For over twenty years, the Casa Moretti in Cesenatico has played a competent and innovative role in promoting culture in a provincial setting. In his will Marino Moretti laid the foundations for a site which would maintain the fabric of relationships and opportunities which constitute the base of literary and cultural work, while still allowing room for change over time: in fact he bequeathed a house, where books and papers could be preserved and where people who read and write could continue to meet. The Institute takes its inspiration from Moretti’s curiosity about literature and people and from his passion for the multiplicity of voices and places of the 20th century: indeed the Institute is involved in promoting cultural initiatives, professional development courses, exhibitions and conferences as well as in providing support and assistance to students and scholars. It is guided by the will to defend and promote what really counts, that which books still represent: love for and awareness of the profound character of our existence, the dignity of individual and collective histories, curiosity and study–in a word, culture.
The House, the Archive and the Museum
In his 1978 will, Marino Moretti left his books, papers and manuscripts to the Cesenatico Public Library. His sister Ines, in conformity with his wishes, donated the house on the canal to the city of Cesenatico so that the writer’s library and archive could be preserved in its original place and so as to foster “study, teaching and learning.”
Thus Casa Moretti has become the site of an important center for the study of twentieth-century literature. In addition to the preservation, care and enhancement of its heritage, the Institute promotes cultural activities and research.
As its furnishings have been carefully preserved, Casa Moretti is also a “house museum” which welcomes visitors who are interested in learning about the humanity and literary production of Mario Moretti.
The Activities of the Institute
Over the years Casa Moretti has fostered intensive research and study of twentieth-century literature and promoted meetings, conferences, publications and other initiatives geared especially toward professors and researchers. For those wishing to learn about the life and literary production of this writer from Cesenatico, Casa Moretti provides guided tours, events and tools for detailed study, seminar meetings and presentations of poetry and critical works. In particular the Institute aims to make contact with schools: guided tours are offered for students in compulsory schooling, while educational materials are provided for teachers. Each year Casa Moretti also offers a professional development course on twentieth-century Italian literature for middle school teachers.
Casa Moretti forms part of the Group of “Historic House Museums of Poets and Writers from Romagna”, which organizes initiatives for the enhancement of this important cultural heritage in the region. Website: http://www.casemuseoromagna.it/
Facebook Page: Case museo poeti e scrittori di Romagna
Guided Tours of the House
Casa Moretti provides school students, groups and individuals with the opportunity of taking a guided tour. The museum offers an educational tour that introduces visitors to Cesenatico’s great poet by means of a walk through the various rooms of the house.
Admission is free. In the months of July and August, in conjunction with the summer exhibition, guided tours are given every day with a wide selection of times which continue into the evening.
The museum contains a small bookstore which sells all the publications edited by the Institute, including a guide of the museum, exhibition catalogues, postcards and other information materials. Educational materials for schools are also available at no charge.
Casa Moretti for Education and Research
Casa Moretti guarantees access for consultation purposes to the archive and library of Marino Moretti as well as to other book and document collections. It further promotes the enhancement of its literary heritage by providing assistance to professors, university students and researchers.
The consultation service is available by appointment (tel. 0547-79279 – fax 0547-79121 – email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Marino Moretti: Portrait of a Writer “with a Pencil”
One writer stands out in Italian literature for having refused to finish his studies while going on to write pages of the most refined prose. He emphatically affirmed that “I have nothing to say,” while producing over seventy books in more than seventy years of ceaseless public activity.
He also said that his poetry was not strictly such but rather prose-poetry, in spite of his having an acute sense for rhyme and perfect prosody and the ability to capture in verse totally unrelated themes or ones that until then had been considered completely foreign to the poet’s craft. He wrote “with a pencil”, meaning that what he wrote could be erased, yet his work has made an indelible impression on generations of readers.
He was labelled a writer of the “twilight” (“Crepuscolare“) yet the brightness of some of his images could be blinding; and his “poetry of things” never lost sight of the profound and hidden sense of those objects of his verse.
When he was just over thirty he further declared that he would never write poetry, only to contradict himself most glaringly, having, by his early 80’s, published four collections in Mondadori’s “Specchio” series. So in the end irony kept pace with melancholy.
