She first came by train, towards the end of the 1920’s — a beautiful young woman with little interest in her studies but an incredible lust for life. And life responded, in the magic of the summers that from then on she would always spend in Castiglioncello.
It was here that the young Suso Cecchi could enjoy and immerse herself in the teachings of the great masters that nurtured her soul, such as Fedele D’Amico, her future husband, or Roberto Longhi and Luigi Pirandello.
Giuseppe Ungaretti, Pirandello, Bontempelli and Pavolini would often entertain their friends with amusing short plays staged at the Ara del Littorio, a famous venue in the Marradi Pine forest. It was here that Suso made her debut, rattling off a few jokes that brought Pirandello to his knees in laughter, and where she discovered the joy of acting…
The years passed, along with the war, but Castiglioncello remained a vacation destination as well as a source of inspiration for those who would gather and get to know one another among the rocks or rest in the shade of the gardens and devote themselves to literature. Giovanni Spadolini and Indro Montanelli both spent time here, while Ungaretti never missed the chance for a brief stay, always finding magic and inspiration.
In the summer of 1959, in her “incredibly spacious but entirely dilapidated” Villa Bologna home, she worked alongside Visconti, Flaiano and Pratolini on the screenplay for Rocco and His Brothers (Rocco e i suoi fratelli), while Nino Rota would often play the piano looking out over the sea.
She would open the window of her studio, breath in the salt water, cast a glance to the north towards the cliffs and to the south where she would ironically marvel at the unnaturalbackdrop of the Solvay chemical plant, with its smoke stacks and white, calcium carbonate beaches.
Then she would walk to the water and immerse herself not only in the sea, but also in her work, in the screenplays from which masterpieces would emerge: Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di biciclette), Bellissima, The Leopard (il Gattopardo), The Adventures of Pinocchio (Le avventure di Pinocchio), among others.
On the beaches of Punta Righini, amidst the Mediterranean wind and the lapping of the waves, ideas were brought to life that only Castiglioncello could inspire. Visconti, Fellini, Rossellini, Antonioni, Zeffirelli, Monicelli and Comencini all shared with her this love that left an indelible impression here.
The rocks and pines of Castiglioncello remain unchanged. They are the genius loci that ever since captivating Diego Martelli and his Macchiaioli painters in the 1800’s have made this place one of the most beloved seaside homes for prominent figures of Italian culture. The soul of the place lives on today, felt in the moments when time stands still, then dissolves entirely, fully immersing you in your stay and the history that surrounds you.
Every year cinema and cultural events are held in Castiglioncello, nurturing a past seeking a place in the future by spotlighting young talents — directors and screenwriters, artists and intellectuals — that still today inextricably link their souls to this place.