Living in Italy

New pictures of 9 April 2014 (Previously postings: 30 September 2009, 4 November 2010, 8 June 2011)

from the bike track, March 2014March 2014 San Giovanni Bianco viewed from the river-strand piece of the property at Piazzalunga 24San Giovanni Bianco in March 2014, viewed from the spot at my property’s river-strand

San Giovanni Bianco, BergamoSpring 2010, a shot zoomed from the atelier at the 3rd floor.

Above, view taken from the house balcony at the 3rd floor. Peace and beauty along seasons and time

This is my house in Italy

The house was built in late 1700’s. The building is categorized by the municipality of San Giovanni Bianco as centro storico. This categorization of centro storico refers to thus house and other three buildings neighbouring the house at 24 Piazzalunga 20 street.

I bought this house with the idea of leaving  a meeting place for all my children and their families, all of them – with one exception – living permanently in Sweden. It would be the meeting of their “modern” culture with the ancestral and traditional North Italian culture of the families I originally come from, and I respect.  I provided this particular location  because it is only two hours flying from Stockholm (Skvasta) to Bergamo, and only 30 kilometers up to the Alps from the Orio al Serio Airport.

Being Genoa the land of my ancestors, I naturally grew up with stories about the family, Genova, Liguria and Northern Italy, the Alpini Army, Genoese navigators, etc. I have been in and out Italy in several periods in my life. Then, in 1974 – after the Coup – I decided to live there for a longer time, and a I settled down in Rome, where I lived as an artist and had an atelier first in Castelnuovo di Porto and then in Trastevere.  I lived there with my one-year old son José-Miguel and his mother. I lived on my paintings, I had three art exhibitions in Rome, I was still active in the resistance duties, intervened in the Russel Tribunal, and in the few moments of solitude I slicked my wounds. However, partly familiar interests from the part of my baby son’s mother (her own mother was  still in Pinochet’s prison but had been granted political asylum by Sweden), and principally due to new political/organic commitments on behalf of  MIR resistance against Pinochet, I had to move to Sweden and leave again my dear Italy. In Sweden I also had to star anew my academic life after I left MIR in 1977. Again in and out Italy until I became Professor emeritus, I finally bought a house in Northern Italy and moved my permanent residence here in August 2009.

This is the house, not more, not less. As it is life, a collection of strong memories and unfinished dreams. A four-floor stone house of the late 1700’s, still with some restoring work to do in the outer walls, and also with two large unfinished rooms inside. But I love it just this way. A house with patina. Like the old books of the revolutionary utopians of  the 1800’s. A house with scratches. Like my old soul which I have been carrying for 67 years.

I you are a friend, or a good woman, you are welcome to visit me. I will prepare for you delicious Italian dishes (my most cherished hobby!), and I will pour a good, authentic Italian wine in your chalice.


The house viewed from SouthMy house at Piazzalunga 24 in S. Giovanni Bianco [at left, behind the yellow tree], viewed from the South (Bergamo)

My house viewed from North, with  the 2 balconies, & the yellow treeThe balconies of the house viewed from North (Alpes); the yellow tree behind

am-car-with-swe-plates-parket-at-ital-houseThe house’s lateral entrance viewed in 2013. It was later restored summer 2014.

Below: Front view of my house at Piazzalunga 24

Piazzalunga 24. Front of the house - August 2014October 2014 – Front & lateral views y- 2a DaHouse - side entrance & balcon studio

y- 2d Oct 2014 - DSC01279June 2014 Parking

y- 2c May 2015 - lateral view w. 2 rosesMay 2015 Roses at the entrance

y- 1 DaHouse - front-angle viewfront angle

y- 4 DaHouse - back & arcBack of the house with  arc to the street

The kitchen table

S. Giovanni Bianco is located some 25 kilometres north of Bergamo, up in the Brembana Valley, and some 60 kmts from Milan. Altitude 400 mts and the landscape typical Alpine. In front of the house runs the Brembo River, and the segment of terrain between the road and down to the river belongs to the house. The house has four or five floors, depending on which outer door do you use. It is not regular, o hyper symmetrical, or modern in any way.  Yet, I find it very comfortable warm, and funny.  What else? The centrum (downtown) of the village with my favourite bars and restaurants it is at walking distance from the house. There is also a bicycle road right behind the house which connect you naturally with San Pellegrino (2 km), and more bars, and more restaurants, and more Italians. If you like to pray (I do not) there is enough with churches. The cheese is from the very region (Taleggio is just few kilometers from S. Giovanni Bianco), and the wine, and all the typical Italian things, such as driving fast without minding very much the walking cats. Unless you are very, very old. Then they might stop at the zebra-line in the road.


