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Pasolini, football, the shoemaker and puntarelle

13 Gennaio 2021
Pasolini, football, the shoemaker and puntarelle Foto: Alessandro Polinori Alessandro Polinori
Alessandro Polinori tells us through the memory of some friends of Pier Paolo and the Literary Park dedicated to him, original anecdotes, experienced firsthand.

translated by Annalisa Nicastro

Many people have dealt with Pier Paolo Pasolini's passion for football, through articles, television reports, even books. For this reason, when I was asked to offer a contribution on the topic, I preferred to avoid referring to what has already been said, rather trying to find, through the memory of some friends of Pier Paolo and the Literary Park dedicated to him, original anecdotes, experienced firsthand.

The first testimonies I collected come, by telephone, from Monteverde, the neighborhood where Pasolini lived from 1954 to 1963, where my friend and artist Silvio Parrello ("er pecetto") told me about Pasolini and football and where he met Pier Paolo just right on Donna Olimpia's soccer field.
Silvio tells that Pasolini was a great football fan, he played a lot. In the first role he never lost the opportunity to practice it, to the point of deciding, on one occasion, to return specifically from Russia to take part in a match in Anzio.
Football for him was a reason for happiness, but he never wanted to leave the field defeated, just as he was really bad when his favorite team, Bologna, lost a game.

Silvio tells me anecdotes related to the games played in his neighborhood, such as the necessary waiting for "Cippichino" (one of the few to have a ball in the area) when the school finished and again, on a particular day, while the players were being recruited for the game, when Pasolini went to call Santinelli at home. To his reply that he was busy doing his homework for school, Pasolini's reply was decided: “come and play, I'll do your homework afterwards”!

A football from other times, a life in the township, which allowed the birth of important friendships in many ways. During a match Pasolini hit the ball badly, kicking the ground and ruining one of the shoes he was wearing. To fix it he was advised to go to Sor Peppino, a local shoemaker. While waiting to see his shoe repaired, Pasolini and Sor Peppino began to talk. It was at that moment that Pasolini discovered that that shoemaker had spent a period of political confinement in Ventotene, in the company of Sandro Pertini. From that meeting a beautiful friendship was born between the two, between Pier Paolo and Sor Peppino, father of Silvio Parrello.

We virtually leave Monteverde to meet, this time in person, another dear friend, the artist Mario Rosati, author, among other things, of the monument and the literary garden dedicated to Pasolini and the heart of the Literary Park. I meet Mario in his beautiful and bright home / studio in the center of Ostia, full of wonderful works of art. I have been here many times, but each time it is a wonderful emotion.

Mario, like Silvio, had the opportunity to meet Pasolini when, still a "ragazzo di vita" he met him, among other things, on the occasion of various football matches at the "San Galli" sports field in Torpignattara, during which, Mario tells me, Pasolini showed good skills as a footballer in the role of winger.
Mario shows me some photos of the time, in black and white, some a little faded and describes the characteristics of the different players with precision. They are the guys with whom Pasolini had in common the passion for this extraordinary sport, sharing with them moments steeped in humanity.
Mario is preparing puntarelle for dinner. He shows me how he cleans them, even in this he is an artist, transforming them into what he calls daisies. Then he takes a bag and gives me two big handfuls to take home. A gesture that takes me back to past times. As sincere and spontaneous as those matches that Pier Paolo loved so much.

Cover photo courtesy of Mario Rosati. Pier Paolo Pasolini while playing football at the “San Galli” in Torpignattara

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