24.8.11

The Infinite

"Sempre caro mi fu quest'ermo colle, e questa siepe, che da tanta parte dell'ultimo orizzonte il guardo esclude..."
(Always to me beloved was this lonely hillside - And the hedgerow creeping over and always hiding the distances, the horizon's furthest reaches...)
Giacomo Leopardi, the author of this beautiful poem, was born in Recanati, a small town on a hilltop in Le Marche, the beautiful region of Italy in which I lived for some years. It was probably written around 1819. The hillside and the hedgerow still exist, though in not a very good state, and the poem is Leopardi's most famous. Imagine this guy, who was probably 21 years old at the time he wrote it, sitting in this hill, in front of a hedgerow in this little and peaceful village, with the sole sound of the wind, immagining the infinite world that was beyond the hedgerow and thinking about the infinity of time.

The Infinite hill in Recanati
Stylistically speaking, the importance of the poem regards Leopardi's vision of the Infinite; for other poets of his time and before him, the Infinite was more romantic and irrational but his view is different, pessimistic and rational, as if the infinite was only in his immagination.
For me, the poem is important and beautiful because that's how I think of Le Marche, I think that the Infinite hillside could be everywhere in this region and I relive Leopardi's sensations in all its beautiful little villages: peace and pleasure in immagining what's beyond.
I love this region, the landscapes, the food, the people, the relative secretness that it still has, while most tourists prefer the over-exploited Tuscany, Le Marche is every bit as good as Tuscany, and cheaper!
Here are some pictures of hills in the region, for me any of them could be the Infinite hill:

My favorite part of the poem is the ending:
"...Così tra questa immensità s'annega il pensier mio: e il naufragar m'è dolce in questo mare."
(And into this immensity my thought sinks ever drowning: and it is sweet to shipwreck in such a sea.)
Beautiful, right?

Fun Fact:
the region council created an advertisement for tourism purposes with different shots of the region's lanndscapes, as Dustin Hoffman reads this poem (in Italian). It wasn't very much appreciated around here, maybe because of his pronunciation (many would have preferred an Italian actor) but I think it's nice, check it out!