The  house  “soggiorno” room in  November 2009. Newer pictures of this room far down below.

View – no zoom – from the upper front-balcony of the house, corresponding to the atelier-room (seen down below)

Zoom view from the same balcony. April 2010

The same view as above.  September 2010

Above: This is the balcony with view from the side of the house, towards San Pellegrino Terme

y- view drom balcony studio DSC01932

And this is the view from the balcony above, direction south.

10 Roses

Above: Roses at the entrance

Below: View from the same balcony at the living-room, from inside

The image above shows view Less down to Via Piazzalunga. There, less than 100 meters from my house there is “Bar Irma”. The place has has a balcony on the back side (side to the river) where I use to seat and take the cappuccinos, martini-rosso, etc. Image below is the view I get when sitting there (it is the same river Brembo, which passes in front of da house at Piazzalunga 24):

Bar Irma, Via Piazzalunga

Here below, images of the studio:

The same balcony-door, closed. Follows the view of the window seen from the left in the picture above

Picture below, the same window with the above view, closed:

Follows: Other angles of the same floor

Summer 2010

Winter 2010-2011

Below. Down to the second floor, seen master bedroom, and the river-side view from the same room:

Master bedroom

y- main dormitory DSC01972

Above and below: other corners of the master bedroom

y- main dormitory DSC01963

View 1 from the 2nd floor bedroom towards the river across via Piazzalunga

View 2 from the 2nd floor bedroom towards direction San Pellegrino (via Piazzalunga)

Stairs connecting the master bedroom and the bathroom

Going downstairs to the kitchen and soggiorno room

Further downstairs to the ground level and the Taverna room

There is a lot of small stairs in the house, connecting the 5 levels. Let’s start from the front entrance (Piaza Lunga). The first room to the left after the main entrance is the bar. [The others stair-sections are depicted down below in this gallery].

Below, views of the bar (La taverna)


Some exterior pictures before coming back to the house:

Here down is the bicycle and promenade way that continues along most of the Brembana Valley. It passes my house parallel to Via Piazzalunga, and about 50 meters distance behind the house, and up the hill. “At hand”, in other words.

Viewed from the house, to the right (North) there are 300 meters to S. Giovanni Centre to bike or walk using the bicycle way. To the left (South) there are 2 kilometers to bike or walk to San Pellegrino Terme

And this is my absolute favorite for that ride, a Bianchi/Campagnolo from the late seventies and which I have had since earliest in Sweden. I got an ugly accident in early May 2011 (you can see the scratches in the steering and fork) that send me to hospital and have ceased Professors blogg over a month. But now I am again fit for fight (and for riding my bike)

Walking down-town along Via Piazzalunga. This spot here, 100 mts from the house

Walking down-town, 300 mts from the house

Final destination, “my” bar, 350 meters from the house

View towards the town centrum, sitting in the bar’s outside-table

The house. Exteriors

Da house before the new chimney (front balconies not visible)

7 in the morningMarch 2014, 7 AM


Above and below: Older pictures of the house taken Winter 2011, before the restoring

Below: Lateral facade restored, and new parking place. Photo of June 2014

New parking place 2014


Not a very good picture (view from Piazzalunga), but one the two front balconies is visible; below the balconies is the arc:

y- 5 DaHouse - front balconies & arc

Below: Detail of the North-side of the house, with the arc entrance and a glimpse of via Piazzalunga:

y- 4 DaHouse - back & arc

Below, old giardino

There are two entrance doors. Below, the outer door at the side, prior the restoring of the wall


the side of the house

View of the little “garden”, and of my Rosmarino and Salvia plants. October 2009

Il piccolo giardino, summer 2011

Image above: This side was restored 2014 and a now there is also a parking place beside the giardino (see the two pictures below from August 20014):

parking from entrance, the Alfa Romeo GTV


Summer 2011

Entering the soggiorno room ad kitchen








Working rooms

Bellow, the little atelier at the top floor. Balcony to the river view

The large-atelier project (a would-to-be atelier, in construction):

