The topics are numerous, ranging from nutrition, hygiene, medicine, love of nature, plants and animals, non-violence, to reform and simplification of clothing and many other aspects of daily life. To name just two very topical issues:
Energy conservation and waste recycling.
These are elementary practices in every naturist family or farm since 1920. While the typical citizens who feel irresponsible, and not only in Naples, do not implement them even today: “others”, “the state” must think of everything. Relying on one’s own strength, self-sufficiency, is instead, as far as possible, a basic principle of naturists.
But the life reform is only a modern phase of the larger and oldest movement of naturism.
MEDICINE, HYGIENE AND NUTRITION, THAT IS THE CORE OF NATURISM.
Natural, healthy nutrition, hygiene and naturopathy are historically the basic themes of naturism.
Naturism was born in a medical-hygienist environment by the Hippocrats as a movement based on the search for health through hygiene and lifestyle, as we would say today. The term was codified in the eighteenth century after centuries of theory: “Le naturisme est la doctrine qui consiste à laisser agir la nature plutot que d’intervenir de manière artificielle” (naturism is the doctrine of letting nature act rather than intervening artificially), wrote the Belgian physician Dr Jean Baptiste Luc Planchon (1734-1781). The title of his book is also significant: “Le Naturisme, ou la nature considérée dans les maladies et leur traitement conforme à la doctrine et à la pratique d’Hippocrate et ses sectateurs” (1778).
With this, following Hippocrates, another equation was linked:
Naturism = healthy and natural diet.
And under the symbols of naturism nutrition (today we say “natural”, but it is an ambiguous term that needs to be explained: It should be understood as “natural for humans”) there is not only the famous muesli, but also eating in a simple way and with unrefined food, eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, prefer raw food (see the fashion for raw food today), wholemeal bread instead of refined white bread, honey or dark molasses instead of white sugar, breakfast with wholemeal soup in the morning, uselegumes regularly, eat little meat (or even exclude it, why not? Almost all naturists of the origins were vegetarians).
All choices are very current today, according to the prescriptions of cardiologists, oncologists, nutritionists and dieticians, but they have been the traditional symbols of naturism for centuries. Naturists came long before modern science.
FORTUNATELY THERE IS STILL A COMPLETE DICTIONARY
Let’s take a look at the entry “naturism” in the beautiful Gabrielli dictionary, one of the few that not only passively records current usage but also reports on the history of words in an encyclopaedic way. And so it is for us, there are two meanings, the first born in the nineteenth century, rightly reiterating the medical-hippocratic concept of Dr Planchon, the second in the twentieth century:
“FKK: doctrine which entrusts to nature the healing action of the sick organism and recognises medical therapy as a purely auxiliary function. Sec.XIX”.
“Naturism: movement aimed at bringing man into more intense and direct contact with nature as a necessary hygienic compensation for the industrial civilisation in which he is forced to live. § XX”.
Beautiful definitions, both true, complementing each other. For centuries, naturism has been “the” naturopathy, Hippocratic medicine, the hygienist and, according to nature, the way to heal oneself with food (cf. Hippocrates’ aphorism: “Let food be your medicine, medicine be your food”), with herbs, light (the first naturist clubs were called Lichtbund, that is, associations of light). Water, earth, air. The naturist Benjamin Franklin, who suffered from insomnia, went outside in the evening dressed only in a large nightgown to take the naturists’ famous “air bath”. In this way, he wrote in a letter, he calmed his nervousness and was able to sleep.
See Dr Lahmann below.
But it was also a vision of the world, a way of understanding life, a philosophy of life or rather a science of healthy living in harmony with oneself and with nature.
In every activity of man this beautiful philosophy, or rather science, in fact better, “art of living” has reached healthy and natural. This is the definition of naturism in art, the 3rd statute of the Naturist League (which I founded in 1975 at the Radical Congress of Bologna, 10 years before the Greens), the first and only association in Italy that followed “all” naturist themes in its right hierarchy:
“Naturism, as an interdisciplinary humanitarian movement and philosophy of life, is based on harmony with the laws of nature; hygiene, food and behavioural rules to ensure a healthy and natural life; priority respect for all forms of plant and animal life; on the most radical protection of the natural environment”.
NUDISM CHANGES LIVES.
