The abandoned dome of love in Sardinia

“Imagine what kind of interlocutor the house would be. More honest than any letter and this one I’m telling you about. They remembered everything that humans didn’t, felt, heard what humans cannot, saw events from impossible perspectives. I’m trying to read what’s carved into their walls, weathered wood, broken windows, scattered things. Fragments are everywhere, you just need to put the story together.”
Magdalena Blažević, Harvest season

Preparations for going to Sardinia were for months “painted with black and white shots” in which Monica Vitti lives between fiction and reality just like the characters she plays with Antonioni (L’Avventura”, “La Notte”, “L’Eclisse” and “Red Dessert”).

Monica has always been a woman I have to get to know (research), I follow her gaze into the desert on the far horizon.

Then she herself decided to help me. She gave me the keys to her house in the Costa Paradiso bay, and let me dream about her with many details from life that are still present in the house today. Because houses keep secrets…

It was the early sixties when Michelangelo Antonioni and his partner Monica Vitti arrived in Sardinia. The famous director chose this island to film a couple of scenes from the movie Red Desert, in which he chose his beloved muse with a husky voice as the protagonist. In the film, reality breaks for a moment, turning into a fairy tale of unexpected colors set on the pink beach, the famous Budelli in Sardinia.

Michelangelo wanted their intimate movie to never end and for the two of them to stay there. To make a place for the two of them where the night, the eclipse, and the adventure could continue for decades.

Thus, in 1971, the idea of ​​a house was born, not a two-dimensional house, but a “spatial sculpture” in which a film can be shot. The main creator in addition to the director was the architect Dante Bini. The house has been studied as a model in universities and has been built in more than 1,500 versions in 23 countries.

“La Coupola” emerges from nature: bathed in the sun and pierced by the sky, interspersed with wind and rain in a green courtyard, surrounded by the smell of Gallura, the forest and sound of the sea. It is not an introverted shell, but a shell that reverberated with sounds and sensations, in which separate spaces (five rooms and four bathrooms) were connected by a staircase of irregular granite blocks that meandered up to the living room.

The view bursts from the rocky hill: a perfect dome, gray weathered concrete and granite connected by a bridge with an eroded staircase. The day was warm and clear, the interior dilapidated and stifling. Some rooms still have pieces of dusty Italian furniture from the 60s.

I wander around the main room. I can easily imagine Monica carefully, cinematically, walking barefoot down the banisterless staircase that Antonioni had built to give her the best shot.

She was called ironically the “muse of incommunicability” thanks to her roles in Antonioni’s films. His alter ego in a radical quartet of experimental narratives exploring existential alienation.

Who was Monica?

Strange, unfathomable, closed to most of the world. Unsure of her appearance like any young actress, until the moment when the nature of the character wins. Witty and resourceful in every conversation she agrees to.

Again, who was Monica in the period when she came to Sardinia, what was she thinking about when some of Mina’s chansons about transience were playing on the radio?

There’s a novel left on the table in the living room, I take it and go to the roof terrace and look somewhere as far as the eye can see…

Maybe it’s time to close my eyes and forget everything I know about her. Maybe I should preserve her as she is, as if I knew her and as if we were sitting together on this terrace talking about meaning in silence…


Monica Vitti – @monica.vitti_

Photo i web arhiva

The characters and events in this story are partly fictitious. Any apparent similarity to real persons or events is intended by the author and is either a coincidence or the product of your own troubled imagination.

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Nataša Nikodijević Savin
Curated by Nataša

Producer (by degree and DNA structure).
A creative leader in business.
Entrepreneur. An artist. Curator and narrator.
Multitasking talent. Improviser. The inventor.



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