Alessandria and Syracuse. Two cities far apart geographically, but linked by a cultural thread that has distant roots, that of comic strips. Two cities that were the birthplaces of two illustrious contemporary intellectuals, Elio Vittorini and Umberto Eco, who were also linked by their love of balloons, considered by both to be an important artistic form.
Vittorini, in what was then the most important Italian magazine, “Il Politecnico“, gave ample space to comic strips, emphasising their value in terms of both style and content. Umberto Eco, for his part, repeatedly emphasised the value of comics as a literary genre belonging to the highest culture. His phrase “if I want to relax, I read an essay by Engels; if I want to engage, I read Corto Maltese” is particularly significant.
In the name of the history of comic strips, Alessandria and Syracuse now meet in a brand new project that brings the two cities together, making them the subject of a joint exhibition and special travel packages to take tourists from the north to the south of Italy on a totally new historical and cultural itinerary.
The project “Siracusa & Alessandria, l’Italia a fumetti” (Syracuse & Alessandria, Italy in comics), organised by Confcommercio Alessandria and Confcommercio Siracusa with the patronage and contribution of the Chamber of Commerce of Alessandria – Asti and the sponsorship of the Piedmont Region, the Municipality of Alessandria, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Alessandria, Alexala and with the partnership of Alecomics, aims the spotlight on the unexplored link between the two cities in the name of comics, and takes advantage of two important cultural moments (the Vittorini prize in Syracuse and Alecomics in Alessandria) to carry out a reciprocal promotion of the territory, incoming activities and the enhancement of typical food and wine products.
“We are particularly happy to take part in this project – says Roberto Cava, president of Alexala – for two main reasons: the first is because it allows us to highlight a cultural aspect that is often underestimated, namely the strong link between our territory and the world of comics, rightly considered – also by our illustrious fellow citizen Umberto Eco – a form of illustrated literature. The second reason is that this project is the demonstration of a strategy in which we strongly believe and on which we want to focus for the future, namely the ability to network, to join forces for a common goal. Finding a common thread that ideally and concretely links Alessandria and Syracuse shows that it is possible to create synergy even hundreds of kilometres away.