The synthesis of the various naturist authors, from the oldest tradition to the latest technologies, allows modern naturism to intervene in numerous fields of activity. In practice, the entire life of man could be changed “according to nature”, as reported in art. ALL NATURISM TOPICS
Healthy and natural nutrition – Natural hygiene
Prevention and natural therapies
Organic farming Protection of the plant world
Protection of the animal world
Protection of the natural and urban environment
Saving, self-sufficiency and anti-consumerism
Clean and renewable energy, nature and sport
Hiking Gymnastics, Free Physical Culture and Naturism
As you can see, naturism is in last place. The same late Giuseppe Ghirardelli, founder of the nudist association ANITA and personality of nudist reformer and idealist (I counted him among my “characters” of life), used to repeat to me – he is one hundred percent nudist, after all, like me [I wrote Guide to the nude, the most complete essay on nudism, in 1980] – that “nudism is basically the last, extreme consequence of the reform of nudist clothing”.
And he kept quoting as a “holy book” Lamberto Paoletti’s 1933 essay “Naturism, Art of Living”, a copy of which he wanted to give me with a dedication.
But in Paoletti’s book a few lines are dedicated to nudism and also unclear. This earned him criticism from the historian of European naturism Ernesto Gorischegg, according to whom the “ambiguous” Paoletti called himself a nudist in Germany but distanced himself in Italy.
Perhaps out of fear of the fascist regime? However, Paoletti, Gorischegg and Ghirardelli, three leading representatives of the movement, have confirmed that one can be a naturist without being a nudist, and vice versa.
Principle that the Court of Cassation, strengthened by cultural research on the subject (obviously these judges have read more than many nudists), was able to accommodate in a famous judgement. In fact, this distinction between naturism and nudism was the norm before 1945, as Gorischegg confirmed with his usual clarity. On the other hand, Franklin’s tank top, swimming costume, shorts and loose tunic for air bathing (without anything underneath) were considered “nudist dresses”, typical of the nudist clothing reform that began with the “reformed dresses” of the 800 in America.
The reformers then had it to death with the tight busts of women and the hats of men who were guilty of harming their health. And in the modern houses of the early twentieth century, they also forced on architects large windows capable of letting in light that was not only a psychological and vitalisticelement, but was also seen as a preventive and therapeutic element. They were all “naturist solutions”, but they had nothing to do with naturism.
And today? Culturally, we are lagging even further behind. Nobody knows what naturism is anymore. In fact, there is a real divide between naturists (in today’s practice, they could be considered the naturists of the earlier ecologists, even if they were personally hygienists) and nudists. The fact is that paradoxically no nudist is a naturist and no naturist is a nudist. Apart from very rare exceptions, mostly among educated people. Historically, culturally and scientifically, however, all classical naturist issues are closely connected. And it is precisely because of the circularity of naturism – even after environmentalists have started living independently – that I, as a utopian, insist on still considering the various naturist themes listed above as united.
THE RETURN OF THE BODY
Today it seems normal to wear a tank top to play sports. But it is a fairly recent “naturist” invention that is also typical of the simplification of clothing proposed by naturism.
Until 1800 in the gym, schoolchildren and athletes trained in imitation of military exercises in full dress, even in a suit and tie. Even in the mountains he climbed or walked in suit and tie. There are photos to prove it.
Before that, gymnastics had long been discouraged by doctors. The Greeks and Romans already knew that it was good. And it is enough to remember that it is called that because it was practised naked (gimnòs) in ancient times. For hygiene, to have fewer obstacles, to be truly equal between competitors.
What about the bathrooms? Not even the kings washed. When they smelled, they changed shirts and sprayed themselves with perfumes and talc. “Washing often hurts,” argued modern doctors until 1800.
The Church, responsible for the closure of the Roman baths, brought back the civilisation of the European body, an important chapter of civilisation tout court. Unlike “Christian roots”. They had forgotten the ancients’ love for simplicity of dress, physicality and baths. We will have to wait for the arrival of naturists (Rikli, Priessnitz, Kneipp, etc.) to explain to modern man that in order to progress he had to return to antiquity in this respect too: water is good, we shower and have baths like the ancients.
FKK IS LIFE, NOT POLITICS.
Politically she was right, if wrong according to science, the radical comrade Rosa Filippini who, around 1976, after listening to me at a conference, blurted out in the Radical Party corridor in Via Torre Argentina, where the headquarters of my nudist league was located: “But do you want to understand that birds and macrobiotics are not politics?” Signs. [He wanted to refer to my naturist “No to Hunting”, as I had proposed the first anti-hunting referendum with my naturist league, right in the radical house, in 1978, and to the natural whole foods, typical of us naturists. Macrobiotics, on the other hand, are not always healthy and natural because they are rich in salty, fried, overcooked, preserved foods and even view raw fruits and vegetables with disfavour, the cornerstone of naturist eating! Editor’s note].
