Tag Archives: sanremo

la pigna flora…

Amongst the steep, narrow and dark medieval streets of La Pigna, plant life is everywhere, from the inevitable reclamation of nature any time a space lies dormant for a while, to squatted gardens, to beautiful internal courtyards, to GIANT ancient trees at the top of the territory…

Hidden from the outside; courtyard gardens, beautiful hidden spaces, but like most of La Pigna, all is not as it seems, it’s surrounded by apartments, you hear a mentally handicapped adult crying periodically, you hear heavy rock music playing, you hear someone shouting at their neighbour to “shut the f**k up” …and then i guess everyone else can hear us in the garden…

So the inner courtyard (above) is wonderful for sure but my favourite thing round here is found outside on the public street as a solution to the lack of a private garden :

…these ladies have no garden so instead they created this impromptu vegetable plot on and in anything available against a wall in the street opposite their home, they yield tomatoes, courgettes, beans, every kind of Mediterranean herb…It is so beautiful… ladies i salute you!

These trees are at the top of La Pigna and must be the oldest things here, I am told it is a Ficus Benjamina (weeping fig) – if anyone knows better, please let me know…they also get a great view…

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la pigna mon amour…

the church top centre denotes the highest point of La Pigna…

So like i was saying, i was in Sanremo for a quick location scout. Why? Because the art residence i currently wor for, UNIDEE has been invited by the local residents association La Pigna Mon Amour for the 3rd year running to come and stay with them for a week and do some art/interventions/interactions regarding this problematic and compelling area. Here is a glimpse of our first 2 day stopover:

La Pigna by night

So La Pigna is the somewhat forgotten medieval centre of the glitzy seaside resort of Sanremo. Down in the modern quarter it’s all tacky seaside Italian style with beach umbrellas, fun fairs and one of only 4 casinos that exist in Italy. Here, the bourgeoisie and über kitsch live side by side. While only a few minutes away in a parallel universe up a hill we have La Pigna. It is achingly beautiful with narrow winding streets designed specifically to lose the invading hordes over the centuries. It is built on  steep inclined steps (no cars can fit there) with ancient medieval gates, the smell of urine, drug dealers, normal folks, a few yuppies…all going about their business…It has a bad reputation and the Sanremese population don’t tend to go there, they say its dangerous, dark, smelly..inconvenient. The big question is  what to do here for a week that engages, does not exclude, is not patronising, has some kind of resonance…it’s not easy…we will be back in August and i will keep you posted…

white lightning…

Been trying to photograph lightning for years and finally managed it. We have just spent a few days with the UNIDEE residents in the La Pigna quarter of Sanremo (Liguria). We will be spending a week here in August on a kind of of mini residency inside the 4 months at Biella…but i will explain about that in the next post…Back to the lightning…So i was lucky enough to have ace filmmaker/photographer Shah Zaman at hand, so he helped me with settings etc,  so the following photos are a collaboration between Shah and myself:

This one above is actually the last shot we took, the lightning having been very far off in the distance suddenly got much closer to us, lighting up all the surrounding water, so in the name of wanting to live till tomorrow…we legged it!