San Gattardo. © Gulliver.it
Peer-reviewed audio paper

Revealing the Genius Loci through sound

The walser hamlet of San Gottardo.

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San Gottardo is a remote hamlet situated in Italy, on Pennine Alps, and founded in 1255 by the Walser, a population coming from the German-speaking area of the canton of Valais in Switzerland. In this place, the Walser gave life to a unique culture that survived through centuries thanks to the isolated location of the village, the absence of tourism and, above all, the exclusive use of an Alemannic dialect: the Tittschiu rimellese. This isolation led the community to a position of multi-marginality that still allows and forces the 9 inhabitants of San Gottardo to live following different rhythms and different patterns.

Sound admits a perception of spaces that is both internal and intimate. It is able to catch – thanks to its abstract and ephemeral nature – the mutability, fragmentation and complexity of spaces and, more specifically, of places – emotionally lived spaces. Sound is a tool to capture the Genius Loci, becoming a new tool for geographical, anthropological, semiotic storytelling.

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Keywords

soundscape
Alps
cultural landscape
storytelling
Walser