The Heroine’s Journey of Federica Maria Giallombardo

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

I never stop learning about and seeing Beautiful Things. To be a philologist and an art critic makes me able to see and touch manuscripts, memorabilia and other collectibles. I always fall in love of their stories and their aesthetics. Everything has a mysterious meaning; sometimes is more exciting the research of a secret than the final result itself. I love writing and studying about Literature and figurative Art. The most exciting moment is when I make an inspection and so I see my future “obsession” for the first time. Until the mystery of the object is revealed and solved, It becomes my main passion. After, as in all the best love stories, It remains an indissoluble bond of affection.

 What is my idea of perfect happiness?

The perfect happiness is a trip to the beach in Sicily; or playing snowballs in Switzerland; or collect flowers in my garden with my mum. In each of these moments, It’s essential to read a poem – or to write it.

 What is my greatest fear? 

The mediocrity.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

Physically, my fragility. Intellectually, my stubborness.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?

There are too many people that I admire in my profession; If I have to make a selection, I think I have to mention first of all Donato Pirovano, ‘cause in my opinion he’s the most sensitive and competent italian philologist; then Carla Forno, for her competence and for the opportunity that She gave me to study Vittorio Alfieri’s manuscripts. I also admire Paola Gribaudo, Fulvio Ferrari, Leonardo Merlini and Carla Stroppa for their creativity, culture and energy.

What is my greatest extravagance?

If I had to list here all my oddities, would not be enough ten more interviews like this. For instance, I collect brooches. I have hundreds of different shape and origin brooches and for me they’re as if they were my children. I have the obsession with flowers, too; I spend hours to choose the right flowers to bring to the cemetery (and there, sometimes I listen classical music).  

On what occasion would I lie?

I generally try not to lie; if I had to, I probably would not be too ruthless with those who are fragile and does not accept criticism too blunt. We must cultivate kindness – even a lie.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

The bureaucracy, just because It “cools” the research moment.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? 

My best moments are during a visit to a church; or in the library in front of an ancient manuscript; or during the preview of an art exhibition.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

I would like to be more patient and less strict with myself. There is no more severe judge than me, in judging me.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

The discovery of unpublished manuscripts of Vittorio Alfieri. It was an hard research to do the best critical edition I could write; but It was worth It. Alfieri is the most importan thespian in Italian Modern Literature; He’s always been one of my favourite authors ever. I was immediately in love with him; It was an honour for me to have read his handwriting, known his secrets and published them with my literary comment. It was a touching experience that has improved me as a scholar and as a person (I learned the value of sacrifice). Thanks to the publication, I had the honor to participate as a speaker at several conferences; the most important was The High School Education Cattedra Alfieri, during which the Alfieri Study Center (based in Asti) inscribes me as the youngest Alfieri expert.

Where would I most like to live?

I love Italy and I think It’s my perfect Country, but I love traveling too. I like Budapest, Bruxelles, London, Berlin and Barcelona; but I adore Wien.

What is my most treasured possession?

Brooches, materially. My passion for Beauty, spiritually.

What is my most marked characteristic?

I think It’s my style of writing. You either love It or hate It: It’s baroque, rich and sentimental. Sometimes It’s tremendously hard sometimes; often thunderous of sweetness; always accurate.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? 

Turin is all wonderful and It’s hard for me to choose a location in particular. However, when I want to think and write, I always go into an old bar overlooking Vittorio Veneto Square (Caffè Elena). There, many poets and writers composed their creations (first of all Cesare Pavese) cause of its particular atmosphere; I like to believe It’s been there a bit of their energy.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?

I often change my idea about restaurants and cafes; I’m too finicky to choose one place absolutely “perfect to me”. I like Caffè Elena, of course; certainly Kensho and Wasabi for sushi and Locanda Leggera for lunch break.

What books influenced my life and how?

During a bad period of my life, last year I found my “book of salvation”: Epistulae morales ad Lucilium by philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca. I have to thank this book, ‘cause I could try to understand the real meaning of “time” and “future”. There are too many books that inspire my life. Where I was a child, Elective Affinities by Goethe taught me how difficult are love affairs and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley made me realize that there is great dignity in strangeness and peculiarity (although they’re monstruous).

Who are my favorite writers?

I prefer poems to novels: my favourite poets are Cavalcanti, Petrarca, Tasso, Clemente Rebora, Vittorio Alfieri, Salvatore Quasimodo, D’Annunzio, Lautréamont, Pessoa, Borges, Giosuè Carducci, Byron, Keats, Giorgio Caproni.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

Obviously, Brahms, Symphony No 4 in E monor, Op. 98.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

Two heroes in fiction: Antigone according to my heart; Childe Harold according to my mind.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

I will be trite: my father, dead preserving right values.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?

There Will Be Blood by Paul Thomas Anderson (2007).

What role plays art in my life and work?

Art is everything. Without Art, my life is empty and hopeless. Nothing to add.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? 

I think They’re Artribune and Outsiders, the magazines for which I review art exhibitions and related events. Without them, I would not have the visibility needed to share my opinion.

Whom would I like to work with in 2017?

I’ve always been interested in curating contemporary art exhibitions, so I would like to work with art galleries (maybe in Italy, maybe in Europe).

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2017?

Too many people to list! People especially from foreign countries, ‘cause I could look at things from a different point of view.

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on? 

New essays and a new virtual project. I do not add more for luck!

Where can you see me or my work in 2017?

On Artribune, Outsiders, Academia.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

It means that I can continue doing and feeling things that improve and elevate me as a person.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

Peter already knows – better than me – how to select heroines around the world. His project is fantastic and allows lots of women to have “fifteen minutes of fame” and feel self-confident.

How can you contact me?

Gmail: federicamariagiallo@gmail.com

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