SURVIVING IN THE “INFERNO”: A LEGACY OF CALVINO
the present study aims to highlight two survival strategies in the “inferno of the living” that emerge from the analysis of Invisible Cities: lightness and gaze. the value of lightness is visible in the “thin cities”, which share a fragile architecture, the contrary reaction opposing the heaviness of living, the distance from the ground. “the hidden cities”, in turn, provide the motive for a reflection (a lecture) on gaze, with the aim of training the gaze to “recognize that which is not hell”: the happy city inside the unhappy city. In Invisible Cities, Calvino’s gaze still has an ethical and civic function (present in The Day of a Scrutineer). this function, however, will give way to the epistemic and scientific function of Mr. Palomar (from The Cosmicomics onwards), whose eye is exclusively concerned with measuring the limits of knowledge, which never extends, in a revealing way, from the natural world to the human world. thirty years after Calvino’s death, amongst the many legacies leftby his multifaceted literary work, we can recover the ethical and civic dimension expressed by the values of lightness and gaze.