Trieste, the ‘Floating Island’ of Unsaid Histories, Explored in De Filippo’s Latest Work

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by InTrieste

In a reflective presentation at the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region’s Liaison Office in Bruxelles, Francesco De Filippo unveiled his latest literary endeavor, offering a poignant exploration of Trieste as an enigmatic “floating island.”

The Italian journalist and author painted Trieste, a city scarred by 20th-century conflicts and the tumultuous Eastern border disputes, as more than just a geographical entity. De Filippo’s book, titled “Trieste is an Island” and published by Castelvecchi, delves deep into the city’s psyche—a realm where the unspoken narratives of its past hover prominently.

Trieste, according to De Filippo, embodies an island of the mind, marked by a distinct dialect and traditions that serve as cultural linchpins amid a history shadowed by invasion fears. “Trieste is an island that floats on the unsaid but not forgotten,” he remarked during the presentation.

The event, held in conjunction with the exhibition “Triestine Art by Women in the 20th Century” at the Italian Cultural Institute in Brussels, underscored Trieste’s dual identity: tethered to its visceral past yet propelled towards a future adorned with entrepreneurial vigor and scientific prowess.

“I opted for a detective narrative style because it allows readers to uncover not just the book’s plot but also the essence of the city,” explained De Filippo. His narrative weaves through Trieste, Naples—his and his protagonist Vincenzo Tagliente’s birthplace—and the United States, tracing a narrative thread from the Padriciano refugee camp to the global diaspora shaped by historical upheavals.

Accompanied by intellectuals and artists from Italy, Belgium, and France, the presentation resonated with themes of resilience and cultural identity, particularly poignant given Trieste’s post-war trials, including the exodus of 350,000 Istrian people and the tragic foibe events.

De Filippo’s work, enriched by Neapolitan nuances of drama interspersed with humor, resonated deeply with attendees, including Enrico Tibuzzi of ANSA and Italo Rubino, representing the Brussels Circle of the Association of Juliani in the World.

Francesco De Filippo, born in Naples in 1960, brings a seasoned perspective as a former Il Sole 24 Ore foreign correspondent and current ANSA Agency head for Friuli Venezia Giulia. His literary oeuvre spans over twenty books, celebrated across Europe for their profound narratives and cultural insights.

The exhibition, supported by the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia and Foemina APS Association of Trieste, underscores Trieste’s rich cultural tapestry, encapsulated in the collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute in Brussels and endorsed by the Municipality of Trieste and media partner Il Piccolo.

As Trieste continues to unveil its layered past and vibrant future, De Filippo’s “floating island” narrative emerges as a compelling testament to the enduring spirit of a city shaped by history yet poised for new horizons.

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