Chapter #1

Unrepeatable mornings

There’s such a thing as an unrepeatable morning. I’m talking of course about the Maremma, my Maremma: the frost that glistens on the marsh behind Castiglione della Pescaia, the Red House standing against the light which seems like a totem guarding the town. From the viewing point you see everything. While the sun rises, you notice the hills behind Macchiascandona, the pine forest on the sandy dunes that skirt alongside the sea up to Clodia island, while towards inland stand the twin peaks of Monte Amiata. I am content. I could even go back, which would mean taking a U-turn opposite the cemetery where Sergino lies to rest, and find myself in front of another spectacle of nature: the islands of Giglio, Montecristo, Elba and the outlines of Corsica.  Almost the whole Tuscan archipelago stands before me. The windless sea flat like a table, the Rocchette beach below that appears to be resting on it. Certain mornings I feel as though I’ve seen it all: being here in my element, in my past life. It’s like a psychoanalytic session without a time limit. I am in love with this land. I truly feel at home among the water channels and the sunflower fields. There isn’t a New York that can compare to this kind of sight.

Chapter #2

Maremma sickness

Maremma is a witch and I’ve been drinking her poison for over 40 years, every evening, even though I live far away, I drink and rely on my memory: my pine grove, my greenhouse, the dry lawn, the hut, the Tanga brothers, Nello, Saxophone Stefano, Ghizzoni, I reminisce of Sergio at every turn. This land is full of contradictions, and contains within an unresolved logic that makes it appear even more magnetic. ‘Without the Maremma you cannot live!’, the inhabitants say, dour by definition. If you moved them away from this small plot of land, they would melt like icicles. I see them suffering day after day, hour after hour, bending over under the weight of a deep sense of nostalgia that makes them almost Brazilian by nature. It’s the Maremma sickness, like the African blues, that keeps drawing me back. Because it isn’t true that your roots are where you were brought up, it’s where you plant them, where you just need to look around all over, where you are silently called by the muddy River Bruna which flows to the harbour, which mixes with the sea and tells me: “Giò, when you stop selling your ideas, and you are old and tired, come back forever and let yourself be caressed by the thermal breeze that slowly rises up until your hair becomes frizzy.” It makes them untameable and gives them the taste of this damned land that runs within.