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Florestano Vancini : a memoir Hit by a thunderbolt that determined a career and style of life. “In my day, it made a difference whether you were born and raised inside or outside the walls. Ferrara seemed to be a fortified place compared to that limitless countryside, poor and hard-working, and my father was only the Boara postman….” Florestano Vancini, who died on 18 September 2008 last, was physically born inside the walls, on 24 August 1926 in the hospital. However he was raised in Boara, the first village on the road to Copparo, and not “inside” the walled city.
Boldini in Paris The relationship between Boldini and French Impressionism will be explored in this great exhibition. Boldini painted a fascinating picture called Cantante mondana [“Society singer”] in the mid-1880s. It shows a snapshot of the Paris of the late nineteen-hundreds - the life, the cafés and the music halls that the artist patronised along with his friends and fellow-painters like Degas - and as such lay outside the area for which he was renowned, namely portrait painting.
It's all in the blood Impromptu thoughts of a "Dolomite-Po Valley man" My mother was tall and slim, with a consciously understated beauty; on the contrary, my athletic father was well aware of his good looks, tanned by the Cortina sun. She was from a good Ferrara family, had a diploma from the music conservatory and was anything but sporty; he was a ski and ice-hockey champion and mountain climber, from a modest family who were photography pioneers in this remote corner of Italy.
Story of a insolvent bank Luigi Franceschini and the "Piccolo Credito" bank, as remembered by his son. This is a nice “vintage” photograph taken at the San Girolamo Piazza eighty years ago.  It is a  souvenir photo with a certain historical interest: the  three people on  the right were very important characters in the story of  the insolvency of a Ferrara  bank, the  “ Piccolo   Credito ” : my  father,  the lawyer   Luigi   Franceschini,  who  was  the  receiver  appointed  by   the  Court   of   Ferrara ;   to  his  right,
Mystery and blades of grass in Filippo De Pisis The re-emergence of the herbarium collected by the Ferrara painter as a young man. The artistic sensibility of many leading cultural figures was cultivated by collecting grasses, herbs and flowers stalks, to then smoothen them out and press them between sheets of blotting paper:Obviously the great naturalists were enthusiasts, but world-famous thinkers also shared this hobby (Rousseau,Goethe,von Chamisso and Hesse), as well as poets,

'Off with you to Campailla'

Written by  Gian Pietro Testa

Giuseppe Campailla during a party. We recognize on his left Lucia vergella (wife of the ophtalomologist), and Norma Testa, Campailla’s wife.An informal portrait of the respected and awe-inspiring “lunatics’ doctor” of Ferrara.

For many years in Ferrara, if you sent a person “to Campailla” it just meant to send the person to the psychiatric hospital, or, more broadly, to send them to hell: let’s say it was an inoffensive, elegant way of questioning the sanity of the person you were talking to. Professor Giuseppe Campailla had become an undisputed institution in Ferrara, even though he was just Uncle Beppino to me as I went to his house every day. It’s not often that a doctor can link himself so inextricably to the role he played in the heart of the community. The people held him in great respect, and perhaps he inspired a certain awe, due to his work in the beautiful Palazzo Tassoni in Via della Ghiara, with the barred windows. Professor Campailla was superintendant there between 1944 and 1970, and proved himself to be ahead of his time. He had already understood that the psychiatric hospital was a ramshackle structure, often useless, or even dangerous, to the extent that he set up a network of mental health centres in the province. They were among the first in Italy, truly “open” psychiatric units. I have many memories of that psychiatric hospital, and they are all gently compassionate, especially of the inoffensive, quiet patients. The others lived in closed rooms, sometimes engulfed in silence, sometimes screaming their tragic suffering, their solitude, their exclusion. Their psychiatricGiuseppe Campailla. hospital was opened once a year at Carnival time, when many guests would be invited to a party attended by those patients who were capable of relating to the outside world. Even though I am not a doctor, I have never stopped comparing myself to those poor people and their pain and suffering since then.Giuseppe Campailla, whose hundredth anniversary occurs this year, was born in Palazzolo Acreide in the province of Siracusa on 10 June 1909. However, by 1928 he was already in Ferrara as his father was a literature teacher at the Ariosto Secondary School, later to become its headmaster. Giuseppe was a student of Professor Gasbarrini of the Murri School at the University of Bologna, and struck up a very close friendship with my father there. The University of Ferrara at the time was small, but it did have some great doctors. After he got his degree in Padua (where he followed Gasbarrini), he began his long, illustrious career in Ferrara at just twenty-two years of age. His career progressed swiftly, he was superintendant of the psychiatric hospital and head of neurology at the main hospital of S. Anna by the time he was 35. At a time when neurology and psychiatry were still grouped together, he was the only one in Italy to get to the top in both branches. From the nineteen-fifties onwards, Beppino Campailla couldn’t be stopped: lecturer of psychiatry at the University of Ferrara from 1959, he became professor of psychiatry in 1962 and was also appointed by the medical faculty at the University of Messina. He taught psychiatry at the University of Trieste from 1970 and established the Psychiatry Clinic there. He then became dean of medicine, heading up two postgraduate courses. He was also a candidate for rectorship in this University. When he retired, he was appointed honorary professor by decree of the President of the Republic. He organised scientific congresses and gave lectures in leading European and American universities. His other great love was for culture, and especially literature, following in the steps of his father. Once he left the University and came back to Ferrara for good, he was able to develop this interest and published a number of essays: L’uomo di fronte al tempo [“Man against time”], La notte e l’inferno [“The night and hell”], Declino e rinnovamento della Latinità [“Decline and renewal of Latinity”], La personalità nell opera di Pirandello [“Character in the work of Pirandello”] and the treatises Follia del Tasso [“the madness of Tasso”], mentioned above and Nicolo III d’Este. He printed a  book  of  stories  Quadri  di un’esposizione [“Pictures at an exhibition”] in 1981, fast stories, very interesting from a literary point of view, some of which are fascinating because of their deep probing of the human soul and the relationship with life and death that “Uncle Beppino” called “the great silence”. The voice is life, silence is death: that hated silence that Beppino was doomed to undergo in the long suffering before his death on 2 December 1988 in Trieste.