In the meanwhile, good enough as extra room for colder winters:

Reading corners at the soggiorno

Finally, in  picture bellow,  the entrance to the terrain by the riverside belonging to the house. The fishing is Okey. If you like fishing and have enough patience.

the Alfa GTV parked in PiazzalungaI instead prefer Alfa Romeo GTV (“V” stands for “veloce“). Here parked some 20 meters from the same stairway above, at Via Piazzalunga, by the river.

The multiple small stairs connecting the five levels inside the house:

y- e1 DSC01985Going up from the bar up to the soggiorno room

y- e2b DSC01957connecting the soggiorno room and the master bedroom

y- e3 DSC01956At the right, the stairs connecting to the bathroom

y- balcon at the bathroom DSC01948Above, the balcony at the bathroom.

Stairs connecting the bathroom level with the entrance of the “stone-walls” room. This is a huge room which was intended to allocate my painting studio. A feasible project.

y- e5 to stone-walls room DSC01891

And this is the stone-walls room:


Stairs seen from the entrance of the the room above:

y-view from stones-wall entrance DSC01895

So, we arrive at the level corresponding the entrance of the master bedroom:

y e-

And the stairs continue to my studio, also called la saletta.

y- e4c DSC01978

From this level, the stairs do a u-turn up to the atelier:





5 thoughts on “Living in Italy

  1. Hola Marcelo,
    Mi cuñado Carlos Villagrán me llamó especialmente desde Santiago para contarme de su “encuentro” contigo por Internet, con tu página WEB y su encuentro (y el mio) con la reseña sobre Nelson Gutiérrez que leí entera con la emoción de recuerdos y de nombres queridos por mi (Miguel, Bautista, Rodrigo Rojas y otros).

    Vi tu fecha de nacimiento (sólo meses anterior a la mia en octubre del mismo año) y a pesar de estar todavía envuelto en un exceso de actividades, no pude dejar de volar la menta hacia atrás, a la década del 60, incluso antes en el Liceo No 1 en que fui compañero y amigo de tantos de aquellos que nombras en tu reseña.

    Estré contento de saber de ti, de tus hijos, de tu presente, quizás algo de tu futuro, particularmente si Chile, aun parcialmente, esta en ese futuro. Si asi fuere, en Concepción seguirás encontrando un amigo de aquellos tiempos.

    Un abrazo,

    Freddy Gordon

  2. Marcello!

    Recorrí tu nuevo “Italian abode” y créeme que lo disfruté tal cuál te hubiere visitado. Has logrado crear un espléndido recorrido que me hizo ver nuevamente detalles que ya vi en tu casa de campo en Suecia.

    Gracias por compartir tu paraíso montano. Es simplemente bello y de una paz que con mucha seguridad inspirará niveles superiores de tu creación artística.

    No pasará mucho tiempo y espero ir hasta allí para sentir el ancestral olor del fuego verdadero que calienta esas casas más allá de la electricidad o el petróleo.

    Te felicito y he “visitado” con orgullo tu rincón italiano!

    Espero con impaciencia tu historia del MIR!

    Recibe un cordial abrazo!!


    1. Estimado Marcelo,

      Gracias por tu mensaje y especialmente el link a tu página, que me ha traído emocionantes recuerdos. Lo he compartido con mi hermana Alicia y su esposo Carlos Villagrán, a quienes posiblemente también recuerdas.

      Un abrazo afectuoso de,

      Alfredo Gordon


    2. Armando, grazie mille!

      En este momento trabajando en lo de los orígenes de “la desorganización”, como la llamábamos con cariño los fundadores venidos de Concepción

      Un abrazo, m.

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