Ninel Ivanovna Podgornaja
The unrepeatable moment
(Solfanelli Editore- Chieti)

Italian version by
Alfredo Bertollo & Pier Luigi Coda

The text

Prioress Melania - Margarita Tučkova


I think the charm of biographical stories of Podgornaja, in particular of "The unrepeatable moment," consists precisely in this approach "personalistic / journalist" of history, out of pre-made academicism which encumbers the description. Her writings are firmly anchored in the events, but "peer" or better, peep through the anecdotes, the drawings and the mysteries that are between the pages of the day, between the curtains of the alcove, between the beats of  “love and death” that hound the time. Then the reading is tasty and of interest to an audience who may feel distant or estranged from the scene narrated in the text.

                  We have the confirmation of this with the work of "Mafalda of Savoy-Hesse" and "Pushkin and Baltic countries", the author's direct involvement in addressing these biographical narratives with a blend of airy color and freshness of interpretation have been able to attract the ' Italian reader's attention, were able to drag him into the universality of the story that goes beyond the experience of the players to arrive in the charm of solemn and indistinct of the human destinies that shake their history.

Aleksandr Aleekseevič Tučkov

Aleksandra Fëdorovna
wife of Nicholas I

"The unrepeatable moment" is a dip in the ocean of the past three centuries, a flight that crosses many skies of Europe, from Russia to the Baltic countries, Germany and slices of England and France. Browsing through the pages of the book one feels the awesome sound of armies on the march, the struggles of peoples for freedom, there is the useless bloodshed of revolutions. But you also can hear the steps of the dances, the minuet and the magnificence of the imperial courts and in the distance, the voices of poets and novelists of a literary season, perhaps only truly "unrepeatable".

And then, what about the Empress Catherine I who as peasant from the lands of Latvia achieves the throne of Russia? And about the mystery of the castle of Lode where it is not known how and why died the unhappy Princess Augusta of Württemberg? And the prophetic dream of Margarita Tučkova? And why was Rasputin in the magnificence of the court of the czars?

In the background empires that arise, face themselves and break down: Napoleon, the Romanovs, the Hessen, the Savoy ... Weddings designed on desk to ensure aristocratic lineages often without any happiness. Impossible loves and betrayals, burning beds, ambitions and fears, the flow of the years that flows like water from the Volga and the Rhine. Everything belongs to us and sinking roots in common, is the experience that we possess of our Europe.

Augusta of Württember

Aleksandra Fëdorovna
wife of Nicholas II- born Hessen

Ekaterina Pavlovna
of Württemberg

No coincidence that the title of this anthology is "unrepeatable moment" a title that echoes a memorable line by Pushkin "I remember the magical moment", and an equally memorable phrase of Goethe: "Beautiful moment, do not pass away! " . These are lines that Podgornaja carries in his heart and she quotes several times in her books. Is the moment of choice, the boundary between the "before" and "after" which takes us into unknown paths and transforms our existence. Without borders or distinctions between social classes, princesses or writers, poets and princes, men or women, me or you.


The past overlaps the present, reality fades into legend. Along the corridors of the castle of Wolfsgarten parade the portraits of the protagonists of Imperial Russia, which are intertwined with the House of Hesse. The Podgornaja has always had a subtle attraction for portraiture. In "Pushkin and Baltic countries," writes: "the essence handed down by history can not be imagined without the portraits with columns, noble orders, close drapes or without the finer feelings." And here, finally, can admire the heroines to whom has devoted years of study: Natalia Alexeyevna, Queen Augusta Louise of Prussia, Elizaveta Alexeevna, Empress Aleksandra Fёdorovna ... In front of the painting of the Grand Duchess Eleonora, she wonders if she was indeed as beautiful as appears in the picture; "The painter was smart!" laconically replied the landgrave Maurice.

Katharine II of Russia

Pauline of Württemberg

The transit of history ends as well, with a faint “taste” of Pirandello where the"truth" is still indecipherable. On the calendar, the time has pinned the dates and events but the most secret passions, hidden in the look of their faces, still remained in the mixture of colors on the palette of the painter, with the fading of the great illusions contained within an image or in a sudden instant of light. But, perhaps, as Schönwiese Ernst writes: "Everything is just a reflection in the mirror ... all just a dream, until destiny will not break the mirror and awaken the dreamer."


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