APT Basilicata

APT Basilicata

Basilicata turistica

La Vista Luigi

La Vista was a distinguished young man who was very fond of culture, philosophy, and art. De Sanctis, who held him as one of his dearest disciples, saw the spark of the genius in him, and the prospective innovator of southern, or maybe Italian, culture. He was born in Venosa on January 31, 1826. Like any other young man coming from the southern provinces, after the seminary, which he considered as a prison, he moved to Naples (1844) to lay the foundations of his future. There he was to live in “the most absolute freedom.” De Sanctis’ teachings had introduced him into civic and patriotic values, and La Vista joined his master and his fellows against Ferdinand II when the latter cancelled the Constitution on May 1848. La Vista was taken prisoner and shot by Swiss janissaries on May 15. His father, Doctor Nicola La Vista, who had rushed to Naples to fight side by side with his son, attended the execution.

La Vista was afflicted by a spiritual malaise, he was suffering from love and infinity, in the mystical-philosophical sense. His favourite authors were Plato and Goethe, Lamartine and Byron, and most of all Pascal and Vauvenargues. He once wrote: “I know an author that, by eloquently revealing the beauty of man, portrays his greatness with sublime melancholy. This author is Pascal; very close to him is Vauvenargues.”

Along this way of recollection and meditation he was to meet Leopardi: “Leopardi is a prayer book, my book, the unhappy people’s bible.” He shared with Leopardi that feeling of expectation and longing for a different world and an impossible happiness. La Vista felt the need to loose himself in the infinity, to capture its breath and reason, in addition to a strong and distressing feeling of incompleteness and mystery: “I feel obscure, but I wasn’t born to live in darkness,” he wrote in his diary. He nearly had a foreboding of his untimely death, which would have deprived him of the possibility to go all the way along his path: “My malaise has caused the death of many young men, vanished before revealing themselves.”

He was a romantic figure, then, whose intensity and delicacy were unknown to southern Romanticism, which was rather close to Gioberti’s Catholicism and to a historical-realistic inspiration after the manner of Manzoni. De Sanctis himself was an epitome of this tendency. On the contrary, La Vista whether because of a singular sensitivity he derived from the loss of his mother (she died in 1832 when he was six, and stayed in his dreams and melancholies throughout his childhood and youth) or because of the complex authors that crossed his path, belonged to the European Romanticism, with implications one could define Pre-Decadent. His untimely and tragic death certainly contributed creating an aura of mystery and charm about him, and so did his figure of unhappy martyr. But his writings, even though just fragments, are fascinating insomuch they enable us to suppose the greatness he was probably to achieve.

Some of his writing-books were published posthumously by Paquale Villari (Memorie e scritti, Firenze, Le Monnier, 1846); his diary (Diario, Venosa, Osanna) was published in 1987 by Antonio Vaccaro. He also wrote two short-tales, Angelo and Abele, and several occasional poems. Among his projects, an history of Italian literature which, according to De Sanctis’ teachings, would have had a social-historical architectonics. But another project was even more interesting and more consonant to his sentiments, which he mentioned on May 11, 1848 in his diary, that is to say a series of portraits of southern political martyrs as from 1799: “We are going to collect religiously everything about them […] and harmonize deeds and thoughts of each one of them, so as to allow the writer to explain the citizen and the citizen not to be ashamed of the writer. Again, we are going to tie biography to history, the man to his age.” In this way La Vista outlined, through others, his own ethical and civic path. Along that path, four days later, he was to find his death.

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