Tirar mattino


“Until yesterday, who would have ever thought that I would start working?

Aldino is the protagonist of the book: the diminutive already tells us a lot about him. A partially immature thirty-three year old, incapable of leaving behind a youth that had grown out of time. Without a precise plan in life, other than to live from day to day, and spend late nights in the less recommended places of a Milan that is preparing to experience the economic boom of the Sixties.

To the surprise of his girlfriend, her relatives, and perhaps even himself, he accepts an offer of permanent employment, which should mark his transition towards adulthood and responsibilities (what is also called “the serious hour” ).

On the eve of the first day of work he decides to say goodbye to that nocturnal world, almost like saying goodbye to Lucia’s mountains. A sense of nostalgia in the protagonist to leave a safe territory, with the almost certainty of never seeing it again. The same nostalgia that in a different form envelops the reader for a time now gone. The background is a metallic, dirty, criminal, hard-working and concrete Milan. A city in full swing with the need for mutation and building and looking to the future in a concrete way.

The text is a mix of Italian and Milanese dialect, with flashes of youthful street slang. A stylistic choice adopted to give greater intensity to the protagonist’s flow of consciousness, to the difference in the people of the night that he goes to meet on this last night, and to that world that from dawn will no longer be there for him. For this reason, perhaps a younger reader who is not accustomed to the Milanese dialect might find the book less fluent than it actually is.

Published in 1963 for the first time, the text has not lost its original freshness, which is why we enjoyed reading it. A breath of good air that comes from the past, capable of bringing warm memories back to the bottom of the heart.


Umberto Simonetta, Tirar Mattino, Baldini + Castoldi, Milano, 2018 (Einaudi – 1963)

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