Italians and pasta are like a horse and carriage: they just naturally go together. The very idea of depriving Italians of their beloved pasta seems crazy, but Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the poet, novelist, critic and founder of Italy's Futurist movement, tried to do just that, although, as grocery stores and cookbooks everywhere indicate, without much success.
Born of Italian parents in the Egyptian city of Alexandria on December 22, 1876, Marinetti became an established poet in Paris at an early age. After a life-changing but not serious car accident in 1908, he began to write a series of manifestos. The first was his Futurist Manifesto, published in February 1909. Although it appeared in Le Figaro newspaper in French, it declared that ‘It is in Italy that we launch this manifesto of tumbling and incendiary violence, this manifesto through which today we set up Futurism, because we want to deliver Italy from its gangrene of professors, of archaeologists, of guides, and of antiquarians.'
Futurism's idea was to break with nineteenth-century Romanticism and eliminate the past by embracing speed and the modern industrial revolution in all aspects of life, including art, architecture, music, poetry, films, fashion, physics and technology. Not surprisingly, its chosen symbols were the aeroplane, cinema and the telephone and, above all, the automobile. As a movement, Futurism quickly spread to Germany, Russia and the Americas. It rivalled Cubism in its influence on other twentieth-century art movements including Art Deco, Surrealism and Dadaism.