Barcelona. On the other side of the horizon.

I watched with apprehension the human tower that was slowly growing in front of my eyes. It was composed of people of all ages, dressed in the same way: a red shirt, a white trousers and a black band around the waist. The base was made up of dozens of men in a circle, with a slightly curved back. They held the weight of as many people climbing on their shoulders and forming in turn another human circle. It was midday on an August Sunday in Barcelona. I was in the neighborhood of Gràcia, one of the most traditional places in the city. The atmosphere reminded me of what was created in Calabria during the patron celebrations, when sacred and profane rituals held the peoples with bated breath, as now, where we were all watching the third group of people clinging to each other for dial the third ring of the tower. Trees of mandarins surrounded the perimeter of the square, which stood next to Gaudì’s works. While in Finland the architects looked to the great forests to recover the wood used to build their architecture, in Spain Antonì Gaudì sought in the Mediterranean and in the Islamic past of the Nation, to find an Iberian identity. The Sagrada Familia, the expiatory temple of the late nineteenth century still unfinished, had been conceived in this way, which I had visited for the first time a few days before. I had found myself face to face with a cathedral that, at that moment, seemed to emerge from a fairy tale … majestic, with uncertain shapes, apparently fragile, it seemed made of clay. It was a unique work, certainly Gaudi’s masterpiece, which was characterized by the slender lines of the Gothic that then surpassed, with a new style, symbolic never seen before. Meanwhile, the Castellers who continued to cling to the shoulders of men and women had formed the fourth circle of the human tower. The neighborhood where I was, was located north of the Gothic quarter, one of the most fascinating in the city, where squares, alleys and arches followed one another, interspersed with ancient churches such as Santa Maria del Mar, built in 1300 and made famous by the novel by Idelfonso Falcones. In the long walks I took, I liked to lose myself, finding myself walking narrow, isolated lanes that smelled of the sea and that suddenly ended up on great avenues like the Rambla, where a river of tourists instantly canceled the intimacy experienced a few seconds before. I felt at ease, despite being on the other side of that horizon. I felt at ease, despite being on the other side of that horizon. Perhaps it was the sea that made me feel at home, the same sea with which I had grown up, and which likewise bathed many other countries: the Mediterranean. It happened me to be on the beach of the barceloneta, between skyscrapers and contemporary sculptures, and reflect on similarities and differences between the various Mediterranean peoples; I always came to the conclusion that in other places there was no Catalan eclecticism, where glass and steel of big skyscrapers lived together with the dialect, with the traditions and with the human tower of the castellers, which at this moment was collapsing in front of my eyes! In a moment the tower was unbalanced and all those people had fallen to the ground. But it took little to review the castellers stand up and rebuild the same tower, which this time completed when two girls, climbing fifteen meters high, greeted the square of Barcelona that acclaimed them.

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