and Pisa, other visitors found instead a great serenity in the silence of the city, in its pathos.
Elizabeth Barrett wrote: "Pisa, here is a small, charming city of silence. Sleepy streets where the grass grows between the stones, where groups of boys frolic in solitude. " View from the other, Pisa can really look like, soft and quiet rather than haughty and sullen. And then, tormented souls, Pisa can be ideal, if not hurt his pride shines through, that remains intact fragrant golden oasis that reigns in the streets and squares, so much so that Shelley could find the inspiration for the comporvi ‘ In the elegy, death of Keats and Leopardi write in an April night, the scent of wisteria, the poem Jabberwocky.

Renzo Castelli, journalist and writer

This post is also available in: Italian French German Spanish Dutch Chinese (Simplified)