Friday, May 12, 2023

Bob Dylan in Italy

Photo taken at a Parma craft brewer's place.
During my time in Italy a few weeks back I made a serious effort to look like an Italian and not a tourist. That I'd succeeded, to some extent, was certified when a younger Italian man asked me for directions to the train station. I replied and he never knew that I had just used up a third of my vocabulary. He thanked me and went on his way.

In most of my encounters, my lack of language skills were a dead giveaway. The follow up would usually be, "Where are you from?" I would say, "Duluth, Minnesota. Where Bob Dylan was born."

Bob Dylan's presence was everywhere I went. As I have several times noted, I was in Florence and Parma for 11 days. Both cities have offered much evidence that Dylan has a bit of Italy in his heart, and Italy has Dylan in theirs. This may be why Dylan's Retrospectum, a comprehensive collection of his visual art, was on display at the MAXXI Museum in Rome this spring. 

Every bookstore I went into had Bob Dylan books. The Florence train station and airport bookstores featured his Philosophy of Modern Song. And people from all walks of life acknowledged their fandom. 

While traveling by train from Parma back to Florence I was seated with a musician who plays bassoon with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He said he hailed from Turin and I mentioned that my father-in-law was in Turin at the end of WW2. I commented that I'd considered starting my Italy vacation in Milan so that I could visit Turin. Our conversation was in English and he asked where I was from. I gave my standard reply. He immediately said, "Bob Dylan is my hero."

I mentioned to him that Dylan was scheduled to perform a series of concerts in Italy in July and he was thrilled. I recommended he check out to see where Dylan would be and when. 

Here are a couple more photos from the stores.

I own a copy of Jim Marshall's book on the Never Ending Tour.

While in a Parma record store (vinyl) I had a discussion with another young man about how it was apparent that America had exported rock music to the world. He replied that it was not just rock, but "Pop Culture." Andy Warhol had indeed keyed in on something with his exploitation of all things pop.

For Dylan enthusiasts who may be interested in an Italy vacation this summer, Bob's five shows will be July 3 & 4 in Milan, July 6 in Lucca (in the beautiful Tuscany region), July 7 in Perugia (halfway between Florence and Rome), and July 9 in Rome.

Check out these photos of Lucca and Perugia. Don't tell anybody, but I'm ready to return. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You are a Dylan ambassador to the world Ed!

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