1th Semester - 2019
Available only by subscription
100 is a highly meaningful and symbolic number.
It's a figure that often crops up in our lives without us even noticing it. Starting from the centenary of Ligabue as a naval supply company, we have looked at the use of one hundred in various fields, to try and grasp its many meanings. The result is an interesting survey that ranges from mathematics to literature, medicine and history. The magazine you are reading, for example, is published by the Ligabue Foundation. It was created at the behest of Giancarlo Ligabue, a successful entrepreneur and tireless organiser of scientific missions and expeditions, who made the maritime catering company bearing the family name into a world leader in the 1980s. As often happens in Italy, the success of this enterprise has in fact very much been a family story. Today, Inti Ligabue is at the helm of the company, and here he recounts that story from the turn of the 20th century. This long look backwards spans three generations of the family of entrepreneurs, according to a consolidated tradition typical of the spirit of Venice's centuries-old commercial and economic power. And it all significantly began exactly 100 years ago...
Maritime catering is certainly no modern-day invention. On the basis of Genoese and Venetian archival documents, Antonio Musarra describes how things were organised on board in the Middle Ages. What supplies did the galleys of the Superba (Genoa) and the Serenissima (Venice) embark? Nothing was left to chance and navigation was carefully regulated, including compensation for damage caused by rodents. Here, too, we come across that number 100: the Genoese supply lists consist of 100 items. Laura Pepe takes us into the world of the ancient Greeks, where 100 (hekaton in Greek) is rooted in myth. One example is the hecatomb, or the sacrifice of 100 animals to the gods (although actually not always as many as 100). The most famous hecatomb was held in honour of the goddess Athena, where the sacrifice of 100 victims ensured a year's protection from the sated goddess for the city that bore her name. Massimo Marchiori also starts with the Greeks to recount the adventures of 100 in mathematics, the “divinely divine” number because obtained by multiplying the “divine” number 10 by itself. However, the 100 of the Greeks had to fight a long evolutionary struggle with the 60 of the Babylonians. In the end 100 triumphed, even though from the mathematical point of view, 60 is more versatile because divisible by 3, which is not the case with 100. Cristina Benussi, on the other hand, takes a look at the world of literature, in which one hundred features prominently. The hundred cantos in The Divine Comedy, or the hundred novellas in The Decameron come to mind, but we can continue with Pirandello's One, No One and One Hundred Thousand or Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, the modern history of his homeland, starting from the foundation of an imaginary village, Macondo, deep in the Colombian forest, and retold through seven generations of the Buendia family. How to live one hundred years, possibly contentedly. Silvia Bencivelli explores the issues and refers to studies on human longevity. There are five so-called Blue Zones in the world, where the probability of reaching one hundred is higher than elsewhere: Ogliastra (Sardinia), the island of Okinawa (Japan), Loma Linda (California), the peninsula of Nicoya (Costa Rica) and the island of Icaria (Greece). But considering individual centenarians basically only teaches us one thing: there is still a good deal about long life that eludes us. In 1919 the Ligabue company was founded in Venice just when the construction of the new industrial district of Porto Marghera was getting underway. Giovanni Sbordone illustrates the stages in the new development at the edge of the lagoon that was to have such an impact on Venice: the granting of land to Giuseppe Volpi (1917), the excavation and reclamation work on the Bottenighi mudflats (1919), soon to take the name of Porto Marghera, and the laying of the first stone of the “garden city” (1920) for the workers and their families (a planned total of 25,000 people). A century has elapsed since then and that industrial world, only just being built, no longer exists.
At this point all I can add is a hearty Bon Voyage!