Yes, and there I was outraged, and for years I ironically cited the episode as an example of the misunderstanding of politicians, even radicals, towards nature and human health. But now, looking back, I think he was paradoxically right.
Naturism is science and culture, and it must have nothing to do with the tricks, half-measures, bartering and transactions of political politics, the only human activity in which a complete ignoramus can write laws that apply to everyone, even those who know more than he does. I am convinced that ecology, and even more so the naturism that includes it, must return to a neutral science and a widespread culture based on the broader liberties of the citizen (see my book of ecology), even though I do not deny that both naturism and customs concern the problems of the polis, society and laws, and therefore it is also a “political” philosophy in the highest sense of confrontation between different worldviews.
However, there remains the satisfaction for us naturists to be the only ones who, from a scientific point of view, were right at least 80 years in advance. Thanks to the fact that naturism has always been not only art but also science and therefore has always had the intelligence to update itself. Just like medicine, with which we have the progenitor Hippocrates in common.
FALSE “NUDISTS”, ACTUALLY ONLY NUDISTS.
What is different is the discourse of the many associations that call themselves “naturists” all over the world today, when in fact they are only nudists, and of the worst kind, who only take holidays and are uncultured. In fact, it is precisely a problem of cultural deficit: none of the directors teach their members the true history of naturism, which they themselves ignore. The directors of the associations, if they want to make a career and try to become international representatives, must bind themselves tooth and nail to the open tourism, camping and trade policy of the international federation INF-FNI (in UNESCO, the cultural institution of the UN … ), according to which naturism would be – let alone – in practice the one established in Agde (1974), that is, in practice sunbathing together with others on the beach or camping …: “Naturism is a way of life in harmony with nature, expressed in social nudity … Le naturisme est un mode de vie en harmonie avec la nature, qui s’exprime par une nudité commune…”
It is a shame about such a reductive, subcultural and banal holiday definition, but that is what today’s naturist tourism business offers. To the delight and interest of campsite and bathing establishment owners, current naturism would be, according to INF-FNI tourism bureaucrats, “a way of life in harmony with nature, expressed through shared nudity, united (they add, but these are banalities required of all) to respect oneself, others and the environment.”
The founders of naturism, doctors or not, are turning in their graves. The typical naturist, they say, is the one who confines himself to being naked, perhaps just to take a five-minute dip (nude-bathing), and then perhaps immediately dresses to run to the beach bar to fill up on burnt sausages, a sandwich of refined flour and a beer. All for a week’s holiday a year in run-down organised campsites and crowded beaches full of parasols, windsurfing, motor dinghies, noise, cigarette smoke, pollution.
They are also disturbed by bars and restaurants (where never, I say never, is nudism and alcohol – the enemy of the old naturists – flows in streams).
“Normal” is dance floors, radio and loudspeakers and everyone brings their swimming costumes to the beach, albeit for a shabby constant dressing and undressing (especially the girls).
LOBBIES WIN BECAUSE OF THE IGNORANCE OF THE PEOPLE.
And not even the active ones. Gianfranco Ribolzi, president of UNI, not even the generous Simona Carletti and his old friend Carlo Consiglio and the other Italian organisers could do anything about this general trend where Italian clubs are the last wheel on the wagon. But they have to work hard to stop keeping their members in the most obtuse ignorance about the origins and meaning of the word naturism. Of course, the stupid definition of naturism that gives the INF-FNI is an obstacle that must be removed. Why should one join the INF-FNI?
The Franco-German lobby of nudist tourism and nudist business rules and has now imposed on the whole world its models of consumption that clash with the principles of naturism, an anti-consumerist and electric movement par excellence. This is happening because of a deficit in naturist culture, that is, we don’t know what it is. For this reason, before solving this problem of general ignorance, it is pointless to put pressure on parliament to pass a law authorising a beach or a nudist camp (speaking of “nudism”), i.e. further holiday consumption. It would confirm among the ignorant population the recent stereotype that “naturism” just means full tan and that’s it. In reality, especially in Italy, there is a lack of a general culture of naturism in all its aspects. Our enemy is not respectability, but ignorance. Nobody studies anymore. Everyone copies others, especially the French, who are more ignorant than we are. But these things the various Ghirardelli (see below, one of his letters) and Gorischegg knew very well and shared. So I don’t want to put the cross on the organiser friends, but a conference for members, a nice website for cultural studies, or an article with the right names and terms, and the true history of naturism, of which nudism is only one aspect, beautiful and exciting, but only one aspect, could do it.
