La Spezia, town of Futurism

The themes dear to Futurists were the significant contemporary social and technological changes of the time. Frequent inspirations were movement and speed, but also war, often ideologically exalted almost as the highest expression of human value. The movement’s official name was conceived by the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. And precisely to Marinetti, we owe the closeness between futurism and the city of Spezia. In fact, it was he who defined the Gulf of Spezia as the “Gulf of Wonders,” a “fusion between natural beauty and plastic human intervention.”

The Mosaic in the La Spezia Post Office by Fillia and Prampolini

War, demographic and structural expansion, symbols of futurism, and the city.

The city of Spezia, recently protagonist of an essential and rapid socio-economic growth and expansion in terms of population and infrastructures, with the presence of the military base and two airports (in Luni and Cadimare), catalysts for the fame of the flights of Italo Balbo’s seaplanes. Thanks then to the subsequent union between Renato Righetti from La Spezia and the aeropainter Fillia, in the 1930s, the artistic and cultural environment of the city, up to that moment entirely provincial, became extraordinary, almost epic. In Spezia, the futurists have found the ideal future city, as the small town proliferated, developing technology and structures and becoming a symbol of the war that gave people so much.

In 1933 Marinetti conceived the “Gulf of La Spezia” Painting Award, which was held in the city for a few decades. The event was the Debut for the Aeropoema – the Flying Poem – of the Gulf of Spezia, a “Challenge to all Italian Poets.” Yet, it was a fiasco for the public at the City Theater.

Among the town’s most significant buildings of futurism, the Palazzo delle Poste in La Spezia is a celebration of communication according to futuristic poetics, designed by architect Angiolo Mazzoni and built in 1933. The masters of futurist art, Luigi Fillia and Enrico Prampolini are the authors of the grand mosaic inside the post office premises. It depicts the magnificent tide of globalized communication, represented by fast planes and imposing ships, which in their movement, penetrate space. Looking at the mosaic tiles of this work, one can almost hear the futuristic rumble of communication in the air, sea, and land. Definitely not to be missed in La Spezia, but unfortunately not accessible every day at the moment. However, it is possible to ask the post offices clerk to look at the tower that houses the beautiful mosaic.