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Italy Outdoors: The Piazza20180910

Writer Polly Coles reads The Piazza, her first essay on the life of Italy's public spaces.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Writer Polly Coles reads the first of her essays about Italy’s public spaces: The Piazza, the centre of every Italian community from hamlets to great cities. Italian life is famously lived out of doors. Its public spaces are prized and replicated far beyond its borders and the world flocks to partake of its vivid, shared life of piazzas, streets, seafront promenades, churches and market places. In this series Polly looks at different outdoor spaces in Italy, revealing them as places of rich and ancient cultural diversity. 

Beginning with the piazza, the beating heart of Italian identity, she suggests it reflects a very Italian need to be together in public.

Written and read by Polly Coles
Produced by Melanie Harris of Sparklab Productions

01The Piazza20180910

Writer Polly Coles reads The Piazza, her first essay on the life of Italy's public spaces.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Writer Polly Coles reads the first of her essays about Italy’s public spaces: The Piazza, the centre of every Italian community from hamlets to great cities. Italian life is famously lived out of doors. Its public spaces are prized and replicated far beyond its borders and the world flocks to partake of its vivid, shared life of piazzas, streets, seafront promenades, churches and market places. In this series Polly looks at different outdoor spaces in Italy, revealing them as places of rich and ancient cultural diversity. 

Beginning with the piazza, the beating heart of Italian identity, she suggests it reflects a very Italian need to be together in public.

Written and read by Polly Coles
Produced by Melanie Harris of Sparklab Productions

02La Strada20180911

Writer Polly Coles reads the second of her essays about Italy's public spaces, La Strada.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Writer Polly Coles reads her second essays about Italy’s public spaces: La Strada (The Road) is a place of exile, loss, transition and vision beyond the civilized confines of the city. Italy is a country that famously lives out of doors. Its public spaces are prized and replicated far beyond its borders, and the world flocks to partake of its vivid, shared life of piazzas, streets, seafront promenades, churches and market places. In this series Polly looks at different outdoor spaces in Italy, revealing them as places of rich and ancient cultural diversity. 

In this essay, she examines the road as a symbol of poverty, exile, vision and eventually of gain through endurance in Italian art, literature and film from Dante to Fellini.

Written and read by Polly Coles
Produced by Melanie Harris of Sparklab Productions

Writer Polly Coles reads her second essays about Italy’s public spaces: La Strada (The Road) is a place of exile, loss, transition and vision beyond the civilized confines of the city. Italy is a country that famously lives out of doors. Its public spaces are prized and replicated far beyond its borders, and the world flocks to partake of its vivid, shared life of piazzas, streets, seafront promenades, churches and market places. In this series Polly looks at different outdoor spaces in Italy, revealing them as places of rich and ancient cultural diversity. 

In this essay, she examines the road as a symbol of poverty, exile, vision and eventually of gain through endurance in Italian art, literature and film from Dante to Fellini.

Written and read by Polly Coles
Produced by Melanie Harris of Sparklab Productions

03Walls20180912

Writer Polly Coles reads Walls, the third essay in her series about Italy's public spaces

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Writer Polly Coles reads Walls, the third of her essays about Italy’s public spaces, in which she explores the history and fundamental ambiguity in the idea of a city wall. Italy is a country that famously lives out of doors. Its public spaces are prized and replicated far beyond its borders, and the world flocks to partake of its vivid, shared life of piazzas, streets, seafront promenades, churches and market places. In this series, Polly looks at a variety of outdoor spaces in Italy, revealing them to be places of rich and ancient cultural diversity. 

This essay begins with the walls of Genoa, believed by some to be the second longest in the world, after the Great Wall of China.

Written and read by Polly Coles
Produced by Melanie Harris of Sparklab Productions

04The Garden20180913

Writer Polly Coles reads The Garden, her fourth essay about Italy's public spaces.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Writer Polly Coles reads The Garden her fourth essay about Italy’s public spaces. Italian gardens have a long cultural history which is very different from that of Britain. Italy is a country that famously lives out of doors. Its public spaces are prized and replicated far beyond its borders, and the world flocks to partake of its vivid, shared life of piazzas, streets, seafront promenades, churches and market places. In this series Polly looks at different outdoor spaces in Italy, revealing them as places of rich and ancient cultural diversity. 

Polly discusses how the Italian garden has been a space of profound seclusion and privacy, and at other times the opposite: a place of display and worldly relations. She ends in in Venice, where these apparently conflicting values are resolved in one small community garden.

Written and read by Polly Coles
Produced by Melanie Harris of Sparklab Productions

05 LASTThe Church20180914

Writer Polly Coles reads The Church, her final essay about Italy's public spaces.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Writer Polly Coles explores the curious coexistence of public grandeur and personal domesticity in The Church, her final essay in this series about Italy’s public spaces. Italy is a country that famously lives out of doors. Its public spaces are prized and replicated far beyond its borders, and the world flocks to partake of its vivid, shared life of piazzas, streets, seafront promenades, churches and market places. For centuries, private and public business has been carried out in these spaces: politics, trade, display, ritual and social contact amongst much else. In this series Polly Coles looks at the public spaces of Italy, revealing them as places of rich and ancient cultural diversity. 

Polly begins in the ancient cathedral of San Lorenzo in Genoa and ends in a beautiful temporary wooden chapel on the Venetian lagoon. This is the story of churches as places of many parts: from the public and highly formalized to the domestic, intimate and personally transforming.

Written and read by Polly Coles
Produced by Melanie Harris of Sparklab Productions