Instead of the usual railway holiday articles on the pétanque tournament (boccia). We need pedagogy and didactics. Meanwhile, for scientific clarity and secular honesty, why not recover the beautiful names “nudism” and “nudist”, as is already done in America and Australia (coincidentally, where the dictatorship of the French does not arrive)? I have already written in the “Guide to the Nude” of 1980: While we are naked on the beach, we are not nudists, only nudists.
Not enough? To be naturists you need much more, rest assured, because I am an expert in these things. So what? Are we ashamed of words, do we need lexical “fig leaves” because we cannot use a real source, or do we fear who knows what retaliation from the Franco-German lobby?
However, the scandalous fact remains that a private club, the INF-FNI, which in my opinion does not include scientists and historians, allows itself in its statutes to define what naturism is, a doctrine much larger than that which is ridiculously limited to a small holiday practice, without the slightest historical-cultural deepening, with a false definition that is nevertheless convenient to its tourism policy, an ancient, broad and noble historical and scientific concept.
ALSO FORGETTING FKK (I.E. NUDISM).
All the important issues of naturism (see above, the list) are forgotten, even fought against by the grassroots (see below). And in this, all associations are the same: negative homologation is the result. Since all the so-called “naturist” associations in the world who want to have the international card that allows access to beaches or campsites have to register with the national federations (which in turn are registered with the INF-FNI). They therefore know well what is written in the statutes about “naturism”, which is the Federation’s only holiday and camping policy. Lifestyle, zero. Food, hygiene and health, zero. Environmental protection, zero. Today there are also smoking nudists and alcoholic nudists.
But at least they were nudists!
Today, nudity is an option that is tolerated rather than practised, especially by young people. Even in the “fabulous” Villata (Corsica) of the 80s, which everyone regrets today. It may have been an earthly paradise, but my friend Philippe Cardin, then president of the French naturist federation FFN, complained to me that Adams and Eve were always more dressed, as early as 1981.
I would have liked to answer him: eh, do you see what happens when you say that naturism is nudism, and then let in everyone who wants to bathe to make money, without having first educated, that is, well explained in conferences and festivals, perhaps with a “campaign” of information in the mass media and in schools, what naturism is, In all its forms? In words he agreed with me, so much so that he wrote about my “Guide to the Nude” on “Naturisme Information”, No. 28: “Il n’existe pas en Europe d’ouvrages qui analysent de façon aussi complète le nudisme”.
But in practice, even he could not break away from the prevailing holiday mentality based on the management of beaches, tourist centres and campsites. The fact is that now the international business of fake “naturism” is not only in open opposition to naturism, but also to nudism, i.e. to the glorious tradition of FKK (Free Body Culture) taught by Paul Zimmermann, who opened the first nudist club, the “Freilichtpark”, in Germany (Hamburg) in 1903. and Richard Ungewitter (author of books such as Nacktheit (1906), Nackt (1908), etc.), who argued that the combination of exercise and physical well-being (which is where current fitness comes from), sunlight, fresh air bathing and naturist practice help to greatly improve the physical, psychological and moral balance of the human being.
BUT WHY DON’T THEY CALL THEMSELVES NUDISTS?
Naive question. Invited several times, they always firmly declined. Because? A real excuse that leaves you stunned is that “naturism” (in France) would be vulgar. A sign that they have allowed themselves to become vulgar because they are no longer nudists: They are ashamed.
Another invented excuse is that they “are not mere nudists”.
Blatant lie, because no one can understand an ideal motivation when looking at a naked body lying in the sun. She is just a nudist. But, as mentioned earlier, many tourists are now nude or just regular textileists.
(Just look at the sports teams of basketball, volleyball, sometimes even running and bowling organised by clubs or national associations: all dressed). Only swimming resists naked. The truth, as always, is in the psychology. It is that, according to them, the correct term “nudist” does not please politicians (for favourable laws) and local administrators (for concessions) and the masses of tourists they count on for economic recovery and to ask for funding from the States.
So “naturism” was born instead of “nudism”. But in the long run it is a futile ploy, because the self-proclaimed “nudism”, ambiguous, without ideals and clear and understandable values (where is nature in a vastness of bungalows, parasols and tents?) It is in a very serious and ever-growing crisis and is now made up almost entirely of old people. A sign that lies do not pay.
THE THEFT OF “NATURISM” DOES NOT PAY.
