See you in Berlin!
We're holding a big party in Europe's most fascinating city, in Berlin's legendary Tempelhof airport,
to celebrate - during what I hope will be an unforgettable night - the tenth anniversary of the Di Meo calendar.
The million dollar question is: why Berlin and not ......? All my friends have a place dear to their
heart they'd like to suggest or a wish to explore new cities.
I will try to answer this question. Berlin is the capital of the richest, most powerful, most dynamic
country in Europe, a city that is constantly changing, where the past immediately becomes the
future. A place entirely devoted to freedom and imagination, where creativity is constantly evolving.
A network of marvellous museums and small and large contemporary art and design galleries,
where talented young people can express themselves. A place that boasts a wealth of avantgarde
cultural venues, the home of music and artistic exploration with its artistic venues constantly on the
go. Berlin is truly the capital of culture.
It is dear to us all, both a symbol of freedom and democracy as well as the expression of a
fascinating cultural world. A place dominated by Brecht, Weill, Isherwood and Spender, the Mann
brothers, Lang and Pabst, Karl Valentin, Expressionist intellectuals and artists, Benjamin and his
Berlin youth. Not to mention many other writers, film directors and musicians.
If you try searching the Internet or go to a bookshop to research this city's history during the 1920s
and 1930s, you will discover that the true 'movable feast' of the century took place right there.
Berlin should be explored with care and curiosity, by seeking out spaces, places, memories,
sensations and legends above and beyond what you'll find along the beaten path, that of tour
guides to be precise.
Some dear and learned Berlin-based friends will help us along the way: Dagmar Von Taube,
esteemed journalist and author of Berlin-Now; Roberto Contini from Gemäldegalerie and Daniele
Maruca, in charge of Special Guests at the Berlin Biennale.
Here's another reason for this choice of venue. Naples and Berlin have always had a special
relationship. I am particularly thinking of the visitors that went on the Grand Tour, of Goethe and his
Travels in Italy (Naples, the 'paradise inhabited by devils', a cruel and perhaps truthful diagnosis,
though the phrase is Croce's, not Goethe's).
And speaking of Croce and the philosophers of his generation, how can we forget the intense and
fruitful relationship with German philosophy?
And here, in Goethe's name, is the distinguished account by Maria Carmen Morese, the director of
the Goethe-Institut, who looks back on the first 50 years of the Institute's work.
Now for the practicalities. As usual, Patrizia Sardo is the person who can provide you with details
of flights, hotels and bookings. Patrizia always makes every effort to find the best deals and to
satisfy your every wish, as much as she possibly can, even at the last minute. She is a true pillar
for our calendar festivities.
This year, guests from Rome and northern Italy may also take advantage of the very useful help
provided by Enrico Ducrot with the packages offered by Viaggi dell’Elefante.
Well, that's all I have to say. Above all, I will say nothing about the theme of the calendar created
by Angelo Bucarelli, which seemed truly fascinating when I first saw/read it. We don't want to spoil
the surprise, do we?
Those of you who would like more information can visit a bookshop, where you'll find several
guidebooks to satisfy every wish, fancy or point of curiosity. Berlin really deserves a few hours of
reading and thought.
I'll answer one last question: What does 'Café Society' mean, or rather, how should we interpret
In the 1920s and '30s – which is incidentally when Tempelhof airport was being built – Berlin was
the favourite haunt of a cosmopolitan, controversial group, the avantgarde in cultural and artistic
spheres, which enjoyed enormous sexual freedom. The economic and moral trauma caused by the
crushing defeat of the First World War was fading and the city – as always happens in times of
crisis – wanted to forget the painful past and embrace new ways of life.
Hence the cabarets, the theatres, the paintings and even a way of dressing (which you are asked
to take inspiration from for this event's dress code). There are numerous examples: Marlene in
black tie, the characters from Bob Fosse's unforgettable Cabaret, the ugly, portly men and jolly,
wild young women in the paintings of Grosz and Otto Dix.
Finally, my sincerest thanks go to our sponsors who once again have made the calendar possible
thanks to their precious involvement and helpfulness and who, with the inclusion of their brands,
make its image even more prestigious.
See you in Berlin...