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The novel of the world


André Gide once declared that only in Italy has history expressed itself uninterruptedly and exhaustively over the course of the millennia. The Italian territory is unique in bearing the traces - stratified but consistently recognisable - of all the different forms that so-called ‘Western civilisation’ has adopted over time. This is not the case with other populations and countries, which are the protagonists of long, exciting chapters, but never of the whole novel.


Italy represents the novel of the world, and this is all the truer in the Terre dei Savoia. Prehistory, the Roman Empire, the Saracen invasions, the feudal Middle Ages, the French revolution, Napoleon, Italian Unity and the fight for liberation from Nazi-fascism. Need we go on? Mindful of the lesson imparted to us by the nouvelle histoire, we know that history isn’t only made up of decrees, war campaigns and major deeds, but also of gestures, words, customs, and daily emotions. How did people used to live in the Royal Palace of Racconigi when all electricity could charge was, at the very most, the dreams of the prophets and the large wooden lift (yes, a lift…) reserved for members of the royal family was operated by the rippling muscles of the servants? How can we describe the traditions, superstitions, secret loves, and customs of agricultural and peasant life that still live on today in this region, which always hide at least one false bottom? Find it, lift it up, take a look inside. It’s well worth it.

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