Via Salinguerra, Ferrara, December 2000

In 1998 I visited Ferrara for the first time, when making a kind of grand tour in northern Italy. It was a historical project in which I wanted to see what was left of the once famous Renaissance city-states like Ferrara, Mantova, Modena, Padova, Venice.

Not very long after this journey I started reading and rereading the novels and stories of the Italian author Giorgio Bassani (1916-2000), all set in Ferrara. And I knew, I have to go back to this city, visit all the spots Bassani described, photograph it. I went back. Again and again for seven years at row. I must have photographed every stone by now. It was time to turn the Ferrara project into a book.

The stories and novels of the Italian author Giorgio Bassani (1916-2000) are all set in Ferrara. Bassini describes a closed city. Closed by its city wall, its long blind walls in town, its closed doors, its inhabitants, outcasting its jewish citizens in the late thirties and forties of the 20th century. He also describes the existential fears of his protegonists, their loneliness, solitude and isolation from which there is no escape. I have tried to translate the melancholy atmosphere of Bassani’s stories, that feeling of no escape from loneliness, solitude, exclusion and discrimination into the photographs.