A guided walk through the layers of the city of Mantova
Cities are living organisms that feed on the course of history. Layer by layer, century after century, a Roman church eventually starts coexisting with a Medieval palace, a Renaissance square, and a residential complex from the 1950s. The philosopher Marco Filoni and architect Luca Molinari led a captive audience on a walk across Mantova, from Palazzo Te to Piazza Sordello, along the so-called percorso del principe, or the prince’s path. Various stops along the walk gave the authors a chance to share their reflections on various themes, from the physical and conceptual role of city walls, to the unexpectedly beautiful philosophy behind modern popular apartment blocks. During the event, it was made clear how we had actually been walking through three different cities, traced respectively by Roman, Medieval and Napoleonic borders, each having developed a different array of social, economic and political functions.
The main insight that accompanied the whole walk is that humanity and the city are overlapping entities, each one unable to exist without the other. This encourages us to think of urban spaces and their composition as a layered, multidimensional reality that echoes the structure of human nature itself, where beauty, ugliness, order, chaos, past, present, and future mix in an intriguing and fertile kaleidoscope.