Noë Heinrich (1835 - 1896)

29/02/2020

The writer Heinrich Noë, also known as Noah, a handwriting with which his name had appeared in many of his works, a passionate supporter of the beauty of the city of Gorizia and its importance as a place to stay, was born in Munich on July 16, 1835. After working as a librarian at the State Library of Munich, he devoted himself to the activity of writer, specializing in the writing of historical-naturalistic guides and books in which he described moments of life and landscapes of the various locations, from the Alps to the Adriatic, which had struck his interest. Gorizia was also one of these. He stayed here for a decade, from 1884 to 1894, publishing in 1891 an accurate German guide of the town and its surroundings (Görz und seine Umgebung) on behalf of the bookseller and publisher Wokulat, to whose publication also the Municipality contributed and which saw a second edition and translation into Italian and French. Arco, Bolzano, Merano, Innsbruck, Villaco, Ampezzo, Abbey (of which he was the "discoverer") were some of the places he described in his guides. Other texts he dedicated to the German and Austrian Alps, Tyrol, Brenner, Dalmatia, coastal resorts, Austrian railway lines, writing, as he was observed, "more as a poet than a naturalist", appreciated for his pleasant style and for the guides in which he informed without being boring or pedantic. In Gorizia he lived at Villa Windspach, on the Castagnavizza hill, and here he also published another volume, Die Jahreszeiten: naturalistic sketches inspired by the seasons of the year and set in the places he had visited. He was a characteristic and original character, who lived the life he liked regardless of formalities and conventions. A corpulent man of tall stature, he dressed scruffy, with a velvet jacket, a large hat, smoked glasses and long hair. In Gorizia he was well known, but during his excursions he happened to be taken for a not very recommendable type. One day, getting on the first class wagon in Nabresina, he was abruptly apostrophized by the conductor, who yanked him pointing out the third class wagons. Noë took a seat without giving it to him and showed a card that gave him the right to travel for free in first class on all the lines of the "Meridionale" to which he had dedicated some works. To the excuses of the conductor, who could not have imagined that that individual looking like a vagabond was a graduate and a writer, he replied by declaring that he would report to the Railways, "since even third class travellers should not be treated with malice". By enhancing the resorts through his guides, Heinrich Noë was a forerunner of modern tourism, and helped to consolidate Gorizia's reputation as "Austrian Nice". He died in Bolzano, where he had recently moved, on August 26, 1896.