“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
Charles Dickens, A tale of two cities
Our tale goes beyond cities and pierces right through the heart of a land that, as the introduction of Umbria Nascosta states, already implies a high degree of mystery, unknown and correlations: from painted houses no one knows about to painted skies that seem higher up when seen from behind bars, from fights and lands of anarchy, art and higher principles to mummies and stuffed animals frozen in a forever puzzled exchange of glances. From here to there, and many more.
From a random lock pushing our launching event way past its time to a sequence of cables and extension cords connected in the pioneering search for electricity and of a proper way to get our words, written or spoken, revealed to the public (to whom we thank for the patience and altogether support) – it’s been all quite a ride, and the launching of Umbria nascosta, the latest venture into the publishing world by the Emergenze collective, seemed to mirror the on-field experiences that lead to this third crown jewel (coming just right in after the likes of Perugia Nascosta and Fuori dalle Righe). A genuine labour at the end of which stories are born, and told. Stories that you don’t get to read in newspapers, stories that you don’t get to see on TV or on social media, the stories that live well hidden just right under your nose, the ones that are not waiting to be told, but unfold quietly in their own essence. And Umbria is full of those, as this latest book clearly points out, with its sky blue cover reminiscing of, perhaps, the only thing that remains at large, in the open.
The writers were there, the photographers alike and with two special guest stars Carmeo Musumeci and Vincenzo Sparagna (proud president of The Republic of Frigolandia) the evening unfolded with readings, highlights and making ofs that could only add up to the magic enclosed in this book. The kind of magic you find in families not knowing they had a horror movie filmed in their own house. The kind of magic you find in closed doors, in repeated “NO”s, in both consistent institutional failure and open fields with statues and erratic storms, in churches perked on trees and characters leaning bare feet towards other worlds.
Umbria has it all well hidden and this book serves not as much as a spoiler but rather as an extended invitation into the pulsating life of an entire region that loves to play hide and seek with anyone curious enough to get into the game.