It was said that he kept his distance from religion, yet he always showed benevolence and mercy. And the goodness of heart which at times unexpectedly showed through in the man and his creations was in reality a demon which would bite both him and his characters, who were always eager to point out the “many claws hidden under the softness of his fur.”
Reticence and privacy were attributes that didn’t fit well with the number of friendships, not only literary, which he made over a lifetime of nearly a century. He was never attached to a woman, yet was able to sketch the feminine soul to perfection.
His name was Marino, yet he never braved the waves, preferring rather to admire the moored boats in the Porto Canale from the windows of his home. He sometimes liked to be called Pazzo Pazzi, yet he never experienced the shock of madness. And in his garden his male turtle haughtily bore the name of Cunegonda…
Moretti decided to conspicuously embrace the motif of “the double”, never choosing between intimate and realistic, humble and pretentious, provincial and European avant la lettre. To his mind, whether his characters were rich or poor, strong or weak, beautiful or ugly, adults or children, feminine or masculine was a means of understanding the complexity, and, in the last resort, the simplicity, of existence.
Thus for Moretti the “acceptance of ambiguity,” or better, the total “freedom of ambiguity,” became the formal and linguistic cipher for an extraordinary and essential chapter of twentieth-century Italian literary culture.
Moretti: His Life and Works
Mario Moretti was born in Cesenatico on July 18, 1885. His family history is narrated in Il romanzo della mamma (“The Novel of Mother,” 1924). He began his studies in the classics at Ravenna and continued in Bologna, but interrupted them in 1901 to attend the acting school directed by Luigi Rasi in Florence. Here he met among others Aldo Palazzeschi, who would become his close friend: the story of those years is told in Via Laura (1931). Soon he left the school in Florence as well to devote himself completely to literature. He published his first collections of novellas and poems between 1902 and 1903 and the poems collected in Fraternità in 1905. These first volumes and especially Poesie scritte col lapis (“Poems Written with a Pencil,” 1910), Poesie di tutti i giorni (“Everyday Poems,” 1911) and Il giardino dei frutti (“The Garden of Fruits,” 1915) reveal the influence of Pascoli as well as that “twilight” character, in Borgese’s estimation, which will resurface in his works of prose.
From his first collection of short stories, I lestofanti (“The Swindlers,” 1909), to his novels–of which the best known are La voce di Dio (“The Voice of God,” 1920), I puri di cuore (“Pure of Heart,” 1923), Il trono dei poveri (“The Throne of the Poor,” 1928), L’Andreana (“Andreana”, 1938), La vedova Fioravanti (“The Widow Fioravanti,” 1941), Il fiocco verde (“The Green Bow,” 1948)–Moretti narrates everyday events set in a provincial world inhabited by characters who lack vitality and hope. His tone is resigned, interspersed by flashes of personal humor. In addition the author contributed to several newspapers and magazines, including “La Riviera Ligure”, where he befriended the Novara brothers; in 1914 he edited “La Grande Illustrazione” of Pescara. In 1916 the “Giornale d’Italia” published his first novel, Il sole del sabato (“Saturday Sun”), in installments. In 1923 he was engaged by “Il Corriere della Sera.”
Following the phases of the “twilight” poet and the post-naturalistic narrator, Moretti reached the height of his career, adopting the new and fresh language of irony of I grilli di Pazzo Pazzi (“Hard Times for Pazzo Pazzi,” 1951), followed by La camera degli sposi (“The Couple’s Bedroom,” 1958).
In 1952 he was awarded the “Premio dell’Accademia dei Lincei” for literature and in 1955 the “Premio Napoli,” while the first volume of his collected works (Tutte le novelle), published by Mondadori in the series “I Classici Contemporanei Italiani,” won the “Premio Viareggio.”
The final phase of his career saw his felicitous return to poetry with the publication by Mondadori of the collections L’ultima estate (“The Last Summer,” 1969), Tre anni e un giorno (“Three Years and a Day,” 1971), Le poverazze (“The Mollusks,” 1973) and Diario senza le date (“Journal without Dates,” 1974).
He died in Cesenatico on July 6, 1979.
Winter opening hours :
Saturday, Sunday and Holidays from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Summer opening hours :
July and August, open every day, from 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.