Luigi Pirandello’s poetics is inextricably linked to the places of his youth, first and foremost the famous house where he was born. The house is located to the east of the Contrada Caos valley and dominates a plateau overhanging the sea with olive and oak trees. Although it stands on Agrigento soil, the house is positioned in a place almost suspended between the Capital and the Girgenti Pier (Porto Empedocle). Precisely because of its location, the house must have assumed for the playwright the role of an observatory of his contemporary society. Knowing how to recount the malaise of the petit-bourgeois class that populates his literary world has made Luigi Pirandello one of the most important 20th-century writers in the world, as demonstrated by the Nobel Prize awarded to him in 1934. The building dates back to the 1700s and had been in the possession of the author’s maternal family, the Ricci Gramitto, since 1817. In 1867, Luigi’s birth year, Pirandello family chose to take refuge in the house to escape the cholera epidemic that was afflicting Sicily at the time. In 1944, an explosion in the nearby ammunition depot of the American troops damaged the building. The house was declared a national monument in 1949; purchased by the Region of Sicily in 1952, it was restored and connected to the pine tree area. Since 1987, the playwright’s birthplace has formed a single institute with the Luigi Pirandello’s Library. Recently refurbished, the House Museum Luigi Pirandello houses part of the material heritage that belonged to the great playwright and his family: the structure is equipped with a powerful communicative apparatus, functional to enhance the intangible heritage expressed by his genius. The multimedia apparatus of the museum consists of stations with audio-visual archives content on themes related to the life and works of Luigi Pirandello, allowing visitors to undertake an informative and emotional journey. Contents are available in Italian with English subtitles. A path leads along the Caos Valley to the monument housing Luigi Pirandello’s ashes. As expressly requested in his last will and testament, the master’s cinerary urn has been placed inside a rock, a boulder taken from the Rupe Atenea and modified by sculptor Marino Mazzacurati:
“… be the cinerary urn brought to Sicily
and walled up in some rough stone in the
Girgenti countryside where I was born.”
During the ceremony for the transfer of his ashes, which took place on the 10th of December 1961, the monument was placed under an over a hundred years old large pine tree, which no longer exists. In its shade, Pirandello loved to stop and think, to paint, to rest, to write to his friends.
LUIGI PIRANDELLO’ S LIBRARY IN AGRIGENTO
The library is a multimedia documentation centre on the Sicilian playwright, which preserves and offers a considerable variety of documents divided into monographs, rare and valuable materials and periodicals. Of particular interest are the autograph documents, most of which come from Pirandello’s heirs: about 5,000 documents, many of which are still unpublished, including letters, handwritten and typescript play scripts, fragments, newspaper cuttings and various personal memorabilia, in particular the Fascist Party membership card of 1936, the membership card of the Royal Academy of Italy, the 1889 Bonn University booklet, the Bonn and Coazze notebooks. The library, included in the Central Index of Rome, has a telematic archive connected to the National Collective Catalogue and holds about 20,000 texts, which can be borrowed. It hosts itinerant documentary and photographic exhibitions and produces illustrative material.