A situation of useless and counterproductive misappropriation, of real theft of the name, reminiscent, at least in Italy, of two current phenomena: the conservatives who are ashamed of their name and call themselves “liberals” and the clerics who call themselves “secularists”.and invent a semantic difference to secular opponents. Eh, how often you cheat with words. But people don’t fall for it anyway.
SIMPLE NUDISTS: THEY DON’T LIKE ANYTHING ABOUT FKK.
The fact is that it’s not just the fault of the bureaucrats, it’s also the fault of the fake “nudist” base. The vast majority, indeed almost all nudists, especially Italians, including many of my personal friends, don’t even want to hear about the main issues of naturism: natural food, natural medicine, ecology, etc. “I’m not interested in healthy food, nature or animals – confesses a dear friend – I’m interested in nudism, the cross-border charge …”
And so many think. And none of the guides correct them. But beware, naked exhibitionism is also “transgressive”, but it is outside both naturism and nudism.
But all the issues involved were sympathetic to the nudists of the old school, not only the aforementioned Ungewitter and Zimmerman, but also the Central European Ernesto Gorischegg, Austrian transplanted to Trieste, who witnessed all the developments of Germanic nudo-naturism since his youth, which is European.
He too was a simple and friendly person, like all true naturists, and very long-lived. I was honoured to be in correspondence with him. In 1980, when I was writing the Guide to the Nude, he sent me his articles written in the far 20s and 30s about brown bread, healthy eating and “raw food”. Just remember, Gorischegg was not a nudist doctor, not a man of culture, but a regular nudist. Yet he propagated in magazines not only the beauty of nudity, but also wholemeal bread, natural food and raw food, from about 1920 onwards! A sign that at that time even simple nudists still shared and preserved much of the original hygiene of naturism. What a difference from the banal and ignorant nudists of today, from whom the entire culture of naturism has been stolen: healthy eating, natural medicine and ecology, its three fundamental strands. In return, they are content with overcrowded holiday villages.
Can you be any stupider?
THIS RIDICULOUS, SHAMEFUL PARADOX.
It is therefore really serious, a scandal indeed, that such a glorious and meaningful word as naturism is now used as a “fig leaf” by those who are not only nudists and have lost historical memory and connection with naturism, but moreover are ashamed of nudism itself, so much so that they censor the term.
A real misappropriation that has irreparably damaged the term nudism. With the dire consequence that today in Italy, with the exception of myself and maybe 2-3 other people (including my friend Carlo Consiglio of Uni-Lazio and Lac, which not coincidentally was founded in the 70s in my nudist league), there is the ridiculous, shameful, paradox according to which no nudist is nudist and no naturist is a nudist. For this reason, I have selected some testimonies for the correct use of the term in the images above. Names in culture hide, indeed they are everything.
Finally, in the queue, the definition of the greatest nude naturist organiser of contemporary Italy, the late Ing. Ghirardelli, founder of Anita, another dear friend of mine:
NATURISM IS DIFFERENT FROM NUDISM.
ALSO FOR GHIRARDELLI.
“I would like to eliminate the possibility of misunderstanding – so wrote my friend “Ghira” in a letter – and clarify that the two terms naturism and nudism are not synonymous, even if there are naturists who say “naturism” instead of “nudism” for a form of polite modesty, even opportunistic (not nudism at all), which I consider counterproductive for the correct placement of naturism as a social movement.
Naturism is a philosophy of life, a way of thinking and living that essentially corresponds to the confrontation with contemporary bourgeois and consumerist civilisation; orientation that characterises the individual naturist on a daily basis in all his attitudes and needs of real life, dressed as a citizen, and not only in summer, by the sea or where he prefers to practise naturism.
Naturism carried out by the most progressive Italian naturist organisations (including Anita) not only with the help of members for their free time, but also in defence of the community with competing actions in favour of an alternative civilisation that is ecological, with other foods, other medicines, other agriculture, support for the protection of the environment, defence of human dignity (civil rights) and humanisation of coexistence. So also alternative camping.
On the other hand, as a favourite practice of naturists when in a natural and favourable environment, one of several is naturism, certainly the most conspicuous, but not the most important. Naturism, which is also to be considered as an alternative attitude to the traditional one, i.e. a better way of outdoor recreation, even camping in promiscuity of sex, age and social condition (…), also a pleasant, relaxing, detoxifying practice physically and psychologically “.
(Giuseppe Ghirardelli, lettera privata, 13 April 1978, in: Info Naturista, July-September 2000)