Il gatto, ubiquo in Italia, dal paesino remoto alla periferia industriale, rimanda sempre se non a una ‘gattara’ o a una vecchina, almeno a una signora un po’ eccentrica che si prende cura di lui. E la signora la si immagina sempre custode di tradizioni, ricette segrete, canzoni, storie. Per questo in Italia, se segui il Felis Loci, lì troverai anche il Genius
Can you think of Italy without picturing a cat in front of a brick wall or sitting on top of a Roman ruin? Italian cats are among the most exported symbols of ‘Italianity’ into the world; you can find them everywhere, from the little abandoned hilltop villages to the bigger cities. Why is that so? Why are Italian cats so good at popping up, assuming sculptural attitudes while looking most indifferent, as soon as the unaware tourist is ready to take a photograph? A longtime secret. However, I believe that Italian cats are universally loved because where there is a cat, there is a woman living nearby who takes care of it, probably an old lady. And if there is an old lady, there certainly is a whole magic world made of tales, people, secret recipes, songs, smiles, children, tradition, history and beauty all around. An Italian cat does ‘ordinary things’ (like licking its fur or following a fly’s dance with its eyes) in ‘extraordinary settings’. As Erica Jong once wrote: “the joy of Italy often consists of doing ordinary things in extraordinary settings” and Italian cats are definitely aware of this undisputed truth. Where do we find a Genius Loci in Italy? Easy. Follow a cat and you’ll find the ‘spirit of the place’. Once the felis is found, the genius can’t be too far away.