3 Pages

Going south

WithJoseph Rykwert

In this chapter the author recollects the memories of his early life. The author remembers his journey down the Tyrrhenian coast and through Tuscany, hitchhiking with an occasional train ride treat, followed the overfamiliar grand tour to Rome. But he had a non-architectural introduction to present in Rome to someone whom he rightly considered the eminence grise of Italian publishing, Roberto Bazlen, generally known as Bobby. He called on him in his dark and overcrowded rooms in Via Margutta, then a shabby artists' ghetto off the Piazza di Spagna. A tall, stooping Triestino intellectual of the same group as Rogers, he was a familiar of Umberto Saba and Eugenio Montale, and was indeed advising several publishing houses, notably Einaudi, which was then the leading Italian publisher of 'advanced' literature. Yet, other Milanese friends guided him to Giulio Carlo Argan, and then still a seemingly prosy and grey-suited civil servant at the Ministry of Education, but urbane and gracious with it.