How does Calvino describe his cities?
Valdrada is built on the shores of a lake with houses built one above the other. The streets in the city have railed parapets and look over the lake. From the flutings and juttings of facades to the perspective of halls and interiors of rooms, every point in Valdrada is also reflected upside down in the lake. Thus Calvino describes Valdrada as not one but two mirror cities.
What is the role that monuments play?
In the case of Valdrada, the monument described is probably the lake. This lake gives Valdrada it’s character and is sets this city apart from the others. The lake makes an immediate impression on a viewers mind since it holds the reflection of the entire city in it. This monument is not only striking to first time viewers but is also engraved in the minds of residents who have always lived in the city since they are aware of it constantly reflecting their every action.
How does the urban interact with the natural?
The built city of Valdrada is mirrored in the lake, which is the natural entity of the city. They interact as everything that happens in the city is reflected in the lake. The mirror gives urban life value. Although they are both visually symmetrical, both these cities are not equal and the mirror increases or decreases the value of events that occur in the city.
How do we distinguish between nature and man made?
In Valdrada, it may seem apparent that the buildings above the lake are man made while the lake is natural. However, since the lake is a reflection of the city and the two entities “live for each other”, after a while, it may become impossible to distinguish between the two.