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An event to mark the 100th anniversary from the entrance of Italy in World War I

Paolo Rumiz presents his latest book, in conversation with Andrea Mammone

Paolo Rumiz’s Come cavalli che dormono in piedi (Feltrinelli) begins in a vision. On one Fall day in August 2013, the book’s narrator witnesses an apparition: a passing regiment of Uhlan lancers. The soldiers’ horses are little more than skin and bones and seem to have stepped out of some distant age. This mirage provides the impulse for an exercise in memory that returns the reader to events of a century earlier. In one sense, then, this book is a travelogue and in another, it is a memoir – a return to forgotten sites and scenes of the First World War and, above all, a rediscovery of events that have officially been allowed to sink into historical oblivion.This long-buried aspect of the story of the people of Trieste is the book’s true centrepiece. Like many others from in and around the Alto Adige and Trento regions, Rumiz’s grandfathers fought in the “Great War”, but they wore the wrong uniform: the battledress of the Austrian Empire. After 1918, this historical reality was quickly suppressed. No one was to know that Austrian subjects – theoretically Italian at their core and with a deep yearning to be Italian – had actually fought on the enemy side, pledging their loyalty to a flag that was not the Italian tricolore. In Trieste, the code of silence that surrounds this history has been even more rigorously enforced than in other parts of Italy’s northeast. There, in fact, with the Iron Curtain only a few kilometres away, it has been impossible for decades to raise the slightest doubt about the authenticity of the city’s Italian identity.Come cavalli che dormono in piedi describes this repressed history and breaks the silence regarding events that have been kept secret for too long.    (Extract from )Paolo Rumiz is an Italian journalist and writer. Reporter for Il Piccolo di Trieste and columnist for La Repubblica, covering the events of the Balkans during the ‘90s.  He has published extensively with Feltrinelli, including La cotogna di Istanbul (2010) and Maschere per un massacro. Quello  che non abbiamo volute sapere della guerra in Jugoslavia (2011)Andrea Mammone is a historian of modern Europe at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has published extensively on European history, politics, and society, including the forthcoming Transnational Neofascism in France and Italy. He is currently writing a book on recent Europe and one (in Italian) on the region of Calabria. He also contributes to the media, and has written for the International Herald Tribune, The Independent, Foreign Affairs, The Guardian, The New York Times, Reuters, Al Jazeera America, and the New Statesman.


Data: Gio 3 Dic 2015