It’s been almost five years since Piazza Barberini has been “empty,” yet many will remember seeing a curious figure there dancing around the fountain while hollering and laughing at the top of his lungs.
Who knows if his radio headset played any music or piped “inspiration” from parallel universes or other dimensions right into his head… what we do know is that Remigio danced to his own tune, no doubt about that! Drestetica he called it (draesthetics), a contraction of Danza Remigio Estetica (Remigio Dance Aesthetics).
It was a mix of wild leaps from imaginary building tops, a Saint Vitus dance if there ever was one, maddest of mad tarantas. It was an ongoing, ever-lasting kaleidoscope of kinetic frivolity and foolishness… one moment he would be bending over making obscene sounds at a passing member of parliament’s auto blu (gov’t chauffered car). In the next he would bounce up into the air and let out a high wailing laugh turning the tables on the two teenagers making fun of him. He would then immediately shake with crazy-man abandon, dancing on “coals” so to speak, to make a group of small school children giggle (in that Remigio achieved an 100% success rate no doubt). And of course every movement was punctuated with the “magic wand” he often carried (usually a paper towel tube with a cut-out big star taped to the top, or a stick).
Nuttier than nutella, right?
Perhaps. Then again if you stopped and spoke with him you always got crystal clear (if slightly oblique) truths that were hard to argue with.
“Remigio, che fai?” (What are you doing?)
“Ballo per la mia felicita’ e quella altrui.” (I dance for my happiness and that of others.)
Or he would pull out perfectly typed, lengthy dissertation he had written outlining his “Filosofia Neo-Rinascimentale (Neo-Renaissance Philosophy) that would not have been out of place in a graduate seminar…
If you asked him who he was, he would simply answer “I’m tersicorean” (Tersicore is the muse of dance and choral lyrics). He would then walk home to his very well-kept (if eclectically decorated, zillions of Italian flags apparently) apartment after his day’s “work” in the piazza was done.
And perhaps that was his greatest performance of all.. by being so completely out of his mind while at the same time maintaining his full faculties, he (happily dancing in his piazza) poked good-natured fun at us and forced us (rushing through Roman traffic, stressed out on our self-imposed stresses) to question who was mad… him or us?
And for this, Romans remember him fondly to this day.
Ciao, Remigio.. ci manchi!