A summer in Lerici.

Jun 4, 2021

The Italian Riviera is a conceptual space, that is both exemplary and tangible. It is a ray of light on the water, a Maritime pine on the shore, a bag casually placed on the rocks. It is imagination, nostalgia, magic. “The discreet evening light illuminates greenery and pathways. Using the same materials, both inside and outside the construction, maintained in their natural state, determines the play of colors (from Abitare, June 1975)
The Ligurian coastline is where Italy starts and ends. The Liguria coastline is the rockiest and most rugged in Italy. Despite its limited span, this coastline is dense and unique, and its lines along the shores are well-delineated, sharp and straight. There you can find a multitude of hidden coves, leafy trees, secret marinas and small spots full of lush greenery that dot blue skies above.

 

«Riviere,

bastano pochi stocchi d’erbaspada

penduli da un ciglione

sul delirio del mare»

The perfect depiction of the Ligurian Riviera is given by  native born Eugenio Montale, with his precise sensation of revisiting places of our childhood and our youth.

«Oggi torno

a voi più forte, o è inganno, ben che il cuore

par sciogliersi in ricordi lieti – e atroci».

Only a few things were needed when we used to go to the seaside as youngsters. Bare essentials. A bathing suit which was laid out to dry in the sun. A light-weight beach towel. A book. A bag to hold everything. Our house was up at the top. It sat watching, guarding, waiting.  We would go back to the house bringing with us the memories of the day spent at the beach. And each day we made new memories, that we would leave behind, there at the seaside.

The bustling Riviera di Levante is filled with a buzz of chatter, fun comings and goings of boats and trading vessels. There is always something new and spectacular to take in.” This was the accurate geographic and sociologic description given by French historian Jules Michelet, and nothing has changed since then. The sound of lively chatter of locals and crickets, and there’s always a ship on the horizon, cutting across the sea.

It’s hot, I am heading home.

To rest.

Where?

On a deckchair?

Or shall I retreat to my room to rest?

The second option.

I pull the shutters over to shut out some of the light.

The white deckchair remains outside, with its ghosts from summers past.

Only a single ray of light is able to penetrate the room.

Even the ray is white and sharp.

I close my eyes, and I can hear summer as it sings outside my door, far away.

There are no noises in the house.

Everyone is taking a siesta and this makes the house silent.

The sea is just beyond the shutters.

It is waiting for me.

«It is very difficult to design a large house that is set in an unspoiled natural setting, without affecting the natural balance of the place; […] In this location the decisive features of an independent architecture have happily and successfully achieved the desired goal through skillful design, attention to materials utilized, and balance of architectural elements, all of which respond perfectly to the surrounding natural environment. The house, that overlooks a beautiful bay in Lerici, is built on a steep slope amid dense vegetation (from Abitare, June 1975)
Summer is a trama. Of encounters. Of stories. Of summer love. Of friends you meet every year, at the same spot where earth meets sky. Of bodies in the sun. Of people who arrive with their baggage filled with promises and possibilities. And then leave. To return once again.

 

Text by Mattia Carzaniga